How to Nail Your Job Description

Job DescriptionToo many businesses brush over their job descriptions, and then wonder why they get so many unqualified applicants. Don’t make the same mistake. Let me give you some tips so you can write job descriptions that attract the best candidates (ie. the ones you actually want on your team).


Rule Number 1. Don’t Exaggerate

Companies know that attracting the best job candidates means they have to sell their company’s strengths. But this doesn’t excuse exaggeration. Job candidates will figure out how your company operates once they start work, or hear the truth from friends.  Saying you are a flexible employer and not acting upon it, will just waste your time with the wrong candidates (plus ruin your reputation along the way).

There is no point embellishing a job descriptions with adjectives and glowing reviews, as these are often subjective. Instead, list your company’s goals and the problems you are trying to solve. We also keep it real by saying, candidates who work with us must be able to embrace a bit of chaos.  Keeping it real means people know exactly what they are signing up for when they apply to work with us.

Rule Number 2. Avoid Clichés

Nobody wants to work with someone who has just cut and pasted someone else’s job description or filled it with inspirational quotes off the internet.  Job candidates have heard them before, and to be honest, it just stinks of fakeness.  You don’t want to start the recruitment process with candidates having a negative feeling towards you.

Instead of using stock phrases, brainstorm alternatives and speak in a manner that is relatable to your ideal candidate (who you are hoping is reading the advertisement).

Don’t just describe your office as a positive work environment; break down what makes it a positive place to work. Are you fun, do you have an office table tennis table, do you do a work lunch once a month?  Remember, using specifics will make your descriptions stand out from blander listings.

Rule Number 3. Help Your Job Candidates (and help yourself)

Be clear and concise about what you are after. Waffling on for pages and pages will make candidates lose interest and really consider if they want to work with you. Job seekers want a partnership that will help them as much as they can help you. They might spend hours every day browsing job boards, and don’t have the energy to decide if a company is a good fit based on a few vague clues. Your job description should tell a story (or better yet sell a dream).

Describe your past accomplishments that are relevant to your target audience. Making descriptive language concise isn’t always easy so don’t worry if you don’t get it right the first time. If you aren’t getting enough job candidates, or you are not getting the right ones, consider using professional help (we love and use JustMums Recruitment services).  Sometimes, these tasks are best dealt with by a professional and is money well spent when you find the ideal recruit.

Rule Number 4. Sell Your Company

You can’t convince picky people to join your company if you can’t sell it. If you don’t know why your company is a great workplace, job seekers will assume it isn’t one. Some businesses aren’t self-aware, and only have vague justifications for their popularity.

Remember, the salary you are offering is not be the only consideration job seekers are looking for. Whilst it is important, there are so many other benefits that you should explain – flexibility, location, office amenities, social functions, team culture just to name a few.  Compensation is a vital part of any employment offer, but it won’t sell your company unless you are paying much more than your competitors, and even then, do you just want staff who are solely focused on financial benefits?.

Often as the business owner, you are too close to things to be impartial on what benefits you offer.  So ask your staff (gulp).  This can be a great exercise and a great reminder to ensure you truly are offering the things you are hoping to put into your job description.

Rule Number 5. Write as you, professional, but with personality.

Just because a job description is technically correct doesn’t mean it isn’t clunky! Job candidates are looking for easy reasons to dismiss your company; don’t give them writing quality as an excuse.

Using obscure words and phrases is fine if you are looking for a highly technical position, but most job descriptions don’t need them; they are too confusing and can often be misinterpreted.

Our biggest success comes from writing the job description thinking about if we were telling a friend about the job.  It no longer becomes a “hard task”, but a casual conversation that just flows onto the page.  Do a first draft, leave it for a day and revisit it.  Adding some personality to your job description will instantly give people a feeling of what it would be like to work with you, making it easier to find your ideal candidates.

If you can’t prove why your company is worth working for, the right job candidates simply won’t apply. Your job description is the first insight someone has about your business, and first impressions matter.  Spend the time to nail your job description and your recruitment process will be much more fruitful.

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