June 7, 2018

Five best practices for writing great job descriptions

If your organization has open positions, your job descriptions (and job titles) need to be on point, easy to digest and sell not only your open positions but your organization and employer brand, too.

Today’s job seekers have a lot of choice for jobs. They’re also busy and worried about making the right career choice.

Is it any wonder they’re harder and harder for talent pros to source and engage?

If your organization has open positions, your job descriptions (and job titles) need to be on point, easy to digest and sell not only your open positions but your organization and employer brand, too.

That can be a tall order for equally busy hiring managers, who may default to simple cookie-cutter job descriptions that, unfortunately, undersell what makes their company and positions unique. And that invite the less qualified to apply.

What job seekers consider

Based on Glassdoor research, here are the top five factors candidates consider before accepting a job offer:

  1. Salary and Compensation
  2. Career Growth Opportunities
  3. Work-Life Balance
  4. Location/Commute
  5. Company Culture and Values

Winning job descriptions should take each into consideration. With that in mind, let’s take a look at five best practices for writing great job descriptions.

Best practices for writing great job descriptions

1. Get real with the job title

Temper your creative juices for a moment. Rather than dressing up your job titles with flowery keywords like “Guru,” “Superstar” or “Hero,” opt for real-life keywords like “Sales Account Manager,” “Human Resources Director,” “B2B Social Media Specialist” or “SQL Database Programmer.”

Especially on search engines, this simple action will help place your job openings in front of far more job seekers, who are much less likely to look for openings with eccentric keywords.

2. Customize the role to the mission

Another best practice for writing a good job description is to describe how the role ties into your company mission and culture. This will help you attract candidates who will do well in your workplace.

Mention exciting or challenging projects candidates will work on—compensation alone is not enough to woo today’s candidates. Think career growth!

Another good idea is to include links to in-house videos that showcase the department or team the role reports to. That, coupled with links to great reviews of your company on Glassdoor, give candidates an “inside look” at your company culture and work/life balance, a great way to build trust between the company and ideal-fit employees.

Finally, don’t forget playing up a short commute, local transit options, and other nice work/life balance factors.

3. Be flexible with job requirements

Don’t go crazy here. In fact, be judicious—too many requirements or an extensive laundry list of skills may deter potentially great candidates from applying—especially younger applicants like new grads, whose lack of experience may be offset by enthusiasm, desire and potential.

Clearly, settle on your “minimum” and “preferred” qualifications. Candidates can view the latter as optional or a non-requirement, which can ultimately lead to lower-quality applications.

4. Format for mobile

Remember, more and more job seekers look for jobs on their phone. That makes it mandatory to avoid dense, lengthy paragraphs in your job descriptions. Instead, shorten things up, use bullet points liberally and sprinkle in subheads between sections for easy scanning.

You’ll never go wrong keeping things direct, short and simple—especially for job seekers on the go.

5. Do your research

Looking for a little competitive intelligence? Google the titles of your open positions to learn how others position their roles—there’s no shame in mimicking a good approach.

For further inspiration (it’s not creeping!), see what roles your nearest competitors are promoting and how they sell their culture and organization.

Writing job descriptions best practices: Summary

To drive interest, engage candidates and leverage your company brand and culture to encourage great candidates to apply, tailor your job descriptions to both your target candidate and fit for your company culture. Remember to:

  • Keep your job titles real and “guru-free.”
  • Customize the role to the mission.
  • Don’t scare away candidates with too many job requirements.
  • Optimize job descriptions for on-the-go mobile users.
  • For inspiration, do competitive intelligence.


This post originally appeared on Glassdoor.


This post was originally published on Glassdoor, one of the world's largest job posting and recruiting sites.

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