Major job boards like Indeed, LinkedIn Jobs, and Glassdoor have millions of job postings available worldwide. However, job descriptions are sometimes unclear and raise more questions than answers. This article covers the key features that make a job posting readable and attention-grabbing so candidates hit "Apply."
When management defines a vacancy, a recruiter should adequately describe the role. A clear job description is an essential part of filling a position. Composing a great description might be time-consuming, but using a template can make this task faster, easier, and more efficient.
Understanding the Job Description
A well-composed job description clearly outlines a position's requirements, the employer's expectations, and the skills desired in a potential candidate. In other words, a job description should be a detailed advertisement for the job. However, employers often ignore the job description's power to entice the right candidates. By following the tips in this article, you can write a job description that gets noticed by your perfect candidates.
The Components of a Job Description
A position summary describes what would make a worker successful in this role. Effective writing encourages candidates to evaluate their skills and apply for a position. The description might also provide a company mission, benefits, and salary in some cases.
Here is an effective outline for a job description:
- Job title
- Brief company description
- Summary of the job description
- Professional skills
- Compensation and bonuses
The best job descriptions are between 300 and 650 words. This size works best for search engines and will perform well on most job boards.
Companies tend to standardize job postings, so it is worth investing the time to create a template for further postings. Templates will help you more efficiently create postings in the future.
Things to Mention in Each JD (Job Description)
There are two main parts of an excellent job description. The first is a clear structure that makes the JD logical and easy to navigate. The second part is great integration with search engines.
Size: Four words, on average
Writing Strategy: A job title should be concise, embracing the scope and purpose of the position. Titles that are too long can be confusing, so keep them short and in line with typical titles in your industry. For example, instead of "Level 1 Manual Tester," try "Junior Manual QA." The most effective titles use simple words without professional jargon. Moreover, simple titles improve search engine optimization.
Brief Company Description
Size: One paragraph
Writing Strategy: Highlight your company's perks via a short presentation of the company's mission and culture. Try to mention something that makes your company unique to help your posting stand out.
You should mention the size of the company, its location, and some points about the company's culture. Your goal is to paint a picture of the company for potential candidates. Remember to mention the job title and refer to the open position.
Job Description Summary
Size: One paragraph, between three and four sentences
Writing Strategy: Include a high-level overview of the role and the expected work scope. You may also briefly mention the location, career opportunities, and daily responsibilities.
Size: List the top 10 responsibilities
- Start by brainstorming all responsibilities for this position.
- Choose the ten most important responsibilities.
- Create a bulleted list with these responsibilities from the most to the least important.
Examples of possible points to include:
- Daily tasks typical for the position
- Training opportunities
- Opportunities for professional growth
When listing responsibilities, try to look at the vacancy from the candidate's point of view. Make your points clear, brief, and easy to understand.
Size: a concise bullet list
Writing Strategy: This section should include all the hard and soft skills an ideal candidate should possess. You may also include information on an ideal candidate's education, years of experience, sphere of expertise, and even some character traits.
You should describe the required technical skills and define the necessary level of expertise. When writing this section, consider the four levels of knowledge: working, general, thorough, and comprehensive knowledge. Working knowledge is necessary for all roles, while professionals in senior-level roles will need comprehensive knowledge.
When you have a list of well-defined skills, split them between must-haves and nice-to-haves. The must-haves are requirements for hiring, while the nice-to-have skills can be taught on the job.
Compensation and Bonuses
Including compensation and bonuses in a job description is controversial. Companies are not always eager to publicly share their salary ranges. At the same time, candidates appreciate this information when choosing where to apply. Only some candidates are financially able to join a fascinating project for low pay. Announcing salary ranges can save everyone time by attracting candidates willing to take a pay hit to gain experience. On the other hand, a competitive salary will interest many people and create a large pool of strong candidates.
Some possible benefits a company may offer include: medical insurance, paid time off, sick leave and family leave, flexible working hours, free food or coffee, and tuition reimbursement. Some companies also offer stock options or retirement benefits such as 401(k) matching.
Recruiters are free to add any other vacancy-related information as long as it is brief and concise. For example, you may want to add details about the work environment, location, or team.
The Top Job Description Mistakes
To catch the attention of skilled candidates, ensure your description is readable, specific, and straightforward. Avoid rushing to post the job vacancy. Instead, take a break after writing the job description, and come back to revise it with fresh eyes.
Here are some other mistakes to keep in mind:
1. Solid Blocks of Text
Avoid large blocks of text with no separation. Give your posting structure with paragraphs and bullet points, making it easy to scan for key points.
2. Blurry Role Responsibilities
When reading the description, a person should understand the responsibilities of a role and get a clear idea of what it is like to do the job. Specify how the employee will do the work. For example, instead of "manual testing of an application," try "manual testing of a web application, finding and reporting bugs via a range of testing tools."
3. Jargon or Slang
Make the language inclusive and understandable for everyone. Too much insider language may force good candidates to skip the job posting. Jargon or slang expressions are false friends that create an image of pseudo-professionalism. In reality, applicants receive these words poorly, and you might look unprofessional, negatively impacting your company's overall appearance.
4. Sensitive Language
According to a statement by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, employers should remove all language referring to marital status, religion, age, or gender from a job description.
The process of writing a strong vacancy description takes more than five minutes. It requires a thoughtful approach that considers all the responsibilities and requirements. Before making a post, a recruiter should revise it for grammar, spelling, and redundancy. Keeping your job description well-tailored and brief is the key to recruitment success.