Attracting young talent is more important than ever before. Millennials and Generation Z will be 75 per cent of the workforce by 2025. As demographics change, so do talent needs.
Home to North America’s largest co-op/intern program, we analyzed over 37,000 job descriptions posted in the last three years on our recruitment platform, WaterlooWorks. Based on our findings, here’s what you need to know when writing a job description that appeals to young talent.
Job descriptions need to have job title, location, summary, responsibilities, skill requirements, compensation and benefits.
We recommend you include the following six things in your job description:
1) Job title
What’s the first impression your job title leaves with a candidate? While creative titles can be attractive, they mislead and consume time to find. Job titles such as ‘numbers ninja’ versus ‘accountant’ get lost in keyword searches.
- A more accurate job title can help you receive more applicants
- Clarity around the job will mean that you’ll get the right applicants with an active interest in that field
The pandemic saw many organizations shift their operations to remote work. Talent pools are open and likely to stay that way. Employers are no longer limited by location: different time zones, countries, or rural or low-income areas.
Be clear in your description about whether the position is remote, hybrid or on-site. Highlight any relocation, remote work or transportation benefits your company provides.
3) Job summary
Highlight who you are as a company/organization and your impact in the community in your job summary. Purpose and values in the workplace are more than buzz words. Showcase why the role is important and how applicants will make a difference.
Start with ‘you’ versus ‘I’. Applicants want to know how the role benefits them. Focus your summary on what applicants bring to the table versus what you want.
4) Job responsibilities
Young talent wants to know what they will do in the role. Be transparent in your description. List what the applicant is accountable for and who they will work with. This gives a clear understanding of what to expect and helps them to better prepare for an interview.
5) Skill requirements
Future-ready skills are a hot topic. Employers are looking for future-ready skills that are a mix of technical and human-centred capabilities. Be sure to include any hard skills, soft skills and education requirements for this job.
List all the core skills the ideal applicant needs to succeed in the role. Highlight skills that would be “nice to have” so applicants know what gives them an edge with your company.
6) Compensation and benefits (optional, but recommended)
Although optional, this is one of the first things applicants look for. Including salary ranges is normalizing and it helps companies attract talent.
Do you offer free lunches? Mentoring programs or career development opportunities? Ping pong competitions on Fridays? Include any benefits that your organization offers!
- Include themes popular with young talent. Increase the number of applications you receive on your job posting. A study conducted by the Work-Learn Institute found that job descriptions that included these themes received a higher number of applications:
- Company culture
- Programming languages
- Food and games
- Employer values
- Career development
- These areas increase interest: learning opportunities, making an impact and linking academics to work. A recent study with Gen Z participants, published by our Work-Learn Institute, highlights these three interests that lead to more engagement in preparing for an application.
- Inclusion matters. Highlight your diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) strategy as applicants want inclusive workplaces. Ensure your postings’ skills and required experience includes all backgrounds. Are accommodations offered? Did you include your diversity statement? All things to consider.
- Show you care. Above all, Gen Z and millennials want an employer that cares about their well-being. This can be shown by highlighting career mobility opportunities, upskilling and reskilling, work-life balance, health and wellness programs and financial incentives. Want to learn more? Check out our Future Workforce Survey and Management Guide!
We have more for you: four best practices before and after posting a job. These are important in a digital world!
- Manage your online reputation. Platforms such as Glassdoor, Indeed, LinkedIn and Facebook have changed the job seeking experience. Employees now provide candid testimonials about their experience. Track and respond to reviews both positive and negative.
- Be available. There are about 60 –70 job scams for every legitimate job posting. This makes candidates warier than ever before. Having a business email address on your postings will add legitimacy to your posting.
- Remove job postings once filled! Don’t’ leave a bad impression with applicants by having them apply for a job that is no longer available. Remove postings as soon as you have top tiers candidates to choose from.
- Track your job posting frequency. A job posted several times may signal that the company or department has a high turnover rate. This often indicates a poor work environment.
Check out the video below on our research on high impact job descriptions. See what job descriptions get the most applications.
To get a direct line to future ready talent, consider hiring Waterloo students!
Connect with our Co-op Specialist, Tammy!