How To Write Great Job Descriptions
Great job descriptions are the first step to building a high quality pipeline of relevant, qualified candidates. Job descriptions help you do three things: pitch your company, pitch the job, and make sure you encourage the right candidates to apply. In this article, we’ll take a look at how you can write great job descriptions that help you excel at all three things.
Start with the job title
What’s the first thing candidates see? The job title. If the job is well defined, coming up with the title is easy. At the very least, the job title should make it clear what the role is about. If possible, it should also mention the experience you’re looking for.
The one thing you shouldn’t include in job titles is buzzwords. Almost nobody is searching for “Rockstar” or “Ninja”, so there’s no reason why you should include those in your job title either. After all, on most job boards, candidates find your job by searching for a title. Indeed has a great list of job titles that can help you come up with the right one.
Describe who you’re looking for
Once you’ve got a title, the next step is to write about the job’s details. Who are you looking for? What will they help you with? Who will they work with? What does an average day look like? What kind of experience are you looking for? Describing the job well will make sure you’re encouraging the right candidates.
Many candidates will, at least for the first time, skim the job description to try and figure out if it’s for them. So, for you, it’s important to be clear and concise. Unless you absolutely need to, don’t write 2000 word job descriptions. At the same time, don't skip crucial details.
Describe the requirements and responsibilities (but be concise)
A list of what this person is supposed to do if they get the job is extremely helpful. It helps candidates understand the job better and thus make a more informed decision whether to apply. If this job requires specific qualifications (or experience), it’s critical to mention that too.
Having said that, a common mistake people make is to throw just about everything in here. You should list things that are absolutely critical to the position (for example: great technical understanding of your stack), things that are important for them to work with your team (for example: ability to collaborate across timezones), and nothing else.
Sell the opportunity
Great candidates will likely have multiple job offers by the time they are done with their search. So, for you, the process of selling the opportunity starts with the job description. Why is your company a great place to work? What kind of impact will this person’s work have? How do you help them grow in their career?
Understanding and sharing these in your job descriptions can also help you attract the right candidates.
In fact, job postings are a great place to show a little bit of your company’s personality too. Including a few images of your team and your office on your careers site can make it more relatable and help you build a good employer’s brand at the same time.
Salary (or not?)
Depending on your company’s policies, you may or may not want to share salary details upfront. I would definitely recommend doing it because it avoids wasted time and efforts for both you and the candidates. Even if you aren’t sure of the exact details, a salary range can definitely help.
Proofread and edit
Just like a candidate’s cover letter is (often) your first impression of them, your job descriptions is their first impressions of you. So, it’s important to proofread your job description before posting to make sure you haven’t left out critical details or made other small mistakes.
You've learned what makes a great job posting. Here's a guide on how you can use outbound hiring to get even more candidates.