With today’s unemployment rate at the lowest level since 1969, recruiters need to pull out all the stops in order to attract and hire the top talent that they need. But this doesn’t have to mean doubling the headcount of your talent acquisition team, or investing half of your budget into a fancy AI chatbot. Sometimes, all you need to do is get back to the basics. Case in point: job descriptions.
Job descriptions are often the first point of entry for candidates, so it’s well worth taking the time to optimize them. The best job descriptions not only give job seekers the information they need to determine whether or not the position is right for them (and vice versa) — they also get them excited to join the company. Because of this, job descriptions can be one of the most valuable recruiting tools at your disposal.
To help you write job descriptions that are sure to impress, we’ve put together a checklist filled with practical tips, surprising tricks and valuable examples. Read on below for a sample, and don’t forget to check out our full How to Write Better Job Posts resource for more!
5 Keys to Writing a Great Job Description
1. Conduct A Thorough Job Analysis
You can’t write a great job description without a thorough understanding of what the job itself entails. So before you start writing the job description, make sure to sync up with the hiring manager and team members who will be working with the new hire, as well as anyone who currently possesses the same title as the one you’re hiring for. Ask them what skills the successful candidate will need, what their day-to-day responsibilities will involve, etc.
You should also conduct external research to make sure that what you’re offering candidates is on par with what others are offering. Research competitors’ job postings and data sources like Glassdoor’s Salaries tool to find out what sort of salary range and benefits package is competitive for the market. Once you arrive on a final range, list it within the description — Glassdoor research has shown that salary/compensation packages are the number one thing job seekers care about when looking at job descriptions!¹
2. Describe Why the Job Matters
Today’s job seekers, by and large, aren’t just looking for a workplace where they can punch in, do grunt work for eight hours and punch out. They’re looking for a place where they can have a meaningful impact, and it’s up to you to paint a picture for them. To do this, detail some of the most interesting parts of the position, and how they will impact the company overall. Perhaps your company has a major focus on improving customer satisfaction in the next year in order to reach your next major financial milestone, and the Customer Success Manager role you’re hiring for will leverage a new playbook to help achieve that. You’ll also want to tie the role back to the company’s mission and culture, so the job seeker can see a clear purpose and value to what they would be doing. Finally, don’t forget to mention any exciting projects the successfully hired candidate will take on. Will they get to use any exciting new technologies, collaborate with higher-ups or contribute towards major strategic initiatives? If so, include it!
3. Scale Back the Requirements
Like we mentioned above, it’s a best practice to check in with the hiring manager and team to see which skills and backgrounds they think candidates should possess, but it’s your job as the recruiter to narrow down the requirements to the essentials. When candidates see a laundry list of unrealistic requirements, they’re often turned off of the opportunity. In fact, an overly-extensive requirements list may even hurt your diversity initiatives — research shows that women are unlikely to apply for a position unless they meet 100 percent of the requirements, while men will apply if they meet just 60 percent. To combat this, categorize the requirements between minimum qualifications and preferred qualifications, and eliminate any leftover fluff entirely. You don’t want to scare any great candidates off after they read your description.
4. Highlight Your Company Culture
Job descriptions aren’t just for describing what you want candidates to bring to the table. They’re also an opportunity for you to showcase what you have to offer candidates. Add an “About Us” section to talk about your company and its unique culture, making sure to include a brief description of who you are, how you operate and what makes you an amazing place to work. Put a special emphasis on your unique value proposition — the thing you offer candidates that they can’t get anywhere else, whether that’s the opportunity to get in on the ground floor of a rapidly-growing startup, top-of-the-line salary and benefits or an emphasis on professional development.
5. Mobile-Optimize Your Job Description
Today, there’s hardly anything we don’t use our phones for, and that includes job searching. In fact, more than half of Glassdoor’s visits each month come from a mobile device. So make it easy for these tech-savvy job seekers — create a job description that’s as easy to read and process on mobile as it is on desktop. Avoid dense, lengthy paragraphs, and opt instead for subheads and bullet points that allow for easy scanning.
Want more tips on creating job descriptions that convert? Download our full guide!
1. 2017 Glassdoor Site Survey
2. Google Analytics, Q3'18 average