It’s a known fact of recruitment: A mediocre job description will attract a mediocre candidate pool. When recruiting AEs, don’t just put up a standard-issue job description. Instead, craft a compelling AE job description that’s unique to your company. You will see an improvement in your candidate pool.
So, how to do that? Follow these best practices:
1. Make it candidate-centric.
The biggest mistake you can make in writing an AE job description is focusing entirely on what you expect AEs to do for you. Instead, you need to reframe it to demonstrate what working at your company offers to AEs. So instead of saying “AEs are responsible for x, y, and z,” say that “AEs will have the opportunity to participate in x, y, and z.” This subtle reframing shows that you value AEs and want to help them flourish.
Go over every line of your job description to make sure that it’s candidate-centric. Does this information sell the candidate on the company, or provide useful information for the application process? If it doesn’t, it doesn’t need to be there.
2. Use common keywords.
Most AE job applicants use search terms to find job listings. Think about it from their perspective: If you were searching for an AE position, what keywords would you use? Good choices include “Account Executive,” “sales management,” “enterprise sales,” “SaaS,” “account management,” and any other keywords relevant to the position.
It’s not necessary to stuff your job description with keywords, but your targeted keywords should be present. Preferably, “Account Executive” should be the title of the job.
3. Highlight your company’s positive culture.
It’s never too early to start selling your company to potential recruits. Including information about your company’s benefits and culture can help attract people who are good cultural fits, while also getting them excited about the prospect of working at your company.
Possible things to include:
- Employee perks and benefits
- An honest and positive description of your company’s culture and your best-fit candidate
- Information about your office location and atmosphere
- Fun things about working at your company, like travel, socialization, and volunteer work opportunities
- Proximity to public transportation and local businesses
- Glassdoor rating and comments
4. Include specific information about salary.
Questions about salary are at the top of most AE job seekers’ mind. Don’t make them guess or look up information elsewhere. Provide information about the range of salaries that are typical for AEs at your company. It can be useful to include both a starting salary range and what more senior AEs can expect.
While it’s not necessary to outline the whole compensation plan in detail, indicate that the position is quota-carrying.
5. Specify credentials that are absolutely necessary.
There’s a tricky balancing act when it comes to listing job requirements. Obviously, you want to attract qualified candidates. But including too many requirements, or requirements that are overly stringent, can discourage promising candidates from applying.
To navigate this conundrum, consider differentiating between required and preferred credentials. Try to be flexible in listing required credentials. Consider: Do new AEs really need to have 2-3 years of prior experience in a comparable position, or might one year suffice? Is it absolutely necessary for your AEs to have degrees in business, or are you willing to be open to people with other educational backgrounds? You can always teach new skills to a talented person who is willing to learn.
Don’t forget to list skills that are more intangible, but nevertheless critical, such as managing customer relationships, working effectively in teams, etc.
6. Discuss your product briefly, and how it impacts customers.
Sales professionals want to know that they’ll be selling an excellent product that customers will continue using. The AE job description should include a brief description of the product and its position within the industry. If relevant, include a little information about verticals and any awards you’ve received.
If you can show prospective job applicants that your company is driven by a mission, that will make your company stand. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a world-changing mission. Saying “we help small businesses succeed by optimizing digital marketing” is fine.
7. Provide an overview of job responsibilities, avoid listing every single one of them.
A good job description gives applicants a flavor of what job responsibilities look like. At the same time, it’s important not to overwhelm them with extraneous information.
To write a good description, boil down the job down to its core responsibilities. This means responsibilities related to managing customer relationships, bringing in new business, participating in strategic planning, etc. It’s not necessary to mention secondary tasks like keeping the CRM updated. Most applicants will assume that stuff is part of the AE job.
8. Mention potential opportunities for advancement at your company.
The best sales professionals are ambitious. To attract them, your job description should state that your company has opportunities for advancement. Ongoing education and mentorship are also big draws for top sales professionals, so it’s helpful to discuss that as well. You want to send the message that your company is invested in AEs’ long-term success.
9. Study the job descriptions for other companies in your area.
Other organizations in your geographical area are competing with you for top talent. It can be helpful to take a look at your competitors’ job descriptions so you can get a sense of what else prospective job applicants are seeing when they search for jobs. You want your job description to stand out in that field.
Remember, not all competing job ads will be good ones. It’s likely that many will be dull or uninformative. Take notes on the strengths and weaknesses of other company’s ads, and then try to do better.
Including all of this in a single job description is challenging. But it’s possible, and the benefits of a great candidate pool are well worth the effort.