Most employers fail to write job descriptions that attract talent. But when they write them well, their hiring is more successful.
So what's wrong with job descriptions? They're often way too long and boring. The good news is that you can write job descriptions that stand out from the ocean of bad ones.
Remember, your job description is your one chance to "sell" the job to the candidate. It's your sales pitch, the candidates' compass going into the interview, and a stake in the ground on your basic expectations. It's well worth your time to get right.
What do all great job descriptions have in common? They're all:
The best job descriptions are short and punchy, with no big blocks of text or endless lists of jargon. That's because today's candidates read on their phones more than ever before. While long and boring is easy to create, it takes work to make a description brief yet engaging. The job description is more an ad than an HR document, and you should treat it as such.
Here are some tips for how you can shorten your own:
Cut the long paragraph about your company
That's why you have a careers site and LinkedIn Company and Career Pages. Candidates will learn about you elsewhere, so keep your company overview to about two sentences.
Ruthlessly delete buzzwords
Write simple sentences, just like this. Use bullets. If you have legal requirements, set them apart at the end.
Get straight to the point by telling readers what they'll experience and get if they're hired; in other words, "experience this" instead of "learn about that." For example, say, "You will be responsible for creating branded online content" rather than saying, "Your day will consist mainly of making posts here on the company website every few hours throughout the week."
2. Conversational, not too formal
You're not writing a college paper, so remove the dry tone and use more vivid language. The person reading your description is just that – a person looking for a great role. So write as if you were speaking to them; don't be too formal or academic-sounding.
Here's how to make your job description more approachable:
Replace 'the ideal candidate' with 'you'
Be direct and personal so that your top candidate thinks, "Yes! That's me." Read it out loud: if you wouldn't say the words, don't use them. Go a step further by describing the job description to a friend or colleague, and having them then repeat it back to you. As they do, write it down!
Change the sub-headings
Eyes glaze over standard job description headings such as "Skill requirements" and "Job Qualifications." Breathe some life into them so candidates stay on the page. It can be as simple as, "You're good at:" or "You'll love the role if…."
3. Packed with personality
You get a good sense of what it's like to work for the companies above and the kinds of people who fit in. Remember, your goal is for the right talent to apply and the wrong talent to pass. Here's how to add character to your job description:
Describe a day in the life
Paint a vivid picture of the nitty-gritty and you'll help candidates self-select, saving time for all. Get input from the hiring manager, but also from those who've held and worked with that position to make sure they have what it takes!
Talk problems and projects
Great candidates want to make an impact, and they don't shy away from challenges. The more specific you can be about what the day-to-day work is like on your team, the better!