Writing a job description is not just a routine task that you have to do whenever you have a vacancy to fill. It is a strategic opportunity to showcase your employer brand, attract qualified candidates, and streamline your hiring process. A well-written job description can make a difference between hiring a star performer and settling for a mediocre one.
But how do you write a job description that stands out from the crowd and appeals to the best talent in the market?
In this blog, we will share some best practices for crafting effective job descriptions that will help you attract top talent to your organization.
What Is a Job Description and Why Is It Important?
A job description is a written document that summarizes the main duties, responsibilities, and requirements of a specific position. It should also include information about the company culture, values, and benefits, as well as the expectations and goals for the role. It serves multiple purposes, such as:
Marketing Your Employer Brand
A job description is a reflection of your organization’s identity, vision, and values. It gives potential candidates a glimpse of what it is like to work for you and why they should join your team. The description should show your unique selling points, such as your culture, perks, or impact, can help you differentiate yourself from your competitors and attract candidates who share your mission and vision.
Attracting the Right Candidates
A job description is a tool to communicate your expectations and requirements for the role. It helps you filter out candidates who are not qualified, not interested, or not a good fit for your organization. One that is clear, concise, and accurate can help you attract candidates who have the skills, experience, and personality that you are looking for.
Streamlining Your Hiring Process
A job description is a guide for your hiring team to evaluate and compare candidates. It helps you define the criteria and metrics that you will use to assess candidates’ suitability and performance. When you have one that is consistent, objective, and measurable can help you reduce bias, improve efficiency, and increase quality in your hiring process.
How To Write a Job Description: Best Practices and Examples
Writing a job description is not a one-size-fits-all process. You will need to tailor your job description to your specific role, industry, and organization.
However, there are some general best practices that you can follow to ensure that your job description is effective and engaging.
Here are some of them:
1. Use the Right Tools
Writing a job description can be challenging and time-consuming, especially if you have to do it from scratch. Fortunately, there are tools that can help you simplify and automate this process.
For example, you can use a job description template to create a consistent and branded format for your job descriptions. You can also use a job description tool, such as Ongig, to eliminate bias, optimize wording, and enhance visuals in your job descriptions.
2. Use clear and catchy job titles
The job title is the first thing that candidates see when they come across your job description. It should be descriptive, specific, and relevant to the role and the industry. Avoid using vague, generic, or misleading job titles that can confuse or deter candidates.
For example, instead of using “Customer Service Representative”, you can use “Customer Success Specialist” or “Customer Support Manager” to highlight the level and scope of the role.
3. Be Honest and Realistic About the Company and the Role
Candidates want to know what they are getting into when they apply for a job. They want to know the truth about your company, such as your history, vision, values, and achievements. They also want to know the reality of the role, such as the challenges, opportunities, and expectations.
Don’t oversell or undersell your company or the role. Be honest and realistic about what you can offer and what you expect from candidates. This will help you build trust and credibility with candidates and avoid disappointment and turnover later on.
4. Make the Role Responsibilities Obvious and Concise
Candidates want to know what they will be doing on a daily basis when they join your organization. They want to know the main tasks, duties, and responsibilities that they will have to perform and how they will contribute to the organization’s goals. Make the role responsibilities obvious and concise in your job description.
Use bullet points, action verbs, and quantifiable results to describe the role responsibilities. Avoid using long paragraphs, passive voice, or vague terms that can make the role responsibilities unclear or ambiguous.
5. Rethink the Standard Requirement Lists
Candidates want to know what they need to have to qualify for the role. They want to know the minimum and preferred qualifications that you are looking for, such as education, experience, skills, and certifications.
However, instead of using the standard requirement lists that can be boring, restrictive, or unrealistic, you can rethink how you present the qualifications in your job description.
You can also use a growth mindset approach, where you emphasize the potential and willingness of candidates to learn and grow, rather than the current level of proficiency or expertise.
6. Highlight Meaningful Benefits
Candidates want to know what they will get in return for working for you. They want to know the benefits and rewards that you offer, such as salary, bonuses, health insurance, retirement plan, vacation, and so on.
However, instead of listing the standard benefits that most companies offer, you can highlight the meaningful benefits that make you stand out from the crowd.
For example, you can showcase the benefits that align with your culture and values, such as flexible work arrangements, learning and development opportunities, social impact initiatives, and so on. You can also showcase the benefits that are unique and exclusive to your organization, such as stock options, wellness programs, employee recognition programs, and so on.
7. Explain Your Winning Company Culture
Candidates want to know what it is like to work for you. They want to know the culture and environment that you nurture and the people that they will work with. Explain your winning company culture in your job description.
Use stories, testimonials, and examples to illustrate your culture and values. Show, don’t tell, how your culture supports, empowers, and inspires your employees. Invite candidates to join your culture and become part of your team.
8. Highlight “Stand Out” Perks
Candidates want to know what makes you different and special. They want to know the perks and advantages that you offer that no one else does. Highlight the “stand out” perks in your job description.
These are the perks that are not common or expected, but are highly desirable and attractive to candidates. For example, you can highlight perks such as unlimited vacation, free lunches, pet-friendly office, travel stipends, and so on.
9. Set a Clear Remote Work Scheme
Candidates want to know how and where they will work for you. They want to know the remote work scheme that you offer, such as fully remote, hybrid, or in-office. Set a clear remote work scheme in your job description.
Specify the location, time zone, and schedule of the role. Explain the tools, processes, and policies that you use to support remote work. Highlight the benefits and challenges of remote work and how you address them.
10. Avoid Gendered and Biased Language
Candidates want to know that you are an inclusive and diverse employer. They want to know that you respect and value people from different backgrounds, identities, and perspectives. Avoid gendered and biased language in your job description.
Use neutral and inclusive terms that do not favor or exclude any group of candidates.
For example, avoid using words such as “rockstar”, “ninja”, or “guru” that can imply a masculine or elitist culture. Use words such as “collaborator”, “expert”, or “professional” instead. You can also use a tool, such as Ongig, to check and eliminate gendered and biased language in your job descriptions.
Writing a job description is not a trivial task. It is a strategic process that can help you attract and hire the best talent for your organization.
By following the best practices and examples that we shared in this blog, you can craft effective job descriptions that will showcase your employer brand, communicate your expectations, and appeal to your ideal candidates.
If you're looking for a partner with your hiring efforts, MSH is here to help.