First impressions matter, and your job descriptions are often the initial touchpoint between your organization and potential candidates. That’s why it’s so important to understand how to craft compelling job descriptions.

Research shows that 5 out of 10 job seekers will not apply for a role if they perceive the job description to be of low quality—impersonal, unprofessional, and vague. This means you could be missing out on valuable talent simply because you don’t take your job descriptions seriously.

So what’s the secret to crafting job descriptions that sell your organization’s value proposition and attract qualified candidates? The answer is job description storytelling.

In the same way you use storytelling in Marketing and Sales to help buyers visualize themselves using a product, HR pros and Talent Acquisition specialists can also infuse storytelling nuggets to create compelling job descriptions. These narratives help qualified candidates envision themselves doing impactful work at the organization.

If that’s what you want too, then this article is for you. We’re going to explore:

  • Components of stellar job descriptions
  • Incorporating storytelling nuggets in your job descriptions
  • Addressing diversity and inclusion in your job descriptions
  • Testing and refining your job descriptions

But before we dive in, let’s talk about your audience. How do you define your ideal candidate persona?

Understanding Your Audience to Craft Compelling Job Descriptions

Crafting compelling job descriptions that attract the right candidate becomes easier when you have a clear picture of the type of person needed to fill a vacant role in your organization. 

This clear picture, when documented, is called an Ideal Candidate Persona.

Let’s quickly walk through how to create one.

Defining Your Ideal Candidate Persona

Creating an Ideal Candidate Persona comes down to asking the right questions. Some of the elements to consider include:

  • What type of work environment is most suitable for the role?
  • The level of education necessary for the role
  • What values and cultural traits should the ideal candidate have?
  • The challenges and opportunities the role offers the candidate to keep them engaged and fulfilled
  • What role does the candidate play within a team?

You can find answers to some of these questions by analyzing your top performers to discover what makes them valuable to your organization. 

Additionally, you can collect data from your applicant tracking system to identify KPIs that can guide you in the right direction.

Building a Candidate Persona

Once you have the data about your ideal candidate, it is time to organize all of this data in a document.

Your Ideal Customer Persona document must cover the following areas:

  • Job title and role: Specify responsibilities, tasks, and objectives for the position.
  • Skills and qualifications: Technical skills, soft skills, industry-specific knowledge, etc.
  • Personality traits and working style: Define cultural fit characteristics that align with your organization’s.
  • Motivation and career goals: Identify the candidate’s motivations, career aspirations, long-term goals, etc.
  • Challenges and pain points: Highlight obstacles that could prevent the candidate from filling out the application or fulfilling the role.

Source: Pexels

Components Of Compelling Job Descriptions

When you look through different job descriptions, you’ll see that most of them follow the same format

They have sections for title, company vision, qualifications, duties and responsibilities, and compensation.

However, to truly make your job descriptions stand out, you need to do something extra. Compelling job descriptions share the following characteristics:

  • Clarity and specificity
  • Engaging Tone
  • Conciseness
  • Focus on impact
  • Inclusivity and Diversity
  • Alignment with company values

Clarity And Specificity

64% of employees think that the job descriptions they come across aren’t clear enough. If such a significant number of candidates have a problem with job descriptions, then being more specific with your language is an avenue for you to stand out in the job market.

Vague job descriptions don’t only push away qualified candidates but can also lead to high turnover rates among hires. When employees realize that the job description does not accurately reflect the full scope of their responsibilities, they may choose to leave.

Avoid all these by ensuring that your job descriptions clearly outline the responsibilities, qualifications, and expectations of the role you’re hiring for.

Engaging Tone

Even if the role you’re hiring for is “boring”, your job description doesn’t have to be.

You don’t have to become an overnight standup comedian, but it is easier to attract candidates, spark interest and excitement about your organization when you use a compelling and engaging language.


Candidates spend an average of 49.7 seconds skimming applications before deciding if a position is a good match or not.

That’s less than a minute for candidates to determine if your organization is worth considering.

In such a short time, long and windy job descriptions could result in candidates missing out on key details like qualifications and expectations, making it difficult for them to assess their suitability to your organization properly.

When you keep your job descriptions concise, you make it easier for candidates to grasp what you’re offering.

Focus On Impact

Another key component of compelling job descriptions is that it highlights the impact the vacant role will have on the organization.

High performers are drawn to positions where they can see how their contributions make a difference.

Inclusivity and Diversity

When it comes to job descriptions, how you say what you say matters. 

It is common to see organizations unintentionally use discriminating language that discourages qualified candidates from applying.

Avoid words that are racial or gender specific as they send the impression that your open role is only available to specific groups of people.

One common inclusivity oversight we often see in job descriptions is the use of gender-related words. When you use labels like he or she, you might unknowingly communicate to applicants that the open role is only available to a specific gender.

To be more inclusive in this instance, you should instead use “you” so applicants can see themselves in that role.

Alignment With Company Values

Does skillset trump cultural add? It depends on the role you’re hiring for. But what’s certain is that cultural add is oftentimes untrainable, unlike required job skills. 

Also, a study showed that employees who work well together are much more successful than those that don’t.

This is why it is important that, when creating your job descriptions, you align the role’s responsibilities and expectations with your organization’s mission and values.

This allows you have a greater chance of attracting candidates who are a good cultural fit for your company.

Incorporating Job Description Storytelling Nuggets

Storytelling can be a powerful tool for HRs and Hiring Managers to engage potential candidates and convey the culture, values, and opportunities within their organization.

Person reading a book (Compelling job descriptions blog)

Source: Pexels

Here are some storytelling nuggets that you can infuse in your job descriptions.

Company Origin Story

Candidates want to read a well-crafted origin story. 

Share a brief narrative about how the company was founded, highlighting the motivations, challenges, and milestones along the way. This helps candidates connect with the company’s history and vision.

Employee Journeys

There’s a reason why social proof is a powerful tool for convincing people to take a certain decision. People are more likely to take action if other people have done it.

That same logic is in play when you share employee journeys in your job description.

Highlight stories of current employees who have grown and developed within the company, showcasing their career progression, achievements, and contributions. This demonstrates opportunities for growth and advancement within the organization.

Mission and Values 

Tell the story behind the company’s mission and values, explaining why they were chosen and how they guide decision-making and behavior within the organization.

Impactful Projects

If you’re a high-performing organization that solves hard challenges, your job description is a great place to attract similarly high-performing candidates.

Describe significant projects or initiatives the company has undertaken, emphasizing the impact they’ve had on clients, communities, or industries. This showcases the meaningful work employees can be a part of.

Culture and Work Environment

You can also paint a picture of the company’s culture and work environment, describing team traditions, events, and unique perks or benefits that make the workplace special.

Addressing Diversity And Inclusion for Compelling Job Descriptions

For many organizations, the journey to being able to create inclusive job descriptions starts with understanding which of the everyday words used could actually be marginalizing certain segments of your target audience.

For instance, when Buffer noticed that less than 2% of its applicants were women, the company analyzed its job descriptions and found that labeling developers as hackers could be the reason why so many female developers were discouraged from applying.

These are some of the things you should take note of to create more inclusive job descriptions.

Address Gender Coding for Compelling Job Descriptions

Gender-coded words are words that are associated with a particular gender based on stereotypes. Take Buffer’s example for instance. Hacker is a term often used in association with males and could send subtle signals that only males work at the company.

To avoid the trap of gender-coded language, here are some things you could do:

  • Be factual. Use language that clearly describes the duties of the role rather than cliches.
  • Make sure your job title accurately describes the job. Replace colorful titles like rockstar and hacker with more descriptive titles like sales manager systems engineer.
  • Provide benefits and employee perks that show that you support a diverse employee pool. This could be family leave, a hybrid working schedule, training programs, and so on.

You can also use tools like Ongig to help you create gender-neutral job descriptions.

Address Culture And Racial Bias for Compelling Job Descriptions

One other area in most non-inclusive job descriptions that often falls short is culture and racial bias. There is no reason why racially explicit words should appear in your job descriptions unless they are relevant to the role.

In most cases, that’s never the case. And they therefore should not be included.

Be Inclusive of People With Disabilities

It can be challenging to create job descriptions that are inclusive of people with disabilities. This is because recruiters are often not sure of what language qualifies as bias, compared to gendered language where things are a little bit clearer.

In this case, you must go back to your roles and identify the core of your requirements. Ask yourself “What is essential to this job?”

This chart by Monster shows how considering your “how” can change the delivery of your job requirements:

Source: Inclusion Hub

Crafting Compelling Job Descriptions: Testing And Refining Your Job Descriptions

It is not enough to just create job descriptions once and forget them. Roles are everchanging and your job descriptions need to be updated to ensure that they are still relevant.

You must create a system for collecting feedback on your job descriptions. Feedback helps ensure that your job description matches the actual role. It also helps you eliminate vague words that could discourage qualified candidates from applying and replace them with more specific language.

Who do you ask for feedback? There are several sources you can tap into.

The manager can provide insights into the role, skills needed, and responsibilities. Your target audience (applicants) can tell you what they are looking for in a job. They can also provide you with insights into your hiring process and help you understand what can be improved.

You can also rely on your colleagues for information on the competition and candidate pool.

by in Job Descriptions