The Case for Writing a Good Job Description

By Adam Robinson,
July 5, 2013

Job descriptions can be a hassle. You have plenty of other things on your plate to worry about, and spending more than just a few minutes writing that job description seems like a waste of time.

We get it, we really do. But think about how your job description looks to potential applicants. If it looks like a novel, is full of buzzwords and contains even a few grammatical errors, you may find yourself with a very limited pool of job-seekers to draw from.

Think about it this way: Active job-seekers see about fifty job descriptions a day. Now whether or not they take the time to actually read through each one depends on a few things – one being the cosmetics of the description. Because they see so many each day, this gives many seekers the ability to be selective when deciding where to apply. And if your job description is less than perfect, you can go ahead and say sayonara to that perfect potential applicant. 

A reader of the Ask A Manager blog recently wrote to Alison Green asking if she should apply to a job even though the description was poorly written. The reader’s exact words, “If I see some obvious mistakes or the writing is really poor, I pass. My reasoning is that the company doesn’t know better or care enough – so I definitely don’t want to work there.”

Though Green admits “ads are often written by HR, not the hiring managers, and they’re often pulled from horrible boilerplate language,” she does explain that a poorly written description is a poor reflection on the company. So her advice to the reader wondering if applying is worthwhile to apply – if you do decide to apply, “keep your eyes wide open for (A.) signs of lack of concern about things that matter to you and (B.) an overly bureaucratic culture that gives HR too much voice in things that the hiring department should control.”

So what does this mean for you? Block off some time on your calendar in order to write a good job description. But what does exactly does that entail? Click below to read “Job Descriptions 101” and find out.

About the Author

Adam co-founded Hireology with the mission to help growing companies make better hiring decisions through data and better technology. Adam is passionate about entrepreneurship, donating time to a number of organizations that support the entrepreneurial cause. Adam completed his undergraduate study at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and received his MBA from DePaul University in Chicago, IL.