How do you find the perfect candidates for a role? The first step to finding great candidates is to have excellent job descriptions to attract and encourage top candidates to apply. We’re here to help with this list of job description tips for crafting the best JDs.
Let’s dive in!
Start with your JDs
Getting top talent for a job begins with a great job description. To help you start, here are some tips to ensure your JDs are near perfection:
Be consistent with section order
The order of your sections should always be the same. Chances are applicants will look at more than one job offer on your website, and ensuring your sections are in the same order helps with readability and project professionalism. For example, if you put your About Us section at the beginning of your JD, ensure it’s in the same place on your other JDs.
Choose one point of view (POV)
Another great job description tip is to choose your POV. You can use the first person (us, we), second person (you), or third person point of view for your JDs. It is essential to pick a POV and stick with it for all your JDs.Having different POVs in your JDs makes your company look sloppy, inconsistent, and unprofessional to your audience.
An excellent recommendation is to use the first or second point of view because it makes your JD sound more personal. The third POV, although you can use it, may make your JD seem cold and impersonal.
Be consistent with your boilerplate copy
The boilerplate sections of your job descriptions (You’re About Us, Benefits, Diversity Statement, Company Mission, etc.) should have an identical copy on all your JDs because it makes your company look polished and professional. A copywriter can write your ad copy, then get it approved by your legal or corporate department, and keep those sections fixed.
Keep your JDs short and simple
Your JDs should ideally be between 300 to 650 words. AJD that’s too short can appear unprofessional, and top talent may move on, while a JD with more than 650 words might cause your candidates to lose interest in reading them.
When you’ve worked in the same industry for a while, you may let jargon slip into your JDs. Research shows that 38% of job ads contain jargon. Jargon or “corporate speak” may confuse entry-level candidates or job seekers wanting to enter a new industry.
Make your job titles count
So candidates can find your JDs, it helps to create a simple yet searchable Job title. Here are some points you may want to consider:
- Choose a job title that ranks high when searched for in Google. For example, job titles like Marketing Coordinator and Marketing Analyst are searched more than Marketing Specialist, so choosing from the former two options makes sense. Software like Ongig Text Analyzer scores your job titles and helps you choose the best job title for your JD.
- Keep it short. Keep your job titles between 1 to 3 words, less than 20 syllables, and no more than 60 characters – longer job titles can get cut off on search engines.
- Keep it simple, and avoid getting too creative. For example, “Kickass Marketing Manager” or “Software Ninja” may sound fancy and fun, but they won’t help make your JDs searchable.
- Don’t use parentheses in your job title. Including a parenthesis in your job title makes it seem unclear and needs additional explanation.
- Avoid using levels or tiers in your job titles. There are a lot of job ads that include tiers –like the example below.
Unless the applicants know exactly your internal levels or tiers, it’s best to stick to the basics. In this case, Sales Apprentice is enough.
Liking the job is important (of course), but studies show job compensation matters most to job applicants.
Some states like California, Colorado, Connecticut, Maryland, Nevada, New York, Rhode Island, and Washington require companies to include salary (or at least a salary range) in their JDs.
Flaunt your company perks
Being transparent about salary is a great way to attract candidates, but listing the perks and benefits your company offers, gives candidates that extra reason to work for your company. Benefits like paid vacation time, monthly incentives or a flexible work schedule can attract more candidates to apply.
You must cast your net wide to attract a wide range of candidates. To do this, you need to make sure your JDs are bias-free. The Oxford Dictionary defines bias as the “Tendency to favour or dislike a person or thing, especially as a result of a preconceived opinion; partiality, prejudice.”
Here are some of the biases you may want to be on the lookout for:
- Race bias – words like blacklist, Latino(a), Oriental, Illegal Aliens, English native speakers
- Age bias – words like recent graduate, millennial, digital native, energetic people
- Disability bias – words like walk, stand, lift, read
- Gender bias – words like man-made, courageous, manpower, salesman, spokesman, weatherman
- LGBTQ bias – pronouns like he or she
- and more
You may filter out these words, but personal bias often gets in the way. Get help from partial and objective software like Ongig Text Analyzer. This software helps you highlight biases and suggests a more inclusive replacement.
Keep your key requirements short and specific
Did you know the average candidate only spends 14 seconds reading a JD before deciding to apply? Ensure the roles’ responsibilities and requirements are clear when they read it.
Keep in mind that research shows men generally apply for jobs when they only meet 60% of the requirements, while women only apply if they meet 100%. If you want to attract more women and younger candidates, list only a few requirements (ideally seven or fewer).
Add your company’s DEI statement
One of the most effective ways to showcase your company’s commitment to DEI is to add your company’s DEI statement on your JDs. A good tip is to write an empathetic and custom statement instead of the usual boilerplate “We’re an equal opportunity employer” (from the 1964 Civil Rights Act)
Don’t forget to spell and grammar check your JDs
When writing many JDs, it’s easy to let a few grammatical and spelling errors into your work. But with the help of editing software like Grammarly, having lousy grammar and spelling is now a thing of the past.
While checking your grammar and spelling, you should check your text for readability (or how well your audience understands your text) using the free software Hemmingway. A good rule of thumb when writing for the general public is to aim for a readability score of 8 or below.
Spice up your job descriptions
In addition to being inclusive and having a great format, a JD also needs to be attractive to job seekers so they want to apply. Make your JDs more exciting and appealing to potential candidates with these tried and true tips:
Add a map
Adding a map (you can do so by leveraging Google’s Maps API) helps your candidates get a clear picture of where they’ll be working – whether the office is in the city or located on the outskirts of town. This super simple hack ensures you get more extended engagement and time on your JDs because your candidates don’t need to leave the page to find out where your office is on the map.
Nowadays, interactivity is a must on web pages, so why should your JDs differ? You can allow a candidate to communicate with you in many ways –Instant Messages (IM), Texts, Emails, or even a chatbot. You can also use LinkedIn’s API to communicate with your future candidates.
Embed video or pictures
Video is a very effective way of making your JDs more interesting. You can embed a video about your company, the job, the location, or anything else you think might be relevant to your advertised job.
If not video, consider adding photos or an infographic to your JDs. Images can be particularly effective to set your JDs apart from companies who don’t use them to get (and retain) the attention of your potential candidates.
Be transparent in your application process
Most of the time, each company’s application process appears shrouded in mystery to job seekers. Set your company apart by telling your candidates what happens during the hiring process. Infinity (Comcast) does a great job with this:
Include testimonials from your employees
There’s nothing more authentic than hearing about working for your company directly from the people who already work there. Make a video, or have your employees write about their experience working with your company and include it on your company’s job website.
Automate your JDs!
When you’re writing a lot of JDs and working with a team, it’s easy to get lost and overwhelmed.
Fortunately, a lot of software can help automate some parts of your JDs. This helps keep each job posting professional, polished, bias-free, and exciting. Here are some job description tips to help automate your JDs.
You should use templates if you’re writing a large amount of JDs per month. Templates make sure your JDs are consistent, plus they’re easy to store and find. Here are some (downloadable) templates to get you started.
Microsoft Word JD Template
- Modern job description template
- Free job description templates
- A Job description template for Word
- Editable job description template for Word
Google Docs Job Templates
- GHire Job description template
- 67 pages of FREE job description templates from GLINT
- Educator job description template
Use job description builder tools
Use job description software that helps you write effective and inclusive JDs, speed up your writing process, and create reusable templates for your team. Here are a few to get you started:
- Ongig Text Analyzer. This job description tool helps you create inclusive job ads and acts as a repository so your team can easily access approved JDs. It scans your JDs for bias, complex words, missing sections, templatizes JDs, and more.
- Jobsoid Job Description Generator. Jobsoid has a FREE job description generator with over 1000+ templates for you to use for you to create an outstanding job description. Each template provides you with an overview, general duties, and job requirements.
- Minute Creator Job Description Builder. This FREE tool uses occupational information from 8000+ Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupation Classifications.
Why I wrote this:
Ongig aims to help you and your team create great and inclusive JDs to attract outstanding and diverse candidates. Get in touch with our team to learn more.
- This Job Description Heatmap Shows You What Candidates Really Care About (and What They Ignore) (by Greg Lewis)
- Quick Facts About State Salary Range Transparency Laws (by Becca Damante, Lauren Hoffman and Rose Khattar)
- 3 Fresh Job Description Formats You Should Try (and Which One Works Best For Your Prospects) (by Keenan Steiner)
- Why Women Don’t Apply for Jobs Unless They’re 100% Qualified (by Tara Sophia Mohr)
- Civil Rights Acts if 1964
- The modern job description template (by Adrie Smith)