How to write a good job description

writing a good job description

Writing a good job description allows you to emotionally connect with your job seeker while separating yourself from competition who is assumably also looking for similar applicants.  Good job descriptions are not hard to write.  The best job descriptions are simply a story about your company, the importance you place on good hires and your common mission/goal to achieve by specific actions.

Let’s dive into each function of the job description to help you write the best job description for your organization:

Functional job title

The key to a job title is not how creative or bold you can make it.  Think of what your ideal applicant is typing into their favorite job board to find your job.  Chances are they are not using made up job titles or using an absurd amount of punctuation marks!!  They are typing in the function or role they wish to seek.  This should be your job title.  Save the super creative, funny job titles for their business cards and Linkedin profile.

Business overview

The most influential element to millennials when deciding which company to work for is not the function of the job.  It’s actually the “Why” behind the organization.  Tell the story at the top of your job description.  How did you start, what is it you do and WHY you do it.  Emotionally connecting with your audience right off the bat will help your applicant conversion rate.

Postion overview

Use this paragraph to talk about a day and a life at this position.  What is it you’ll be doing.  Be sure to share why it’s important and what key responsibilities they’ll be held accountable to.  This is not the place to rattle off every responsibility, rather, it’s a time to briefly describe and set the tone of importance of the role.  This is also your space to sell your giving back to the employee.  What training you offer, how you’ll help them be the best they can be.

Skills and Responsibilities

Now that you have outlined the key functions and importance of the position, you can dive into specifics and accountability.  Use bullet points to separate each responsibility or skill they’ll need.  If there are skills absolutely required and some which are not as important, you can separate the list into two tiers, MUST HAVE, NICE-TO-HAVE.  Be clear.

Desired Experience

Typically this area is overlooked in writing average job descriptions.  However, good job descriptions pay a lot of attention to writing out specific skills, education and work experience needed to be successful in this role.  Candidates often spend a lot of time in this section to justify if they should apply or not.  If you find your organization putting more weight to soft-skills over exact work experience, you need to tell that story to ensure a good A-Player does not pass on applying because they were caught up on the “Must have 5 years experience in XYZ.”

Determine where your red lines are for experience.  This is very important to be fully transparent.  If you’re having a hard time with specifics, talk with your hiring managers and look at your current employees.  Figure out how much experience they had when they started and what experience led them to be great at their role.  They may tell you a different story about how little their previous positions prepared them for the new job.

Company About Us

You’ve talked about the company in the company overview section, however, you should do it again.  Dive deeper into your core values.  Explain why they are important and how they will drive the vision of the company to be successful.  This section can be a good time to tell a deeper story on why the company started, stability, growth plans.  Paint a picture.  We want the candidate to fall in love with the company before they even apply.

We have seen successful job descriptions use quotes and testimonials from their current employees here.  If you have a powerful employment brand, you’ll want to link to social media accounts which illustrate this.

Benefits

Health benefits are not the only thing to address.  If you have a cell phone, gym or travel reimbursement plan setup, be sure to showcase that here.  Talk about employee wellness, office amenities and areas to show you care about the people side of the business.

Compensation

How much detail you share in your job description about the compensation is entirely up to you.  However, good job descriptions tend to leave little to the imagination.  You do not want to waste your time with applicants who are expecting double than your high range.  You set yourself up for failure.  We have seen many companies explain an estimated on-target earnings range this year and what to expect three years out.  Show your vision to hire for long-term view.

Time expectations

Required hours for the role especially non-normal operating hours should be explained.  It’s recommended you explain reasonable expectations for work hours.  Provide as much information as possible on your job description to allow the candidate to self-eliminate through the process if they are not the right hire.

How to write a great job description

how to write good job descriptions

Getting your job description from good to great will depend greatly on your ability to showcase the “WHY” behind your employment offering.  We do a good job at selling customer’s the benefit of our service or widget, however, employment marketing is often overlooked.  Showcase your benefit of being the employer of choice for each role.

A few ways to enhance your candidate experience:

  • Use media to visually enhance experience – Many job boards only allow you to post text-only job descriptions, however, tools such as VIVAHR and landing page software can let you post these job descriptions on your careers page with videos, images and enhance the experience.
  • Leadership involvement – Job seekers want to hear from the leadership.  Not about how great the leaders are, but what their vision and purpose lies.  Make simple introduction videos to share.
  • Nurture Campaigns – We recommend using email drip campaigns to nurture each applicant going through the funnel.  With most email marketing tools, you can create custom groups based on tags or lists.  These candidates can get a series of automated email messages.  They can tell a deeper story about the employment brand, role and introduce key figures in the management structure.
  • Facebook Retargeting Ads – Did you know you can add a facebook pixel to your application? Yep, it’s amazing.  Segment your facebook ads to appear in-front of your candidates based on if they applied to your job, or left without completing the application.  Your unique messaging can lead to strong brand impression that you care.  To your audience who has converted into an applicant, you can build messaging around what to expect when working with you.  Drop images of awards, core values or event videos from your most recent company party.  Chances are they will not accept an offer from your competitor before giving your company a really hard look.

Final thoughts on creating a good job description

The best way to know you are building a good job description is usually down to how much attention to detail you provide.  There are endless amounts of marketing and messaging you could add.  The best employers recognize each new candidate as a potential impact to their business.  Whether or not they end up working for you, their experience with your brand, job description can lead them to refer friends and co-workers in your direction.

Now that your job description is written and ready to post, we hope you’d kindly consider using VIVAHR to post your job and manage your applicants.  Don’t forget, you can use our landing page tool to embed images, videos and employee testimonials in one consistent experience.  Embed your favorite chat widget to chat with candidates in realtime.  Best of luck hiring!

writing a good job description