How to Write Better Job Descriptions

March 8th, 2019

Want better candidates? Try writing better job descriptions. Even if your company has a strong reputation, your product practically sells itself, and the job comes with great perks and benefits, you’ll still need to confront a universal truth about job seekers: They tend to place themselves in the job as they imagine it, and if they can’t see themselves doing this type of work day after day, they aren’t likely to apply.

So make sure they imagine themselves into a role that’s appealing, challenging in a good way, and a necessary step on the path to larger career success. Here are a few ways to make that happen.

Be honest and descriptive.

Too much text can backfire (more on this in a minute), but within bounds, provide as much honest information as you can about the daily realities of the job. Using vague, empty terms won’t help. For example, skip phrases like “a dynamic environment” or “We need a real go-getter” or “Looking for a high-energy individual with the skills it takes to succeed!” What skills are those, exactly? You’ll accomplish more if you can be more specific.

Keep your description short and readable.

You don’t want your readers to tune out and move on before they reach the best part. So keep each sentence and phrase short and packed with substance. No empty, endless rambling. Your best candidates are busy and they’re in high demand. They can get jobs anywhere they want, so don’t expect them to read five long pages of obvious or non-valuable information. Start with three short paragraphs: 1) why your company is great, 2) what the job entails and requires, and 3) the perks and benefits that come with the job.

Offer what others can’t.

Of course, this can be challenging if you genuinely don’t have anything to offer that sets you apart from similar employers. For example, maybe you expect the candidate to file reports all day, and you intend to pay a fair wage and standard benefits in return. Big deal, right? Not really. But think hard; what is it about this place that makes your company special? And what can you offer that might light a spark of interest or help your reader understand that this job could boost her career? Will she learn a unique skill while serving in this role? Will she be up for advancement within one year? Will she be able to travel or set her own hours?

For more on how to add something special, catchy, or attention-grabbing to your job description that can help you nab strong candidates, turn to the staffing experts at PSU.

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