How many job descriptions have you come across that have been slapdash and generically copied-and-pasted? Today, in a job seekers’ market, it’s more critical than ever to carefully curate and optimize your job descriptions to attract top talent. Hiring the right people starts with writing the right job descriptions. Here’s how to create effective, engaging, and inclusive job descriptions to attract the best candidates:
1. Start With the Right Job Title For Each Role
When crafting your job description, start with getting the job title right. Here are some tips that can help you succeed:
- Be specific: Include key phrases that accurately describe the role.
- Keep it concise: Longer titles generally lead to ambiguity. Instead, keep your job titles to 80 characters or less and receive more clicks.
- Avoid internal lingo: Indeed recommends eliminating internal lingo that may confuse the job seeker. Stick to standard experience levels like “Senior” rather than “VP” or other terms people are less likely to look for.
- Steer clear of trendy terms and superlatives: One too many job titles include superlatives such as “rockstar”, ‘’wizard’’, or “guru,”. Although this may seem harmless, research from Indeed illustrates how these terms can actually turn off, and even exclude, prospective candidates.
2. Pay Attention to the Role Description
The role description should encapsulate a healthy amount of information about responsibilities and duties, context around the specific role, and information on how the job ties into the overall organizational objectives. Here are the main pointers to consider:
- Outline core duties and responsibilities: Focus on outlining detailed but concise job responsibilities. If any duties fall outside the scope of the role, be transparent and include this in the job summary.
- Highlight the position’s day-to-day activities: In addition to outlining high-level duties, highlight every day tasks to ensure that candidates are comfortable with performing these activities.
- Specify how the position fits into the organization: Context is everything when writing job descriptions. With this in mind, indicate who the job reports to and how the employee will function within your organization, helping candidates see the bigger picture and understand how the role impacts the business.
- Clearly state the exact job location: To optimize your job posting so it appears higher in job search results, provide an accurate job location. If your organization is remote or dispersed, include key information about visa eligibility depending on country-specific details.
- Include details about work hours, and remote/hybrid/in-office setup: Transparency is key when writing job descriptions. Job seekers need to be aware of important factors such as working hours, pay and compensation and whether the role is remote, hybrid, or fully office-based. The more context you provide here, the more suitable candidates you will attract.
3. Outline Essential Qualifications and Skills In An Inclusive Manner
While outlining essential skills and relevant qualifications, try to do it in an inclusive manner. In many organizations, the hiring managers are tasked with writing job descriptions, but they haven’t necessarily been educated on how to do so using inclusive language. Language has the power to attract and retain certain candidates, and even genders, over others. For example, terms like “proven” and “under pressure” used in job ads tend to attract more male candidates. When writing job descriptions, make sure to approach your writing from an inclusive lens, accounting for nuances in gendered language. These subtleties will make all the difference in attracting (and retaining) a diverse workforce.
4. Include Details About Your Employer Brand
Job descriptions go both ways: not only are you looking to attract the best candidates, but top job seekers are also looking to work for the best companies. With this in mind, it’s crucial that you portray your organization in a positive and transparent manner. Your ‘employer brand’ essentially equates to your reputation as an employer. To communicate an effective employer brand, communicate your company’s core values, and be transparent about your company culture. Prospective employees won’t want to start at a new company without any insights, so provide as much relevant and useful information as possible. Consider the following:
- What is the mission, vision, values, and culture of the company?
- What employee development opportunities are available?
- What kind of work-life balance, benefits, and vacation allowance does the company offer?
- Does your company offer mental health and/or personal days?
5. Include a DEI Commitment Statement
Too often, we see generic, sweeping statements of what a company’s DEI commitment is. But are these statements truly genuine? When considering DEI, it’s important to ‘’show it, don’t say it’’- so your DEI initiatives should really go without saying. Think about specificities:
- In what ways does your company honor DEI policies?
- Why, and how important is this, and how does it translate into your company’s culture?
- Are there certain DEI milestones that your company has reached - and if not, is there a commitment in place to reach them?
Really go beyond the surface and be genuine about your company’s commitment to honoring DEI. To learn more about DEI in the hiring process, read our article Recruiting in The 21st Century: What You Need to Know.
6. Culture, culture, culture
Don’t overlook the importance of culture when crafting your job descriptions. Candidates need to know if they will be a good fit and enjoy working at your organization. Include information about benefits, perks and workplace bonuses. Moreover, include information about working styles, cross-functional communication, leadership and statistics around diversity within your organization.