How to Write a Good Job Description to Attract Talent
If you know how to write a good job description, attracting talented people is a lot easier.
Post the job. Tap all your resources to get it out there. And you’ll have a solid pool of qualified applicants to consider, interview, and potentially hire.
But before you can do any of that or make an offer, you need to know how to write a good job description to generate interest.
Get this right, and every time you post a job, you’ll get a lot of qualified candidates applying. Pick the top candidates and move them on to the next phase of the hiring process. Sounds good to you, right?
Here are 10 tips to help you write a good job description
1. Don’t ‘juice’ your job title
You know what we’re talking about—”rock stars”, “ninjas”, and “gurus.”
If you’re using these terms as part of the main title for a job description, chances are pretty good some of the top talent out there aren’t going to see it.
Why? It’s not how most people search for a job. Everybody loves engaging, punchy copy, but the title of your job description really isn’t the place.
Most people searching for work are going to use traditional search terms to find relevant positions.
Keep it simple. If you’re hiring a software developer, marketing director, or sales rep, use that in your job description title.
2. Open with an invitation
When you’re trying to figure out how to write a good job description, consider the first sentence one of the most important.
It’s your hook. It’s a message designed to get potential applicants to think, “That sounds like a nice place to work.” Try this—Open with an invitation: Come join us at [company] OR Join a creative team of people at [company]...followed by a brief description of the primary role/duties.
3. Avoid overstating the opportunity
You’ve seen this before. If everything is amazing, best of the best, world-class, better than anywhere else, it probably isn’t.
For a lot of job seekers, that kind of language raises red flags. You come off as trying too hard to attract candidates and end up getting fewer applicants.
And that’s not what you want. There’s nothing to point out some wins or successes you’ve had as an organization. But too much emphasis on this drives more candidates away than drawing them in.
4. Describe duties, growth & development
Every job seeker wants to know what it will be like to fill the position and work for your organization.
Give it to them in the job description. But steer clear of trying to provide an exhaustive list of duties and responsibilities.
Offer some highlights of a day-in-the-life of this position. And offer some insight for growth and development with your company.
5. Ask employees to weigh in on the job description
Here’s another smart strategy for how to write a good job description. Don’t write it in a vacuum.
If you don’t really know what the duties and responsibilities are for a position, you’re going to have a tough time writing a good job description.
So ask your employees, the department manager, the employees who will work with this person.
You’ll gain valuable insight about what makes this role important, must-have skills, and other non-negotiables to help you attract the right candidates.
6. Use urgency to speed up the process
It’s a classic sales strategy. When something is only available for a limited time, more people want it.
In your job description, set a deadline for the application period. You may even want to include a proposed start date.
When people know there’s a limited time to apply, and you plan to fill the position quickly, you’re creating a sense of urgency that helps attract more candidates.
7. Share some details about your company culture
What’s it like to work there? It’s one of the first questions a candidate will think about when they see your job description.
Share a few details about your company culture in the job description.
- What is the company culture like?
- What values does your organization care about most?
- What benefits do employees enjoy the most?
- Is your company involved in the community?
Include a few details about your company culture in the job description. Just pick out a few things that make your organization different.
8. Beware of bias...recognize diversity, equality, and inclusion
If you want to attract untapped talent, pay attention to how you describe the position.
Masculine or feminine terms can alienate potential candidates who may be perfect for the job.
Use gender-neutral terms to describe the position. And let candidates know your company thrives on a diverse workforce of people from different backgrounds.
You want to make a good first impression. That starts with writing an error-free job description.
Before you post your job description for the world to see, proofread the content. Look for spelling, grammar, and punctuation issues.
Ask someone else to read it, and look for problems. Or at least walk away from your computer for a while, then come back and proofread it before publishing.
10. Get creative
You don’t have to stick with the status quo with your job description and application process. Sure, the resume, cover letter, and application still work. But there’s nothing wrong with doing things a little differently. For example:
- Record a video walking through your workplace, talk with co-workers, describe the position. and offer a real-world snapshot of what it’s like to work for your company.
- Invite candidates to apply via normal channels AND record a 1-2 minute video to show off their personality and introduce themselves.
When you know how to write a good job description, great candidates will find you
There was a time when you could just throw up a job description and get plenty of applicants. But job seekers are savvier now and want more details before they apply. Give it to them in the job description, and great candidates will find you.
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