First impressions count—especially when attracting top talent. And for most job seekers, a job description is often the first interaction they will have with a prospective employer. If your job description misses the mark, you may find yourself overwhelmed by resumes from unqualified candidates or lacking in applications altogether.
If your job descriptions aren’t bringing in the talent you need, it’s time to go back to the basics. While you need to have a clear vision for the role, a good description is more than a laundry list of tasks and responsibilities. The good news is that all you need is a basic, customizable formula to get started. Continue reading to learn how to write a job description that will help you stand out and attract top talent.
Ensure the job title is clear
When writing a job description, you’ll want to ensure the title of the position is simple and easy to understand. Remember, people won’t click through to your full job description if they don’t understand the job title. This, in turn, can leave you with less qualified or irrelevant candidates. To keep it simple, stick to titles that are common to the industry or function of the role—and do your best to avoid any internal company jargon.
Share key responsibilities
You want applicants to understand the role’s core responsibilities and tasks. By being as detailed as possible, you can help potential candidates determine if the job is aligned with their professional interests and skills. Share key details about day-to-day tasks, the reporting structure, and any additional logistics (schedule, work environment, frequent travel, etc.) a candidate should know about the role. This will help you attract the right type of candidates, minimizing the possibility of any surprises during the interview process.
Do note that while this section should be detailed and paint a transparent picture of the role, you should also aim to be as concise as possible. If this section is too long, you may overwhelm potential applicants and deter them from applying.
To help candidates visualize what the role will entail, it can be very helpful to include specific goals the candidate should hit once they start. Not only does this help the candidate envision the responsibilities of the position, but it’s also a great way to measure success in the role during review time. A great way to showcase these expectations can be through 30-day, 90- day and one-year expectations listed out within the job description.
Differentiate between “required” and “desired” skills
A long requirement list within a job description can not only intimidate qualified candidates, but it can lead you to turn away applicants with great long-term potential. To make your job description less daunting, break your job requirements up into two categories—“required” skills and “desired” skills. Your required skills should include the skills that are essential to the role, as well as the technical skills that need to be mastered on day one of the job. The “desired” section can include bonus skills that can also be learned on the job.
List the salary range, when possible
Try your best to include the salary range for the job. This may entice certain candidates to apply for your role over other organizations since they know what salary to expect. It could also be a great way to vet out candidates who require a salary outside of your budget.
Highlight benefits + unique perks
When writing a job description, it’s important to paint a picture of what’s in it for the candidate. In other words, what value can the organization offer them? At a minimum this should include a summary of your benefits—but to really stand out, you should aim to highlight anything that is unique about your culture. Candidates will come across hundreds of job descriptions during their job search. So, what can you do to create a sense of excitement at the prospect of joining your company?
Even for the most experienced and well-meaning hiring managers, unconscious bias occasionally sneaks its way into the hiring process. To ensure you are staying clear of bias, stick to these general guidelines when you write a job description:
- Use gender-neutral language
- Avoid exclusionary words
- Don’t be excessively demanding about job requirements
- Avoid ableist language