Most job descriptions aren’t very good. They’re boring, generic and read like every other on the web. What they should do is give the potential recruit a sense of what they’ll be working on and help visualise what their day to day might entail. This is, in many cases, the first time a candidate will be interacting with your brand, make those first impressions count.
Before diving into a new draft keep the following in mind:
Bin the buzzwords. Most potential candidates will scan read a job description, don’t make them pick through ‘wizards’ and ‘ninjas’ to work out you’re after a Marketing Manager.
Only say something is essential if it absolutely is. For example, saying you must have 5+ years of experience will put off those exceptionally talented with less experience.
Don’t copy and paste someone else’s job description to the letter - you’re better than that.
Keep them short (ish)
The tone should be chatty and friendly. Avoid slipping into corporate speak.
How to build the perfect job description.
It wouldn’t be helpful to hand you a set of ‘good’ job descriptions because it would be all too tempting to copy and take them as your own. You have to work on building an authentic tone of voice, and that starts with a blank page.
Here’s a guide of how to structure your job description, but remember, the personality and charm has to come from you.
To start with, make sure the juicy stuff is at the top: job title, location, salary. These initially grab the attention of relevant candidates, so this is a good place to start.
You can then break it down into 4 key sections: about us, about the job, about them and career opportunities.
- About your company
It’s time to sell the dream. What do you do? How did you start? What progress have you made to date? What’s the big vision? Craft a story that paints a picture of the business. Make sure you throw in any funding news, awards, notable clients and any other milestones.
Start with something simple based on what you think candidates will want to know. Make a draft and then ask for feedback from others. If you have a team, make sure you collaborate. Different viewpoints will help you craft something compelling and consistent.
- About the job
In this section, you want to cover off a couple of things.
What will they be responsible for and why is it important to the business?
What does a typical day look like?
This doesn’t need to be exhaustive, but should give an insight into the type of stuff they will be doing, the teams they will be working with and how this sits with the business. Break responsibilities into short, clear job duties.
It’s also important not to glamorise the role. If a position requires you to make a large number of cold calls every day, it’s best to be upfront about that. While you might get fewer applicants, the candidates who aren’t deterred by this are more likely to be the type of people you want.
- About them
Keep this section relatively short and try and inject some personality. Leave out the trivial stuff like ‘must be smart and engaging’ or ‘has a strong academic record’ If it isn’t absolutely essential, don’t list it. This is a great opportunity to give a little taster of the type of people that get hired and give an insight into your culture.
- Career progression
Forget the ping pong tables and free beer, candidates care less about this these days. They care about career prospects. ‘If I take this job will it get me to the next rung on the ladder in 2-3 years’ is what they are thinking. If there are lots of opportunities internally, tell them. If they are going to have to look elsewhere for progression tell them that the exposure to x,y,z will take them to the next step.
Job descriptions can be a pain to write, but following this structure will set you well on your way to writing a great one.
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