With over 5,000 job descriptions written over 20+ years, at Prosperity Recruitment we know a thing or two about the fine art of crafting great job descriptions.
Job descriptions are generally overlooked by a lot of companies. Writing them is an afterthought in the hiring process, and it’s taken as a second-rate task given to someone who might do it half-heartedly. A job description in fact represents the first point of contact with the candidates - your future employee - so it’s important to take it seriously as it’s them who will eventually take the company to the next level.
Recruitment is an incremental game, not an exponential one. Everything you do well will add up to your desired end result. Job descriptions done well can make a huge difference in the long term, so the sooner you apply best practices, the better.
- Job Descriptions: Do's and Don'ts
- 12 Templates:
- Head of Marketing
- Product Marketing Manager
- Digital Marketing Manager
- Data Analyst
- CRM Manager
- Sales Manager
- SEO Manager
- PPC Manager
- Social Media Manager
- Content Marketing Manager
- Email Marketing Manager
- Customer Success Manager
If you use fancy titles you might miss candidates who don’t feel the title represents their skills or where they actually want to go next. It also has SEO implications, as offers are available for public index (more on that below).
A good intro should generally be short but powerful. You should state the company vision, and how the person filling the role will help achieve that vision. Be aware that your company is looking for talent in an extremely competitive environment.
Think about the main reason why your company might be exciting for candidates (benefits, culture, innovation, career development, diversity, 4-day week, remote, young...you name it). Candidates don’t owe you their attention, so sound promising and attractive while keeping it real.
Along with the “skills” section, this is probably the most important section of any job description. Candidates will probably scan the job offer until they get to this point.
They will analyze the responsibilities needed for the role and try to understand if they are capable of doing them. You should put yourself in the position of the candidate reading it, and try to make a list of responsibilities that are clear and specific.
You should also help them understand what’s absolutely mandatory for the position in the first two or three responsibilities.
The skills should relate closely to responsibilities. What skills do candidates need to be successful in the responsibilities they have? You should be listing here a set of skills that make sense looking at the responsibilities you are asking candidates to have.
It’s usually the case that employers name-drop every skill they can in that section. That might put off otherwise perfectly valid candidates that might feel “imposter syndrome” and think they’re not up to the task.
You should be realistic and not seek out a candidate that can master each and every tool in the market, with a lot of seniority - just the ones that will allow the person to successfully carry out their duties.
Make sure your offers can be traced to someone in your organization. Sometimes offers are published on many different job boards. If there are no contact details candidates can get confused as to who exactly will review their applications.
It’s best practice across the board to make your offer traceable by adding the contact details of the person in charge of the recruitment process, and the company details.
Writing & Tone of Voice
This part is often overlooked. Companies tend to hide under the tone of professionalism, thus making all offers sound the same. Each company has its own values and character, try to make it surface in the intro of your offer.
You can even experiment with using the first person, when the person doing the recruiting is confident enough to be speaking directly to the public. First person plural is fine, but you should still try to highlight the tone that defines your company and culture.
SEO best practices
It’s often overlooked that most job offers are included in the public index. As a result, they are inspected by crawlers and subjected to the laws of SEO. Google tries to organize the web based on hundreds of different criteria.
One of the most important things to concentrate on is keywords. Bots will inspect your job offer and then return results to queries based on them. Beware with adding job titles for roles that are commonly used differently by candidates.
Job Descriptions: Do’s and don’ts
Company Branding. Job descriptions are usually seen on job boards rather than company pages. Unless you are a massive brand, your job offers will get more exposure on third party websites than your own. Think of them as an extension of your Employer Branding efforts. Don’t forget to add a good quality logo, your website, an email, and a person of contact.
Goals. Why are you hiring? What specifically does the person you want to hire need to achieve? What resources will that person have to do it? All these should be answered clearly in the job description. Be as specific as you can.
Responsibilities & Skills. Job descriptions sometimes become a long list, which responsibilities and skills that don’t fit any actual person on Earth, let alone someone looking for a job. Be realistic about the most important stuff, and think about the few skills that are non-negotiable for you, additional R&S you can add as “desirable” or “good to have”.
Transparency. State a salary range upfront, get this out of the way soon. It will save you and the candidates a lot of headaches. It will help the interviewing process go smoothly.
Leadership. Every boat needs a captain. Use the job description to explain how your team is structured, who leads and how the new hire will fit in the new structure. The idea is to help candidates picture themselves in your company just by reading the job description.
CTA. The Call to Action. Nowadays all job boards include the “apply” button, which is effectively the actual CTA for candidates. Best practice is to set a time-window to apply, give a sense of urgency so candidates take the action on the spot.
Misleading titles. Don’t overcomplicate things with job titles. It’s better to play it safe than create new titles that won’t be understood by your target audience. We get it, you are trying to express everything the job entails in just the title, but that might not be what is needed to catch the attention of candidates.
Jargon. No one remember “ninjas” any more, but back in the day words like “ninja” or “guru” were all the rage, and candidates got fed up of them. Now there might be others, don’t try to jump too quickly in the cool-company bandwagon because it can backfire. Being informal is great, but make sure the words you use reflect the character of your company.
Perfection. There’s a tendency we see in job descriptions to set the bar too high. This also happens with junior positions, when sometimes candidates are asked to have a few years' experience, master 6 or 7 skills, speak 3 languages and somehow set the strategy. The job search game is about finding someone who can meet your needs and also grow into the role, not be perfect from the outset.
Too informal. It's good to keep things casual, to a certain extent. If all the prospective candidate reads is what a great a time they’ll have in your company, that’ll be a red flag for most of them - “when do they get the work done in that company?”. At the end of the day, what the majority of candidates are looking for a good deal: I carry on pursuing my career progression and I help you achieve the company’s goals.
Blocks of text. No one likes to read big blocks of text. Overlong paragraphs should be seen as friction. With job descriptions, you want to make it easy for the candidates to scan quickly through it. In the same way you’ll spend no more than 7 seconds per each CV, candidates won’t grant you 10 minutes to read your job descriptions just because “it’s you”. Think about their time too.