Job descriptions are powerful. And writing a good job description is key to everything, from how many applicants you’ll get to how eager they’ll be to work for you.
Companies often think the applicant does all the work to get an interview. This is partly true, but it’s also your job to create quality JDs to attract the best talent (and convince them to apply).
If you want to fill positions (and get the best talent on the market), you’ll need to perfect the art of writing good JDs. Here are 4 tips on how to do it:
1. Make a good first impression
What do job seekers see first in your job posting? The job title. If it catches their attention, they’ll continue reading.
This is your chance to make a great first impression. So, you should be careful about how you write it.
Get the job title right
Applying for jobs is time-consuming and often stressful for applicants. Qualified applicants have loads of options, and it won’t take long before they decide not to apply for a poorly defined position.
To draw them in, get the job title right. Here are some tips to help you with this:
- Be specific about the role — Don’t use phrases like “rockstar,” app developer, or “guru” in digital marketing. Companies often overdo their attempt to make the job titles more inviting. This is not the place to get creative. By looking at the title, job seekers should know what position they’re applying for.
- Use a searchable keyword — Did you know job descriptions also have a keyword? If you are hiring a digital marketer, your keyword is “digital marketer.” There are specific job title keywords candidates search for more than others. Here’s a guide to the most-searched job titles (by department).
- Keep it short — If your job title is too long, some job seekers won’t bother reading it. Keep it short – you’ll share the rest of the information in the description.
Rethink your opener
Once you have a good title and convinced candidates to open (and read) your job posting. The next few sentences will keep them engaged. Think of this as an intro to an essay – you need to reel the reader in and convince them to keep reading.
The information at the beginning of a message carries more weight than any other part. Applicants will decide whether they want to keep reading in about 14 seconds from opening your posting.
The best way to do this is to show value to the candidate by:
- Sharing a brief summary of what they will do day-to-day
- Sharing salary and perks from the start
- Sharing a short list of requirements
If you need some inspiration for the intro (or full format) of your JDs, here are 5 Free Sample Job Descriptions Templates you might like.
2. Have a clear list of responsibilities
Candidates won’t like it if you are too vague about role responsibilities. Many won’t waste time applying for roles they aren’t sure about. Use short descriptions of each duty using a list format and avoid extra-long sentences that are hard to read.
If you’re hiring managers create these lists, ask them to draft a clear list of job duties.
Generic statements like: “work with the team on monthly projects” or “budgeting for the team based on organizational goals” don’t attract job seekers.
It’s better to say something more precise like: “review annual marketing plans for Team X” or “create monthly marketing budgets for Team X.”
3. Use inclusive language and a diversity statement
Writing a good job description means using inclusive language. Especially if you’re goal is to attract more diverse talent.
To create more inclusive job descriptions, you’ll want to remove biased language.
For example, instead of offering “maternity leave” as a perk, use “parental leave” instead to include non-binary gender applicants. Or use “they/them” pronouns instead of “he” or “she.”
Outside of gender, other types of potential bias creep into job postings based on race, disability, age, mental health, and more. Here’s an example of 25 of the Most-Used Exclusionary Words [in Job Ads] to be aware of:
|Exclusionary Words||Bias Category||Inclusive Replacements|
|a cakewalk||race||an easy task|
|bend||physical disability||lower oneself|
|brown bag session||race||lunch and learn, learning session|
|climb/climbing||physical disability||scale, move up, scaling, moving up|
|criminal background check||former felons||background check|
|culture fit||race||culture add|
|digital native||age||passionate about technology|
|English native speaker||race||fluent in English|
|degree from a top school||elitism||a degree|
|lift/lifting||physical disability||move, hold, moving, holding|
|maternity and paternity leave||LGBTQ+||parental leave, parental time off|
|new graduate||age||a graduate|
|recent graduate||age||a graduate|
|sanity check||mental health||review, audit, double-check|
|servant leadership||race||growth leadership, supportive leadership|
|sit/sitting||physical disability||be stationary, being stationary|
|stand/standing||physical disability||be upright/stationary, being upright/stationary|
|the men and women||LGBTQ+||the team, the people|
|typing||physical disability||inputting, entering|
|walk/walking||physical disability||move, traverse, moving, traversing|
|walkthroughs||physical disability||final checks|
Tip: Besides removing biased language, including a diversity and inclusion statement is a good idea. Most candidates value seeing a D&I commitment, even if it is generic. You’ll find some examples here: 25 Examples of Awesome Diversity Statements.
4. List the perks of working with you
Why are perks so important when writing a good job description? The demand for better health benefits has grown tremendously, especially after the pandemic. And, most employees these days would take better benefits over higher pay.
But, there are plenty of other perks to consider if you want to attract the best talent. Here are some examples of benefits with the most impact on job seekers:
And there are plenty of tools to help you plan for employee perks. Tools like Perkbox help with this. Perkbox gives you great ideas for employee perks and creates an attractive plan for your existing and new team members.
Why I wrote this:
Ongig‘s mission is to help you with writing a good job description so you’ll attract top talent in your industry.
This is a guest post by Nadica Metuleva. Nadica is a freelance writer who’s passionate about creating quality original content. She holds a Master’s degree in English teaching and a Bachelor’s degree in translation. With 8 years of experience in the freelance writing industry, Nadica has become proficient in creating content that captivates the audience, drives growth, and educates. You can find her on LinkedIn.
- The Most Desirable Employee Benefits (by Kerry Jones)
- 3 Steps for Writing More Compelling Job Ads That Will ‘Hook’ Candidates Quickly (by Samantha McLaren)
- 10 company perks & benefits to motivate your team (by Perkbox)