A great job description or job ad helps your potential candidates to learn more about your company and culture and how well it syncs with their individual skills, knowledge, abilities and personality. It is your chance as an employer to connect with potential candidates, first impressions really matter. Effective job descriptions are engaging and inclusive, they tell a story about the role and give a prospective employee a realistic view of a day in the life of a job, in turn, promoting the right people to apply. To write awesome job descriptions – ads that will attract the right candidates, keep these 6 Tips in mind:
Avoid using jargon or internal titles. Job ads that use industry standard titles are more likely to be searched for and seen by candidates.
Non-traditional job titles ( “Ninja Engineer” or “Rockstar Accountant”) are unrealistic and potentially discriminatory.
Effective job ads are relatable. Candidates tend to skim, so unnecessary jargon and confusing phrases will turn them off. Before publishing, double-check your description to ensure clarity and accuracy be a storyteller.
All job boards require a location for your role, the more specific the location information is the better. When candidates search for a specific suburb or town the jobs that include more specific location information are generally given priority over those that do not. Generally, if you include a suburb your job will be visible to candidates who search for neighbouring locations.
Candidates prefer to know the salary on offer, while all job boards require salary information you can choose not to display this information, statistically, jobs that display competitive salary information receive more applications than those that do not. If a candidate chooses to filter by salary range on a job board, largely the filter will use the salary supplied regardless of whether you have chosen to display it or not.
The about the company section is your chance to offer candidates a realistic view of your company culture. Be genuine, describe the values that drive your business and people successes and keep your message consistent. Don’t just copy paste your website about us, take the time to really give candidates the opportunity to get a feel for your business. Consider including some or all of the following;
- Core values of your business and team
- The names of the founders
- What was their vision when they started the business
- Has the vision evolved over time
- How has the business grown over time
- What are the primary activities of the business
- What are your primary services or products
- What is the structure of the company (private, public, partnership …)
- How many employees
- How happy are they
- Is the business profitable
- How does the business view their employees (family, tribe, contributors, colaborative team, partners)
- How does the business show they value their employees
- In what locations does the business operate in (local, regional, state, global)
- Short term and longer term goals
- Any valuable industry information what gives your business an edge
- Health and safety policy
- Media recognition
- Innovations you are proud of
This section helps your candidate to visualise a typical day at work. Break responsibilities into short, clear and engaging points. If you are not excited reading this section, your candidate will most likely skip to the next job ad. Candidates want to know what makes the role special. Use ‘action verbs’ and short sentences. Remember the best candidates are often already employed or will have offers coming in fast. Candidates need compelling reasons to leave their current workplaces or choose your job over others.
Try to walk a person into your business environment.
- What does the physical work environment look like?
- Who will they be working with?
- Who do they report to (manager)?
- What is special about them?
- How will they be welcomed?
- What is expected?
- How does your candidate get to work?
- What facilities are available?
- What is the dress code?
- Is there parking for staff?
- Do you have views?
- Where will they have lunch?
- Are you in a great area close to awesome food?
- How does the business support successful outcomes?
This Section should clearly map out the bulk of the duties of the job and clearly articulate the most valuable skills, knowledge, and experiences at the top of the list. If this is an entry-level role, be realistic and seek out soft skills/attitude over depth of knowledge, experience. Personality traits and the ability to learn quickly become far more important here.
- Use short sharp dot points
- Do not overload
Without these knowledge, skills, abilities, and traits the candidate could not perform the role successfully (Max 5 to 6 points)
List points from most important to least important.
- Must haves should be weighted highest when assessing candidate suitability.
- These points are the basis for your subsequent interview questions.
- Do not put more than one point on a line.
- Check and double check this is a must-have.
- Use action verbs in the points where possible
These are knowledge, skills, abilities and traits that you may prefer to train for. They are a bonus and not showstoppers if the candidate does not possess them.
Again list points most valuable to least
- No more than 5 to 6 points
- These points may offer an opportunity at interview to deep dive on how the candidate approaches learning and problem-solving.
This is the place to sell the job, explain why the candidate should take action and apply.
Include intrinsic rewards such as;
- How the business inspires a sense of meaningful purpose
- How the business promotes a sense of choice
- How the business develops a sense of competence
- How the business develops a sense of progress
Include extrinsic rewards such as;
- Competitive or above market salary
- Employee bonus system
- Provision of resources such as a mobile phone or a car
- Employee share scheme
- Employee discount scheme
- Provision of meals or snack baskets
- Employee health program
- The company pay for training and development
- Additional annual leave or special leave entitlements
- Special payments
Spell out the application process, detail everything from when they first apply until your ideal candidate receives an offer to be hired, showcase your process. Great candidates will jump on opportunities that have shorter and more efficient time to hire.
- Is there an estimated start date
- When can the candidate expect a reply
- What are the next steps
- How many interviews
- What is your screening process
- Is there any pre-employment testing
In summary, using simple language and a clear structure will help candidates to understand your role. Using bold sub-headings break your content into clear themes, assisting candidates to scan your job ad on any screen size. Remember to trim superfluous words to make a punchy and meaningful impact.
Anthony Goodwin is a founder, entrepreneur, consultant, data scientist and coach with 25+ years of experience in business management, recruitment, and human resources. He holds a bachelor of business management – human resource management and postgraduate qualifications in data science.