You wouldn’t copy and paste a competitor’s press release, would you? So why do your PR job listings look the same as theirs? And the same as a hundred other PR job descriptions? Maybe it’s time to get the PR team more involved in crafting a compelling job description that better fits your brand.
Your job description is more than a checklist of attributes you are looking for in a prospective employee. It’s also your pitch to candidates on why they should work for you and not one of your competitors.
The best job descriptions start by setting the stage for who the company is, what their high-level vision is, and how the PR team—and this specific role—help bring that vision to life.
Facebook’s recent PR Director job listing does a good job of selling the candidate on the company, then describing who will thrive in the role.
This PR and Communications Manager job from Telenav does a good job introducing their company and painting the picture of who their ideal candidate is, and the impact their work will make.
While it is important for a candidate to have a clear understanding of the role and its requirements, some job descriptions go too far. If a page of the listing is all job duties, you can cause one of two problems to arise:
Instead of an endless bulleted list of job requirements and responsibilities, consider giving a picture of a day-in-the-life for a person in this role. This allows the candidate to put themselves into the picture and visualize how they could contribute in the role.
When business owners note the difficulty they have in finding qualified candidates, it’s not always just a lack of good applicants that’s the issue. Is your hiring process like this: solicit resumes → run them through an applicant screening tool → schedule phone interviews → schedule in-person interviews → make a job offer?
Applicant screening tools can be an effective way to winnow down the number of applicants you manually evaluate. But they are only as good as the data used to set up their filters. If you instead build in a screening process into the job listing itself, you can cut down on the number of irrelevant applicants while giving your team more information to use in evaluating the candidate.
For an entry-level PR position, the screening process could include requesting that they submit a cover letter that includes what interests them most about working in a PR role for your company, and what they’d like to learn from the position. For a more senior PR professional, you could ask for the cover letter to include a brief summary of the PR campaign they’re most proud of and the results it drove for the company.
If someone is applying for every job that has PR in the title, including a specific screening question in your job listing can help weed out applicants who aren’t actually interested in your company. This also will weed out applicants who lack the attention to detail necessary in corporate communications. And as a bonus, including a question that illuminates the skills necessary for being successful in the position, gives candidates the ability to show they know their stuff instead of being judged exclusively on their resume-writing ability.
If you’re recycling the same PR job listings you’ve been using for the past five years, it’s making your PR team look dated. And that’s not how you’ll attract the best and brightest PR pros to your team.
Before posting your next job listing, talk to the team members who will work with this person and ask how the role has changed since the last time you recruited for it. It’s likely that the technology you use has changed, as have many of the day-to-day responsibilities and team interdependencies.
If the most recent person in the role is leaving amicably, you can ask for feedback on the job requirements as part of their exit interview. After all, who is more acutely aware of the challenges of the role than the person who has most recently been in it? That said, understand this feedback may sometimes say more about the outgoing employee than the role itself. It’s important to make sure to clarify and validate their feedback before making significant changes to the job listing.
Hiring the right candidate for your PR team can be tough. But if you follow these tips, you’ll create a job requisition that will do the heavy lifting for you, and help match the right candidates to the job.
And given that the state of PR has changed in the last decade, make sure your candidates have the digital skills to accompany their soft skills and culture fit. Download our ebook on digital competency for the modern PR pro.