Employer Best Practices for Writing a Compelling Job Description

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Recruiting is tough right now! All candidates are pickier – especially the diverse candidates your company is after.

Purpose of a Job Description

The purpose of a job description is two-fold. It’s an employer branding tool to communicate your company’s persona. It also needs to attract the right kind of qualified candidate to help streamline the recruiting process.

The process of writing a job description may seem straightforward, but there’s often a large disconnect between what employers put out and what candidate perceive. In fact, while nearly three-fourths of hiring managers say they create clear job descriptions, just 36% of candidates can say the same. Clearly, there’s much room for employers to improve.

Best Practices for Writing a Great Job Description

Overall, candidates are scanning job descriptions to see if applying is even worth their time. So, how do you write job postings to get better results? Here’s how.

Focus on the parts that candidates care most about

That’s not to say ignore job requirements and avoid featuring your company culture. However, there’s good reason why you should emphasize or remember to include snippets that candidates hold most valuable.

A LinkedIn study that analyzed heatmaps of where readers linger on a job description shed insight on how to better write job descriptions. It found that compensation is the most important, followed by qualifications and job details. Company information comes in last, hinting that maybe you shouldn’t spend as much time trying to sell your company before the actual position.

Shorten your description

Posts with shorter word counts receive many more applications per view than their longer or even mid-length counterparts. Save the wordy descriptions and instead focus on providing a concise, informative description of the job.

Match tone to your company culture

Ensuring brand consistency as early as the job description means that candidates get a consistent experience and expectations. Candidates shouldn’t feel a disconnect between an initial posting and the company’s career portal on their website.

Here’s an example of different ways to approach tone.

Casual, start-up culture

You are the kind of person who uses both sides of your brain with aplomb and alacrity (if you know what both of those words mean without looking them up, you’re ahead of the game).

Formal, corporate culture

The above description reflects the details considered necessary to describe the principal functions of the job and should not be construed as a detailed description of all the work requirements that may be performed in the job.

One is clearly more conversational and laid back, which can hint at a more casual and innovative company culture. Meanwhile, the second job description gets straight to the point, suggesting that it may have a more rigid structure with solid operational processes already in place.

job description best practices


Create a Job Description Template

Before building out a job description template to use with all open positions, begin by defining one position. Whether you are a recruiter or the hiring manager, ask these questions:

  • If the new hire is successful, what are five to seven things they will have accomplished in their first year? By defining the position in terms of the job itself rather than the qualifications of your desired applicant, you open the possibility of more diverse candidates.
  • What are similar positions referred to in other companies? Unusual titles decrease the number of candidates who find you in a search.
  • How would you sell the role and the company to a top candidate? Some areas you can focus on are compensation, training, teammates, flexibility, work-life balance, diversity in the company, the clients they will work with, and what makes the work rewarding.

Once you have a solid understanding of what the position entails, you’re ready to craft a compelling posting that people will read and respond to.

Based on the best practices listed above, here’s a template to get started on how to write a job description.

  1. Job title
  2. Job summary in 2-3 sentences
  3. Job details
    • This section is an appealing but concise description of the new job. Hold this to five to seven buzzword-free bullet points.
  4. Qualifications
    • Include a brief list of the qualifications of the position. Resist the temptation to weed out unqualified candidates with long lists of “you must haves”. These tend to discourage the best, diverse candidates.
  5. Performance goals and metrics
  6. Compensation, such as a salary range and benefits
  7. Company profile and culture
    • Describe the company briefly. Can you cut that boilerplate down to one or two sentences? “We’re a growing digital marketing agency that’s been named one of the best places to work in Arizona, and we need a multifaceted designer to concept and execute outstanding work.” That statement is brief and still speaks to culture.
  8. Closing
    • Remember, this is a pitch! Motivate them to apply, or at least make a connection with you.

Don’t forget to keep the post short to keep candidates engaged and make it easier to be read on a phone.

Need a Hand in Attracting Quality Candidates?

Creating job postings that attract and compel talented individuals to apply is important in this tight job market. That’s why BestCompaniesAZ offers both powerful online employer brand and career promotion. We also hold live, annual career events for job seekers and employers to connect in person.

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