How To Write A Great Job Description


Your company has a job opening.

You do some research, quickly write up a description, and post it on job sites.

A few days pass. You are now sitting on a heap of one unqualified application after the other. What went wrong?

Maybe you didn't do a good job of describing the job. The job description is probably the most important part of the entire candidate experience: it persuades the right people and filters out those who may not be a right fit.

So, how do you write a good job description? Here are some tips that may help:

Prepare

It's not easy to write a job description. You need to brainstorm the requirements and get feedback from the right people. It's not enough to get a vague idea of the requirements and list them all out. That will only result in poor quality of applications.

Understand what is absolutely mandatory, what is a nice-to-have, and what the average day doing the job will look like. Talk to the right people in your company. For example, if you are hiring for the position of a Software Developer, get someone on your engineering team to review the description.

Be clear and concise

A job description should list out every job requirement very clearly. Need a certain skill? A degree? Make sure you put it out there; you're going to waste a lot of time processing those who don't qualify otherwise. Is the job entry level? Put that on the list. Do you need a contractor and not a full time employee? Put that on the list, too. Need someone experienced? That, too.

Don't use buzzwords. Buzzwords aren't a substitute for clarity. Instead, you should try to be creative by trying out different formats or asking questions that put light on the candidate's creativity.

Lastly, be concise. Nobody likes a job description that says a lot without saying anything. When possible, try to be specific. For example, if you need someone experienced, it's better to talk about exactly the experience you want instead of saying the applicant must have some experience.

Talk about the average day

Talking about the average day at work or the problems they will get to solve goes a long way in setting the right expectations. People on both sides of the spectrum—those who aren't as qualified and people who are looking for something better—will know that the job isn't right for them.

Another way this helps is that those who apply get an idea of what it will be like to work at your company. That's great for a number of reasons. One, when they interview, they already know what to prepare for, and thus you get more focused interviews. Two, if they are hired, they are already a few steps in on their onboarding journey.

Talk about the company

Job descriptions shouldn't only discourage unqualified applications. They should also persuade those who are a good fit. To do so, you need to talk about what separates your company and its work environment.

Talk about the benefits you offer, the vacation policies, and the work environment. You can talk about the perks that encourage a great life outside of work, if your company offers them.

Set your expectations right

You can write a good job description only if you are clear what the job is about. It's far too easy to list out way too many requirements, and that isn't helpful. In fact, if you have unrealistic expectations, you will be disappointed.

Take into account whether there are people who fulfill the criteria you want fulfilled, and if there aren't, give the description a bit more thought. As a good rule of thumb, don't put things on there that aren't a must for the job.

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