Creating a top-notch job description can be a challenge. Let’s take a look at the 5 most important things you can do to make sure your vacancies stand out.
What is a job description?
While it may seem self-explanatory, a job description is, well a description of the job, there’s more that goes into writing job descriptions than you might think. A good job description will excite the reader, and bring you a wide range of well-crafted applications from talented applicants. By the same token, a poorly written description is likely to turn people off, resulting in fewer, lower-quality applications.
The best job descriptions strike a balance between marketing and description. You want your company to sound «cool», but not at the expense of clarity and seriousness.
How to Write a Good Job Description
As with any piece of marketing material (and job descriptions are in part marketing material), the first step is to identify the target audience and tailor your voice to them. If you are an established looking for a software engineer with years of experience in large, corporate environments, then you may want to strike a somewhat subdued, serious tone. On the other hand, if you are looking for a programmer to join your young, scrappy startup, it’s okay to lean into the cool factor a bit. If you’re going for cool, however, don’t over do it. «Software Development Ninja» is one thing, but «Super Software Ninja Samurai Shogun Developer» is probably overkill.
A good way to learn how to write a great job description is to take a look at the job listings of other companies in your niche. If you’re big and established you may want to emulate the style of Google, Apple, or Amazon. Smaller organizations may want to look at the job listings of startups whose product or culture they particularly admire.
It also can be helpful to get an idea of what not to do. Feel free to google both «good job descriptions» and «bad job descriptions» so that you get a sense of the best and worst examples.
This research is a necessary first step, and using other companies’ job posts for inspiration is fine, but do keep in mind that you also have to make your organization stand out from the sea of similar vacancies. Be sure to emphasize what makes your proposition unique. Usually, this means including information about the specific types of projects to be worked on, company culture, and perks/benefits. If you are able/willing to pay top-of-the-market compensation, mention this upfront! That way top candidates will be more likely to apply.
Also, include a nice-to-haves section. Here you can list good skills for the job, that are pluses but not absolutely required.
5 Tips To Be the Best of the Best
Start with a strong title
The job title should give the reader a clear idea of what the position involves at a glance. The more specific the better. For example, if you are hiring for a cybersecurity role «Insider Threat Analyst» or «Threat Analyst — Industrial Control Systems» is better than simply «Cybersecurity Analyst».
Clearly Define Responsibilities
When making the list of responsibilities for the person in the position, don’t just generic filler words. Rather, clearly define the job description, stating exactly what the applicant will be expected to do in the position.
It’s also important to go beyond the day-to-day aspects role. A list of routine tasks, especially if they are too obvious (eg. «stays up to date with emails and communicates with colleagues») may be off putting for applicants.
Instead, give a flavor of the direct business impact you want the person to have. Also, try to stick to action verbs. Compare the two responsibilities in the job description sample below. Which sounds better?
"is responsible for driving the North American pipeline through lead qualification and strategic outbound engagement"
"Drive the North American pipeline through lead qualification and strategic outbound engagement"
"is responsible for planning and executing strategic Account campaigns, identify key players and generate opportunities"
"Plan and execute strategic Account campaigns, identify key players and generate opportunities"
"Conducting Discovery calls with prospects to fully understand their needs and challenges."
"Conduct Discovery calls with prospects to fully understand their needs and challenges."
The difference between active and passive constructions in job listings is powerful. In general, you’ll want to list 5-10 bullet points describing the role’s responsibilities. More than that is excessive.
After responsibilities, you will also need to list the skills and experience required for the role. Again, the more specific the better. And don’t forget to add numbers! These include required years of experience, compensation range, working hours and time zone, etc. If there is anything that the applicant needs to append to their application, such as a portfolio, video, writing sample, etc. be sure to mention that as well.
Use a Modern Job Description Template
There’s a lot of competition for top-talent out there, which means that you can neglect the visual and presentation elements of your job posting. Contemporary career pages on company websites often are structured to present interesting and appealing parts of company culture visually, while the text may highlight specific perks on offer before any individual vacancies are even displayed. Regardless of your feelings about this trend, it has become so widespread as to be basically expected, and applicants may find it strange if you don’t have your recruitment portal set up like this.
This matters mostly for jobs that you list on your own company webpage, if you are listing vacancies on a job portal, how they are displayed will be subject to the formatting constraints of the portal.
Speaking of job description templates, it’s also important to establish a standard format that you use across all your vacancy descriptions (with the possible exception of Director/CEO level positions).
“Over the last decade, we have seen technological advancements like algorithms, apps, and digital automation transition from futuristic ideas into present-day realities. One of the most noteworthy trends for 2021 with automation and artificial intelligence (AI), is their critical role in influencing traditional hiring and recruiting practices. In fact, one IDC report found that 75 percent of commercial enterprise applications could lean on AI by next year alone”.— Jessica Delaney, Director of Recruiting Operations at STAND 8 Technology Services
If you really want your HR team to be the most competitive out there, you can’t ignore the benefits of using AI as part of your recruitment process. According to a recent IBM report, their AI chatbots were able to increase applicant engagement by 24%.
Engagement isn’t the only part of the recruiting process that benefits from AI. Sourcing, candidate pool evaluation, and workflow all stand to benefit significantly. This means that a recruitment AI should also have an algorithm that can identify candidates whose skills are a good fit in an existing database and reach out to them.
Not only does AI save organizations time and effort in the recruiting process — the effectiveness of AI directly impacts business metrics across the board. If you are able to source top talent faster than your competitors, this will translate into significant advantages over time.
Because of the wide range of industries workplaces, it is a complex NLP challenge to develop an algorithm that can identify great talent in every sector. You may be better served by finding one that specializes in your specific industry.
If you are doing recruiting for IT, consider Employa. Our AI recruitment as a service tool can integrate with your existing ATS, and our algorithm is specifically tailored for tech recruitment.