Writing Job Descriptions that Your Headhunter Can Sell

One of the the first things a candidate will ask for after being approached by a headhunter is for a copy of the job description. They want to see for themselves if they’re a good fit for the role, and if the role is worth their time to pursue.

So, even if the headhunter does a great job of selling the job and your company to the candidate, a well-written job description is still an important component of getting the candidate to take the next step and agree to be submitted. So, if you want great candidates coming through your headhunter, follow these tips to ensure that you’re writing job descriptions that your headhunter can sell:

  1. Use a clear job title. In recent years, companies have gotten creative with job titles, referring to positions as Engineering Wizard or Marketing Ninja, which may show job candidates that your company is fun and doesn’t take job titles seriously, but also doesn’t show the candidate the position’s level of seniority.

    While many candidates would consider a lateral move, most would prefer an improvement in their title and few would accept a position with lower seniority than what they already have. So make it a point to use clear job titles, even if you have to say Marketing Ninja (Senior Director of Marketing) so that your job description backs up what the headhunter is telling the candidate.

  2. Include information about your company culture. You don’t just want any candidate, you want a qualified candidate that will fit in with the rest of your team. Top candidates have a choice in where they work, so share some information about what makes your company different. Do you have a fun company culture where your team has regular outings to the go-cart racetrack or paintball field?

    Does your business solve a real-world problem, like homelessness, and a team that is dedicated to volunteering and fundraising? Think about the types of candidates you want to attract and write the job description with them in mind. The clearer you are about the type of candidate you’re looking for, the better candidates your headhunter can deliver.

  3. Write a clear representation of job responsibilities. Candidates want to know what their day-to-day is going to look like to ensure that they’ll be happy and successful in their new role. For instance, salespeople would want to know if they’re responsible for making 100 cold calls each day, or if they are required to close 25% of inbound inquiries.

    It’s important to lay out these responsibilities upfront, so you don’t lose candidates later in the recruitment process or, worse, after they’ve started working at your company. Your headhunter should be able to paint a picture of the job for the candidate, and this is crucial information to share.

  4. Make a clear distinction between must-have skills and experience, and nice-to-haves. If a candidate has 7/10 skills listed on your job description, they may decide it’s not worth their time to allow the headhunter to submit them. But what if the three skills they didn’t have were not necessary, or could be easily learned?

    On the other hand, what if a headhunter thought a candidate was qualified because they had 11 out of the 12 skills listed, but didn’t realize that he one skill missing was critical to the organization? To avoid this problem, it’s best to differentiate between must-haves and nice-to-haves, so both your headhunter and candidate are clear on the job requirements.

While headhunters could help you create a solid job description, it’s also important to keep in mind that they’re not mind readers. They don’t know what your job entails, or what kind of candidate you hope to attract unless you tell them. So, to get the most out of working with headhunters, make sure you think through the details listed above before you get too far into your recruitment process – and communicate it with your headhunters. They will appreciate it, and you’ll get better candidates for it.

2017-08-03T05:34:20+00:00 December 12th, 2014|

About the Author:

Jen Dewar is a marketing consultant in the HR technology space with a focus on developing educational content for recruiters, corporate HR professionals, and staffing agency owners. She has spent the past 10 years working with a wide variety of companies — from corporate marketing for healthcare organizations and recruitment firms, to startup marketing for both Identified and Bright.com, prior to their respective acquisitions. When she's not doing marketing, you can find Jen snowboarding in Tahoe with her husband, traveling abroad, or enjoying a night in with friends and a good bottle of wine. She's a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara, with a degree in Socio-Economic and Political Global Studies.