The Death of the Common Job Description|The Death of the Common Job Description

The Death of the Common Job Description

According to a new study from Microsoft Corp., we, as humans, now only have an attention span that lasts eight seconds. The way people consume content has changed dramatically and it’s not stopping with job descriptions.

Now, more than ever, is time for recruiters to think like marketers. The hot talent you’ve been hunting for isn’t going to read a boring, long job description and actually decide to apply. If people are actually clicking on your jobs, that’s awesome. Now, you need to reel them in with great content. As quickly as possible, tell the reader a story about why your company is the best place to work. This is the time where you sell them.

Here are a few ways to tweak your job descriptions, put your creative thinking cap on and update your job descriptions:

Think like a search engine

Think about the last time you searched for a job. You probably typed your job title into a job board or search engine. You also probably typed in the most generic name for the job you could think of to warrant the best results (ex: Human Resources Manager). You probably didn’t search for HR Ninja or Human Resources Warrior.

If you want your job to come up at the top of searches on a job board or search engine, be sure to make your job descriptions and job titles optimized for these channels.  A ninja might sound cool and hip, but it can get messy and not warrant the best results when you’re trying to get specific talent. You can also check out these 5 Tips on Writing Great Job Descriptions if you’re getting stuck.

Communicate culture and values

Showcase what it’s actually like to work at your company in your job descriptions. Leave room here to talk about what your company is looking for and what the job really entails. If you have a great work-life balance, let everyone know it! Add videos and other interactive content to the job description so you can tell an overall story and make your job description shorter.

Attract the right people

It may sound silly, but before you post your job listing, write out qualities you want your ideal candidate to have, and be realistic about it. This isn’t the time for a laundry-list of 15 “must-haves”, but rather is the time to come up with three or four things a great candidate would possess.

This will allow you to figure out exactly who you want to attract, what type of person they are and where they may be searching for jobs. Be sure to highlight the role’s impact, as well, to make the reader understand what he or she will be doing every day and how it will contribute to your larger organization.


Job descriptions aren’t one-size-fits-all. What works for a 30 person tech startup in the Bay Area might not work for a hospital in the Midwest. Experiment with what works with your audience and get rid of what doesn’t. “Best practices” don’t all work for everyone, so test what works for you. A/B test your job descriptions to see which one performs best. Try adding video job descriptions, photos and branded jobs to see what works for you.

Tailor job descriptions for mobile

According to a Glassdoor site survey from October, 2014, 45% of job seekers are searching for jobs on mobile, so make sure you’re optimizing your descriptions to look good on mobile. No one likes it when they have to move all over the page to find a small submit button. Applying to a job on a phone is hard enough, make it easy as possible for your candidates.

Looking for examples of common job descriptions?

Check out these links for some common and popular job descriptions.

post a job on glassdoor