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Generic job descriptions don’t attract top talent. But the trick isn’t just to jazz up your job descriptions, it’s to also make them job-relevant. So stop posting the same job descriptions you’ve had since 1992, and start make the most of the opportunity to represent your employer brand and improve the initial applicant pool.

Writing job descriptions take finesse. Here are six tips for writing better job descriptions to get better candidates.

  • Job title – Develop a job title that accurately reflects the work and level at which the employee will perform. The job title should reflect the industry and the culture of the company.  Don’t be afraid to be creative with the titles. The best and most talented applications will answer to creative job titles.
  • Purpose and responsibilities – Include a brief description of the purpose and main responsibilities that is short and to the point. This should include a list of all the essential functions of the position. Between 5 and 10 responsibilities is sufficient and each one should begin with a preset-tense, action verb (i.e., create, generate, write).
  • Tasks –The more transparent the job description the better. Describe how frequently tasks will be performed or what percentage of the employee’s time spent. This will help applicants better understand what their day will look like.
  • Qualifications – According to the Wall Street Journal, among the average 118 applicants per job opening in 2012, only 35% met the basic experience and education requirements. This percentage can be increased by providing a realistic list of mandatory job-relevant qualifications, as well as those that are preferred. This should include skills, years of experiences, and education level. Use bullet points so that a candidate can quickly scan and see if they’re qualified.
  • Company mission – Include information about the company’s mission, goals, and the industry.  For many candidates the company culture is almost as important as the pay. Is this a start-up? How big is the team? Is it 9 – 5 or 11 – 7? You may also want to add details on who the new employee will report to and where that person falls within the company’s structure.
  • Nuts and bolts -The type of employment (i.e. full time, part time) and the salary and benefits (if your company publicizes them) can be added as well.

A significant job description is clear, concise, and has personality. For some examples, take a look at this TLNT post. The applicant should be able to easily identify if they are qualified for the job and if they will fit into the company culture. A job description is the first impression that you make on the candidate so make the most of this opportunity.


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