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Job Description: How to Create an Effective One

Writing an effective job description is essential in helping you attract the top talent for your jobs. With more than thousands of job listings in various portals, a compelling job description can help your jobs stand out from the rest. A job description tells candidates about open vacancies and provides information that may encourage them to apply. Not only do job descriptions list key responsibilities, but they also promote the benefits of working at your organization and the company's values. Follow these recommendations to ensure you are attracting candidates who truly understand the role and want to work for your company.

Write Short and Descriptive Job Duties

Candidates expect to learn the specifics of your open positions from your job descriptions. Write short and straightforward job duties that help potential candidates understand the role. Below are a few ways to make this section clear:

Be specific

Instead of using vague language, describe duties and responsibilities as specific as possible. Generic descriptions don't give insights about a role and will never get a potential candidate excited about the job. Use specific technical terms to describe the objective of the role and give candidates a better idea of what your role entails.

Cover the basics

Employees' responsibilities tend to change over time. However, it doesn't mean you need to mention every task your new employee will be expected to do as their role evolves. Instead, list the core tasks that reflect the regular workload of the role.

Remove Unrealistic Expectations

Given the high competition for top talent, it can be tempting to oversell your job. However, there is a big difference between promoting your job to encourage candidates to apply and exaggerating what you can offer. An effective job description is a balance of both.

Exaggerating a position's requirements can create confusion for the candidates. You should only include what is required of candidates in the job description. While you can include preferred qualifications, ensure your expectations are reasonable given the role and level of employment.

Maintain a Positive Tone

It is essential to list job requirements in a clear yet positive tone, even if you want to eliminate unqualified candidates. Avoid words like "can't," "never," and "always," which can come off restrictive and discourage people from applying.

"Oftentimes, job descriptions become formulaic for companies and are repeatedly updated versus rethought. Be sure to write in a voice consistent with your company's personality and culture. If the job description comes off overly formal in comparison to your company style, you may lose people."

Nikki Brewer, PROS Holdings

Show-off Your Company

Your job posting should set expectations and represent your company's culture. Show why people are excited to work at your company, and make sure you include opportunities for training and support. Your job description should help potential employees see how their personal growth will contribute to the organization's success.

You can use the "About us" section to describe your company and work style. You should include brief descriptions of your products/services, mission, and status. You may also consider adding some contextual information about the team potential employees will work with. Information about key clients, the latest achievements, and the technology they will work with will help candidates better understand their role within your organization.

"At HOMESTAR, we write "what's cool about this job" in our advertisements. A job posting can be much more than a boring job description listing a bunch of tasks. When posting positions, think of it as a marketing opportunity for branding your company's culture. And just as we've done during interviews, give candidates the good, bad, and ugly to establish a realistic preview of the role."

Steve Lovig, Homestar Financial Corp

Create a Sense of Urgency

Regardless of whether you need to fill an open position quickly, create a sense of urgency in your job description that encourages candidates to apply. You can post specific dates and include contact details for a company employee to allow for a more streamlined process. Words like "now," "need," and "ends" can help convey urgency and compel more candidates to apply.

An effective job description is crucial for a successful hiring process. By taking the time to prepare a detailed job description, you will have a much higher chance of attracting top talent.

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