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How to Craft the Perfect Job Descriptions to Attract Overqualified Candidates

How To Craft The Perfect Job Descriptions To Attract Overqualified Candidates

The talent shortage impacts far more than the number of qualified candidates entering your candidate pipeline. In reality, it’s also a major factor most hiring pros consider when deciding who they want in the hiring process. For example, 91.3% of hiring pros in our The Risks and Rewards of Hiring Overqualified Talent report say a talent shortage is likely to influence their decision to hire overqualified candidates.

The catch is, that the exponential number of overqualified candidates in the market makes entry-level roles significantly more challenging to fill. In fact, according to our recent research, 70.7% agree with the statement, “the number of overqualified talent in today’s job market complicates filling entry-level roles.” 

In reality, the complications associated with attracting and hiring overqualified candidates start with your job descriptions. You must assess your job listings for details that motivate talent to apply to roles when they know they’re capable of more. Your job posts should show the potential for earning more money, taking on more responsibility, and reaching a higher status within a company. 

Here’s how you can craft job posts overqualified candidates will compete to apply to:

Don’t limit candidates

Job descriptions often limit the candidate by being over-informative. They offer every single detail of a role, including what a candidate’s day-to-day would look like. 

Heavily detailed or exact lists of typical tasks confine candidates to a box. Based on those details alone, overqualified candidates determine whether they’ll be bored or unsatisfied performing the role responsibilities. As a result, they are more likely to move on to an opportunity that clearly offers more room for growth and fulfillment. 

Share the top role requirements so candidates can assess if they have the right skills. Then entice overqualified candidates to apply by showing there’s potential to go far beyond typical role responsibilities. 

For example, define what success in the role looks like by showing how the goals of the open position contribute to the overarching mission and vision of the company. Overqualified candidates will be able to visualize using their abilities to accomplish those goals, rather than focus on their over-qualification for specific tasks. 

Keep it concise

Candidates frequently review job descriptions on the go from mobile devices. This means you generally have a small amount of time and space to engage them. In fact, a LinkedIn report revealed candidates apply to job posts with fewer than 150 words 17.8% more frequently than job posts with 450 to 600 words.

Hone in on only the most critical details of a job description:

  • Top required qualifications
  • Compensation (preferably a range)
  • Quick rundown of job details
  • Brief description of a successful candidate 

Expand on other important details, such as the full role description, a look into the company culture, and employee testimonials on your career page. Add an easy-to-find link to the job post on your site when sharing descriptions on job boards and social media to make it easy for overqualified candidates to research the opportunity, filtering them deeper into your talent funnel.

Prove it’s worth their time

The majority of hiring pros (81.1%) agree overqualified employees are beneficial to their companies. And in today’s tight labor market, where talent holds the upper hand, gaining the attention of the most qualified talent is crucial. However, seeing the benefit of filling an empty role must be mutual. For this reason, job descriptions should prove to highly talented candidates that starting in a lower-level position is worth their time. 

According to job candidates in LinkedIn’s report, compensation (61%) is one of the most important parts of the job description. This is a detail that must be presented in a transparent way that attracts overqualified candidates.

For example, share a realistic range noting pay is determined based on qualifications, rather than an industry standard for the starting salary. Overqualified candidates will see the potential to fairly negotiate their compensation. 

Also, go beyond sharing job details for this role. Show there’s room for growth by detailing advancement and training opportunities in the expanded job description. Candidates will feel more intrigued to apply and see where the company can take their career. 

Spend less time talking up the company

Details about the company and team a candidate would work with are important for talent to assess for cultural fit. However, this information shouldn’t take up space in the basic job description. The main focus should remain on candidates. 

This strategy is especially important when attracting overqualified talent. Hiring pros in our report say they’re improving their strategies to hire overqualified candidates by emphasizing candidate potential, focusing on candidates’ career goals, and hiring for soft skills and training on hard skills. 

Don’t put too much focus on the qualifications candidates need right now or the experience they should already have. Instead, highlight the values and goals of an ideal employee to show candidates you’re looking toward their future.

The Risks and Rewards of Hiring Overqualified Talent

Josh Tolan

Josh Tolan is the Founder and CEO of Spark Hire, a video interviewing platform used by 6,000+ customers in over 100 countries.