Job descriptions are basically your first point of contact with a candidate. They are essential whether you’re using external or internal recruitment strategies as they can help shape the candidate’s opinion about the company and they can be a determining factor to help you find and recruit talent.
To do that, however, you’ll need to write a job description that goes beyond simply listing qualifications or work duties of the successful candidate. You need to write a job description that will make candidates eager to learn more about your company culture, as well as enthusiastic about the prospect of working for the company.
To help you out, we’ve put together a list of the best practices which you should follow when writing a job description, while we’ve also included job description samples.
1. Ensure That It’s Written in a Professional Manner
In order to appeal to professionals who are above average, the job listing should be written in a professional manner and explain in detail the role, the duties and responsibilities it entails, and the requirements of the position in question. The application process should also be made clear as potential applicants who find that the procedure is complex or not clearly defined will be deterred from applying.
2. Think of It as an Advertisement
The idea behind an effective job listing is to ensure that it attracts the right kind of crowd – essentially, it’s like any other advertisement that needs to communicate to its target audience in order to achieve its goals. As such, you need to write it in the same way you would as if you were trying to sell the position.
3. Focus on the Profile of the Ideal Candidate
Think of what would attract your ideal candidate to join the organisation, and highlight those areas. Also, ensure that it’s written in a tone which would be appealing to that individual. Perhaps, for example, for a more creative position, you could consider making the tone more casual and friendly, while for a financial vacancy, you could keep it more formal but stress the professional growth opportunities.
4. Ask Targeted Questions
Asking targeted questions is a marketing principal that never fails; try to start the listing with such questions and statements. Think of it as the one line that could help bring the right individual in the company, so go back to your ideal candidate’s profile and think of what might attract them. Perhaps it could be something as simple as ‘Would you like to work for a company that’s committed to changing the world?’ or something more flamboyant. These types of statements are more direct and, as such, make people feel more involved.
5. Make It Appealing
Keep in mind that the more appealing the description is, the better chances it has attracting passive candidates who wouldn’t bother applying for a boring positon but who would instead get excited about the opportunity if it’s attractive.
6. Include all of the Essential Elements
A winning job description shouldn’t leave the candidate with questions. Ensuring that all the vital information is included can help candidates feel more at ease about applying and it also helps the job description seem more professional. Applying for jobs that do not provide enough details always seems like a waste of time and a risk for candidates.
Therefore, make sure that you’ve included:
- The job title
- The position within the company
- Who the successful candidate will report to
- Short and long-term goals
- Required qualifications
- Soft skills expected
- Location (including travelling requirements, if any)
- Corporate culture
7. Ask for the Team’s Contribution
To write an effective job description, you shouldn’t rely on your knowledge or understanding of the role; rather, you should ask for the help of the manager to whom the successful candidate will report to, as well as for the contribution of the other team members. This is important because they have inside information which can help you write a job description that could attract the best candidates. Keep in mind that people are becoming increasingly interested in having jobs that are meaningful and this often means that you need to give them an incentive or opportunities to learn and grow. Ask the successful candidate’s team to share what they consider to be the most rewarding thing they do at work and include that in the job description.
8. Follow a Linear Layout
After you’ve filled out the information needed for each individual area, tie them together. Usually, job descriptions follow a linear layout which serves the purpose of allowing the candidate to understand what the position is about, what he or she will be expected to do, the requirements desired and why they should apply.
- A short summary of the position and general responsibilities
- Responsibilities of the position
- Requirements (skills, abilities, qualifications, education, etc)
- A description of the physical demands (travel needs, etc)
- A description of the work environment
Mistakes to Avoid
In order to produce the perfect job listing, you need to avoid falling into these common pitfalls:
- Not Including the Industry Standard Title: Different companies have different titles for similar positions but it’s vital that the description uses the industry standard terminology, as it otherwise might go unnoticed.
- Not Sharing the Company Vision: In order to make the position attractive to top talent, you need to refer to how the role ties with the organisation’s vision for growth.
- Not Asking for Current Employees’ Feedback: Before publishing the job description anywhere, ask current employees for feedback. They’ll help make it more effective while they’ll also be more willing to share it on their social media pages.
- Not Including a Deadline: Even if it’s not urgent to fill the position, adding a deadline will encourage jobseekers to proceed with their application sooner rather than later.
- Not Mentioning Company Culture: Most employees these days are looking for more than just an office job. They are interested in companies with a positive company culture as this generally means less toxicity and a more supportive environment. Mentioning the company culture in the job description can help attract even the pickiest of candidates.
- Not Using a Clear Structure: Make sure that the listing is easy to read and that it flows naturally. Also, ensure that the process is spelled out clearly. Grammar and spelling mistakes should also be avoided at any cost.
- Not Adding Keywords: Job descriptions are just like any other type of content online and, as such, need to be optimised in order to ensure that they’ll be found. Use SEO tools to add keywords.
Below you’ll find examples and samples for job descriptions which you can use. Keep in mind that a job description should always be tailored to your company and to the role that you’re hiring for. The samples listed below will help you get a rough idea of what you need to include to make your job description as effective as possible.
Example 1 – Front End Developer
Example 2 - Accounting Clerk
Template 1 - Graphic Designer
Template 2 - Customer Service
Writing an effective job description is one of the most crucial aspects of a successful recruitment process. As such, it needs to be detailed and professional to ensure that it will be able to lure in professionals.
Do you have any tips for hiring managers writing job descriptions? Let me know in the comments section below.