How to Write the Best Job Description

In many cases, a job ad is the first impression your company gets to make with a candidate and is the deciding factor as to whether or not they apply. The average jobseeker will look at a posting for 5-10 seconds before making their decision. That's not a lot of time, so your job ad better knock their expectations out of the park.

The biggest piece of the puzzle? The job description. That's the bread and butter of the ad and can either entice or deter the jobseeker. It may sound like a nice candidate filter: either they feel qualified or they don't, but that's simply not true. The language you use and the way you describe the position may be deterring highly qualified candidates that your company needs. Here's how to clean up your job description to make your ad accessible to all candidates.

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The Basics

Make sure you're including essential bits of information, such as key duties and responsibilities as well as how their position within the company will contribute to the larger organization. This is also the time to list the tools and skills necessary, physical demands, scheduling requirements and the levels of authority and supervision. Don't write a novel, but make sure it's all there.

Not sure you included everything you need? Have an employee from a completely different department or team take a look at the job description and ask any questions they have about it. If it's regarding any of this information, make sure you answer their queries in the description as the jobseeker.

How it's Said

We've all heard it: it's not what you say, but how you say it. Look at the language you use. Think of your job description like a resume that you're giving to job-seekers. Would you rather hire someone who has a list of flat statements about their jobs or someone who gives you a dynamic response that outlines their accomplishments and metrics, giving you a clear idea of why they were important and successful in their organizations? Instead of "works on team to complete projects," consider "collaborates with highly motivated individuals to reach goals related to growth, engagement, and retention." It sounds better and it can give the job-seeker a clearer idea of the responsibilities of the job.

Be Inclusive

On a related note, people apply for jobs they can see themselves feeling welcome in. If your open position is typically male-dominated, it can be easy to fall into using male pronouns in the description. Obviously women won't feel as though they are welcome to apply if every pronoun is he/him/his. Best practice is to opt for gender-neutral pronouns, such as they/their/theirs (or simply staying, 'the applicant'), so nobody will feel like the job isn't for them based on their gender. Inclusivity matters and you'd hate to miss out on the best candidate because they don't fit the industry's preconceived notion about what they should look like.

Keeping your job description clear, engaging and inclusive can help your company find the candidates you need. Job descriptions help both candidates and hiring managers decide on the best fit and the quality hires made because an effective job description can propel your company forward.

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