For Future-of-Work Success, Ditch the Role Description

By MBO Partners | July 2, 2024

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Key Points

It should be no surprise that competition for top-tier independent talent is intense.

One way to increase the likelihood of attracting this talent is to ditch the traditional role description.

Instead, craft an opportunity description that will resonate with high-value independents.

You’ve completed your skills assessment and identified where independent talent can strategically impact the enterprise. You have a handle on the skills and characteristics of the independents who would be a good fit. Now, you need to find that talent—and it needs to be top-tier talent.

It should be no surprise that competition for top-tier talent is intense. These independent professionals have a wide latitude to pick the projects they work on and the companies they work with. This is a reason why being a Client of Choice for high-value talent is critical. But how do you attract that talent to begin with?

Forget Role Description, Think Opportunity Description

One way to increase the likelihood of attracting top-tier talent is to ditch the traditional role description when posting openings for independents. Even if you still need to use a hardwired form with traditional sections for posting contingent labor openings, you can turn it into an opportunity description with content designed to resonate with high-value professionals.

OK, you might be saying, what is that content? The information you provide needs to show—directly or indirectly—how the work will help the professional. For example, how will the role:

  • Help the professional grow their business?
  • Offer the chance to do fulfilling and meaningful work?
  • Make professional development prospects available?
  • Support work-life balance?

Keep questions like these in mind when preparing the opportunity description to help you craft content that will attract top-tier independents.

3 Tips for Writing an Attractive Opportunity Description

Ideally, you don’t need to use a role description template to create your opportunity description. Even if you do need to, you can mold the content in the desired direction. Here are three tips for creating an opportunity description that hooks the interest of the right talent.

1.  Focus on Skills

A traditional role description tends to be a laundry list that includes duties, needed education, and a request for experience history. Focus the opportunity description on the skills needed for the work. Include hard skills (those that are specific to the role) and soft skills (e.g., capabilities and qualities needed to collaborate successfully). Using bullet points is fine but be sure to flesh out each point instead of using a word or two.

2. Consider Context

Role descriptions often list generic skill or capability requirements, which are usually ineffective. “Good communication skills,” for example, is far too general. No one is great at every form of communication, and while a person may be awesome at writing good emails, they may not be effective in giving presentations. Extending this example, think about context. Which specific types of communication are necessary for project success? You might end up with, “You must be able to communicate effectively with team members through our collaboration platform and via live virtual meetings. In addition, you must be proficient in conveying valuable information to team members and project stakeholders via presentations.” Think about the context of each skill and capability needed and write the content that zeroes in on specifics.

3. Keep the End in Mind

When targeting top-tier independent talent, think testimonials rather than role descriptions. What would you say in a recommendation or testimonial when the independent professional has completed the project with excellent results? Would you focus on the usual bullet points in a role description? Or would you emphasize the skills and capabilities you value and the quantitative impact of their work? To attract the top-tier independent talent you want, describe the opportunity in terms of skills, capabilities, and quantitative results.

These three tips serve as a good starting point for crafting effective opportunity descriptions. Implement them, keep track of the independents who respond, and decide how many might be of high value to the project and company. Continue to work on description content to increasingly attract the top-tier talent you want.

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