How to write better job descriptions to attract top talent
Hiring 3 minute read

How to write better job descriptions to attract top talent

Megan Orr | November 4, 2021

Knowing how to write better job descriptions than your competitors is half the battle in the war for talent. Learn what you might be missing out on in your job descriptions and how you can recruit top candidates with every job posting.

Indeed describes job descriptions as not only summarizing “the essential responsibilities, activities, qualifications and skills for a role”, but also “where you start marketing your company and your job to your future hire”. Job descriptions should be clear and concise, but also provide enough information to give an accurate picture of what the role and working for your company is like. 

While you can use a general template for job postings, job descriptions should always be unique for each individual role. 

Think about your ideal candidate and ask yourself which key characteristics can be taught, and which can’t. Those sorts of indefinable but unique capabilities are what you should try to define in order to write better job descriptions. 

Candidates should be able to determine if they are qualified for the role, but also if they want the role based on your job description.  

Here are some key aspects to include in your job descriptions:

  • The job title and department. You may have several “project managers” across your organization, so it’s important to include the department as well so you have applicants applying for only the roles they’re qualified for. 
  • The seniority level. List if this role is entry, mid, senior, or executive level.
  • Who they will be reporting to and who will be reporting to them. This gives candidates an idea of the responsibility and accountability level of the role. 
  • The job duties. This includes any key requirements and competencies, as well as general or specific knowledge. 
  • The working conditions. Working from home? Labour is primarily outside? Need to be able to stand for long periods? Include anything relevant to the role, as well as the actual location if the employee will be working in-person or if they need to be in a specific time zone. A survey found that “80% of job seekers in Canada rated work environment details as key information”.
  • A brief description of the company culture. According to a survey, “75% of job seekers in Canada rated a brief company description as important information to see in a job description”.

The Harvard Business Review has several tips to write better job descriptions:

  • You don’t want to discourage good candidates from applying, so make sure that you “don’t overinflate the qualifications for the role”. 
  • To reveal any blind spots in your descriptions, share the job description “with a diverse group of colleagues” before posting. 
  • Incorporate language that aligns with your company values. 

Overall, in order to write better job descriptions, it’s important to have the potential employee in mind. What do they need to know if they’re going to be a successful applicant and a good fit for your company? Include key details, but also be sure to include why they should want to work with you. 

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