How to Write a Good, Great, Marvelous Job Description

How to Write a Good, Great, Marvelous Job Description

12 Steps to attracting the right talent and re-inspiring yourself in the process

Work on that job title

Let’s start at the top. Make the title good, but not too good that candidates have no idea what you’re talking about. There’s a difference between ‘client relationships manager’ and ‘peacekeeper,’ and the difference is that the latter will get no clicks from people looking for managerial or client relationship related positions. A bit of creativity is okay and can help you stand out, as long as it’s still easily discoverable.

Speak to the candidate, as the business

Although it might not seem that way, ‘We want you to work with us’ and ‘XY company is looking for a new employee’ couldn’t be more different when it comes to job descriptions. While the first makes candidates feel personally invited to become part of a team, the second feels cold and detached. Creating a familiar atmosphere is great for helping talent identify with your business and envision themselves as part of it.

Keep it simple

You’re not looking for a ninja or a wizard to help you solve the mysteries of the world, you’re looking for an assistant. And while we’re at it, you also don’t need your description fill out a double-sided A4. You’re not submitting this to any higher education institute. Write short, attention-grabbing sentences and make sure you speak in the language of the candidate. Tech terms are ok for IT jobs, creative words are ok for copywriting jobs, etc.

Clarity is Key

Make sure your job description is clear when it comes to key tasks. Avoid being too generic but also too specific, listing out key responsibilities but allowing for imagination in other, more flexible areas. Are you and the hiring manager in agreement about what the position will require from the candidate? It’s best to reach certainty about the role during the description writing process, as this will help you avoid potential confusion later on. Combined with a concise approach, clarity will make your job description as effective as possible.

Tell them about you

Don’t just keep asking for more from the candidates, but tell them about your business as well. What makes you unique? Why might they want to work for you? Where are you (and your employees) headed? Talk about your values, your vision, your purpose. Get inspired in order to inspire.

Don’t be boring

Don’t just list daily duties, but tell the candidate about the role they will play in the company. Help them visualize themselves there. And keep the list of qualifications and responsibilities short, either with a few key ones or a larger amount grouped under clear headers. This is where the simplifying and the clarifying mentioned in the previous tips comes in handy.

Ask for advice

You know who knows this position better than anyone? Those already working within the company, or better yet, within the company at a similar role. So don’t be afraid to ask for help when writing a job description. It’s in everyone’s best interest to hire the best fit for the position. The better a job the new employee does, the more all employees can rely on each other.

Don’t lie

Be honest when it comes to describing the business and the position. What are you working towards, what is your everyday driving force? When it comes to company culture, how do you like to do things? What do you sell and who do you sell it to? Why are you looking to hire more people? What are some recent wins you are especially proud of? And similarly, be honest about what’s expected of the candidate. If you won’t be giving them any benefits above what’s required, don’t say you will have ‘a great benefit package.’ Similarly, if you let your employees work flexible hours, make sure to mention perks such as these.

Bring out that calculator

If you can’t include a specific salary, make sure to include a salary range. A job description with a ‘competitive salary’ isn’t exactly difficult to find, so get precise. Candidates are more likely to apply for the position if they know what compensation they are likely to be offered, and how much wiggle room they have in negotiations. This actually benefits both parties, since you’ll know up front what salary range the candidate will be negotiating within.

Talk about benefits

‘Benefit package’ is the other side of the coin when it comes to ‘competitive salary.’ Almost everyone is offering it. So get precise on what benefits you’re offering. Are you a pet friendly office? Do you have unlimited soft drinks on tap? This all counts when it comes to compensation, and candidates are more likely to apply for a job where they feel their hard work will truly be valued.

Don’t discriminate

This goes without saying, and is just overall great advice to live by, but just don’t discriminate. Make sure you’re not unknowingly limiting your candidate pool by using any discriminatory language in your job description. Also make sure to check out legal requirements about this.

Read and Reread

Editing is your friend when it comes to job descriptions. Don’t irk people with spelling or grammar mistakes, and make sure your description is as clear and concise as it can be while getting all of your key points across. Does the description make you feel inspired to reapply to your own company? Then you’re good to go.