How to Magnetize Your Independent Talent Role Descriptions

By MBO Partners | October 31, 2023


Key Points

Competitive for top-tier independent professionals with skills you need can be stiff.

Creating role descriptions that will attract high-value independent talent is key to success.

Here are tips for what to do (and what to avoid) to make your descriptions magnetic.

We’ve talked about the importance of creating an optimized workforce to future-proof your enterprise. We’ve also talked about how to conduct a skills assessment to figure out skills (and associated roles) that are most important in your independent talent pool. And we’ve observed that competition for those skills can be stiff. Now, let’s talk about how you can create role descriptions that attract high-value, in-demand independent professionals.

6 Tips for Creating Magnetic Role Descriptions

1. Infuse the role description with your Independent Value Proposition

Your Independent Value Proposition gives a potential contractor a good sense of what working with your enterprise will be like. Write the role description with this value proposition in mind.

2. Describe the role in language that resonates

What will excite a software developer? An SEO expert? A content creator? Explain the role in language specific to the desired candidate’s expertise and make the description enticing from their point of view.

3. Include the challenges or goals that the role focuses on

Offering context to the role will attract a top-tier independent. What challenges will they be solving? What business goals will they contribute to?

4. Define deliverables with a timetable for delivery

If you have specific deliverables, describe them and offer a timetable, even if it is estimated at this point.

5. Talk money and terms

Whether you will pay hourly, by the project, or some other way, make sure you are offering market rates. Let the reader know what rate and payment terms you are proposing.

6. Stress features that are attractive to independent talent

Once the nature of the work and the pay rate have hooked their interest, top independent professionals will look at other aspects of your potential relationship. Do you have systems and policies that support their workstyles and lifestyles? Are there professional development opportunities through training programs? Is there the prospect of additional business for them, for example, through your direct sourcing program?

6 Things That Will Send Top Prospects Running Away

1. Using employee job descriptions “with just a few changes”

Craft role descriptions with independent talent in mind. Independents are independent for a reason, and a role description that sounds too much like a salaried job is likely to be ignored.

2. Business-speak content with no clear meaning

Stay away from buzz phrases, generalities, and extra verbiage. Too many role descriptions use a lot of big words without drawing a clear picture of what the role involves.

3. Using “employer language”

Use peer-to-peer language to show that you understand that the reader is a business owner rather than an employee. Though you may have expectations and requirements for the role, using language like “you will be expected to” or “you will be required to” in your description is likely to be a turn-off.

4. Ambiguous or non-specific requirements

Leave off general attributes of the role. “Must have good communication skills” and “be a team player” are good examples. It’s best to leave soft skills like these out of your description. These are “show, don’t tell” skills to assess during interviews by asking the right questions.

5. Impractical payment terms

Some companies pay their contractors on net 45, net 60, or even longer terms, or they have a “we don’t pay you until our clients pay us” policy. Either of these policies can be deal breakers for high-value independents.

6. Apparently unreasonable boundaries or restrictions

If you have certain requirements—such as being available during a specific timeframe in the workday—leave them off the role description. These are best discussed once a candidate has expressed interest in the role.

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