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Best Practices for Writing Effective Job Descriptions

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Writing Effective Job Descriptions

The Perfect Pitch to Prospective Job Applicants

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Job descriptions are one of the first points of contact you have with a job applicant. Effective job descriptions can help you make a great first impression and, as a result, attract qualified talent for your open roles. However, if you’re not writing job descriptions that stand out to top talent, you’ll risk losing your best prospective applicants to competing job offers.

Before you post your open roles, it’s important to consider what goes into writing job descriptions that are compelling. Hireology has created the following guide for you to walk you through the steps for creating effective job descriptions.

When writing job descriptions…

1. Clearly define the role and its responsibilities

Similar to job applicants preparing detailed resumes to stand out to employers, it’s just as important for job descriptions to stand out to job seekers. Now more than ever, employers need to sell job seekers on their open roles – rather than the other way around – and job descriptions give you the perfect opportunity to do so. 

To get started, clearly define the roles and its responsibilities in each of your job descriptions, as this should excite qualified talent and weed out some prospective applicants who aren’t a fit. You should draft these aspects before you begin writing job descriptions, as this practice will help you make sure you’re writing compelling job descriptions.

Here are some questions to answer as you’re writing job descriptions:

  • What does the day-to-day look like for this role? 
  • How will success be measured for the role? 
  • What does the career path look like?
  • How will this potential employee contribute to the company’s overall goals and mission?
  • In what ways can this position make a difference within the company and its future?
  • What kind of social or ethical work does your company do outside of the office?

2. Spell out requirements for the position

Whether you’re a manager or HR lead, you know better than anyone else why someone left your company and why that person didn’t quite fit. Therefore, you have to make it clear to applicants not only what you want in a potential employee, but also what you don’t want when writing job descriptions.

In your job descriptions, be sure to mention:

  • Preferred background, skills, or experience preferred for the open role
  • Any certifications or other qualifications needed for the role 
  • Personality traits that help employees succeed in your office
  • Work habits expected in the position

To attract top talent, you need to think like them. Download The Great Reassessment for a look into the modern job seeker’s mind.

3. Highlight what makes you stand out from other employers

When browsing job descriptions, today’s job seekers want a clear answer to the “What’s in it for me?” question. In the company overview and benefits section, you have the chance to excite prospective applicants further by sharing what you have to offer employees.

Here are some recommended details to include in the company overview and benefits sections of your job descriptions.

  • Company location – Where you’re based and what the travel schedule is like?
  • Company history – When was the company founded? What makes it unique?
  • Culture – What is it like to work for your agency? Are you family-oriented? Patient-focused? 
  • Awards – Has your agency been recognized by their industry or community as a great place to work?
  • Community involvement – What kinds of charitable work does the company foster?
  • Career growth – What types of career paths do you support at your agency? 
  • Benefits – What benefits do you offer employees? (ex. Vacation time, retirement benefits, healthcare benefits, training resources, discounts on equipment required for the role, and more)

4. Make sure your job descriptions are search-friendly

More than 70% of job searches begin on Google, so it’s important to have Google search results in mind when you’re writing job descriptions. 

Start by keeping your job titles short and concise – try not to include any details about sign-on bonuses or other information in the job title. In Google results, standard job titles that are most likely to match what job seekers are searching rank higher in search results.

Also keep your job descriptions short and to the point. The ideal length for job descriptions is between 300 and 800 words. Beyond the key job description elements outlined above  – including a strong company overview, list of responsibilities and requirements, an overview of your benefits and opportunities for career growth – also include additional information to rank well in search results.  

State the exact address of your open role(s) – including the zip code – as jobs with specific locations outlined are more likely to rank higher in Google results. Also, refresh your posted jobs after a reasonable amount of time, as older jobs do not rank well on Google. 

Finally, another key piece many employers overlook is including an Equal Opportunity Statement. Simply including this statement at the bottom of your job descriptions and on your career site can help you improve search results and stand out as a top employer. 

Here’s an example of an Equal Opportunity Statement: “We’re an equal opportunity employer. All applicants will be considered for employment without attention to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, veteran or disability status.”

Writing job descriptions is only a small part of attracting top talent. Watch this video to see how Hireology’s powerful all-in-one platform can improve your applicant flow. 

Set your team up for success with effective job descriptions

Job descriptions are essentially not much different than consumer advertisements. By writing job descriptions that meet the above criteria, you can attract the qualified talent for your open roles you’ve been searching for.  

Job descriptions are just a small piece of what you need to create a competitive advantage through your people at your organization. In a recent survey of over 6,000 applicants, we found that the most important that 34% of job seekers are looking for in their next roles is flexibility. In our recent guide, Mythbusting Common Flexibility Beliefs, you’ll see just how easy incorporating flexibility in your people policy can be.

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