Got an exciting job opening at your company, but struggling to come up with a description that will also excite potential job candidates? Creating a good job description that engages and appeals to candidates can be difficult, especially when recruiters are focused on their own needs for a position and don’t always think about what job searchers would like to know about the job that they are applying for. As a recruiter, explaining your own needs for a position is important but you should also focus on what really matter to job searchers.
Here are some tips for creating a good job description so you get the most out of a job posting. The way you format and layout the job description will entice potential candidates to read your posting and including the right details will get them excited about applying.
Format and Layout
When thinking about how to layout your job description, there are more options than the common one column, black text on white background standard. Hiring for a creative position means that you have even more freedom to play with format and layout. Potential candidates in creative fields will appreciate a creative approach to the layout of job descriptions.
A page containing only text and no images or videos is rarely a page that anyone wants to read in any context. Adding some images will keep potential candidates interested and less likely to abandon your job description halfway through.
- Include a catchy header image or video, or an image of the office or building where your company is located. Also, consider a picture of the recruiter or the employee that the new hire will be working under, or some splashy graphics.
- Another option is to include a chart showing the organizational structure of your company. It’s usually a good idea to include some indication of your company structure. Formatting this visually is much more appealing to read than a list of employees and titles.
Think of it as an Advertisement
The goal of a good job description is to convince potential candidates to click the call to action and apply. An eye-catching header will grab candidates’ attention and headers throughout the post will keep them engaged. Highlight your call to action buttons and make it very clear where and how applications should be submitted.
- Change up your use of spacing and columns to make the description look less dull and more interesting to potential candidates. Break up the text with white space for more readability. Using columns makes the page look neater, and will make you stand out, as job descriptions commonly use one column.
- You can also be creative with the background to an extent. Black text on a white background is the most readable combination but using different colour combinations for headers and call to action buttons can make them stand out.
Details to Include
Skills and Qualifications
Before you begin writing the description, make a list of the skills and qualifications that the ideal candidate for the job would have.
- Not every applicant will have all the skills and qualifications listed in the job description. Having an idea of the ones that are important for the position will help weed out candidates.
- Keep in mind that new hires can also be trained and learn new skills. Just because they don’t have a skill when they apply doesn’t mean they can’t gain that skill in the future.
- Separate the must-have skills from the nice-to-have skills. Prioritizing certain skills will increase the applicant pool as potential candidates will apply even if they don’t have all the skills on your nice-to-have list. This will also help you weed out candidates who might not have one or more of the skills on your must-have list.
Include a relevant and specific job title. The title should be specific enough that potential candidates are clear on the role of the position within the company and the kind of work completed within the role.
- Try to imitate the language that potential candidates use when searching for certain positions. Do some keyword research to find out what words potential candidates use when searching for jobs similar to the one you are creating a description for.
- Also, try searching for similar jobs yourself to see which words are being used in job titles.
Duties and Responsibilities
List the duties and responsibilities that the position will entail. One way to frame this is as a typical workday, or a day in the life. List the tasks and duties that the applicant will perform on a regular basis.
- Be specific about the position’s responsibilities and breaking down tasks by importance and time allocated. A good job description is specific enough that candidates can imagine themselves completing responsibilities and tasks.
Describe the work culture at your company. Potential job candidates need to get to know your company as much as you need to get to know them. Candidates should know as much as possible about your company so they are certain they want to join it.
- It’s important to make sure candidates want to work for you and that they are a good fit for your company culture. Describe whether your company promotes teamwork and collaboration or whether your work is predominantly individual work, for example, or how your team relaxes after finishing an important project or meeting a big deadline.
Include some details about what makes your company and this particular position special. This will also help potential candidates know if they want to work for you and will get them excited to apply.
- Part of this overlaps with company culture, so if there is something really unique about the way your company gets work done, highlight that!
- Describe the benefits that you can offer employees, especially if they are better than competitors in your industry. You can also highlight benefits such as a competitive salary or healthcare benefits. This will help you attract applicants.
Instead of stating that salary is based on experience, try to include a range that is fair based on the responsibilities of the job.
- Indicate that salary is negotiable, so if candidates have more experience than you are looking for, for example, they can expect the higher end of the range or that they can negotiate as needed.
- Also, make sure that the salary range you offer is fair. If you offer an intermediate level salary for a senior position, for example, you will receive fewer applicants.
Candidates should know what to expect after they apply. Be clear about whether you will contact applicants by email, phone call, or some other method. It’s also a good idea to tell applicants whether they will only be contacted if you choose to interview them. Candidates that know how they will hear from you will be more motivated to apply.
A couple other tips:
- If you have any awards for being a good employer, highlight that as well! You can show potential candidates that your company cares about its employees and that you have been recognized for this.
- Address potential candidates as “you” and refrain from referring to “we” or “us” as much as possible. For example, instead of stating “our company culture prioritizes teamwork,” try “you will be working in an environment that prioritizes teamwork.”
Creating a good job description can be difficult but putting time and effort into making sure potential candidates get to know you and your company, as well as getting them excited about applying for a job at your company, will pay off in the number of applicants that you receive and the enthusiasm of applicants. You’ll attract better candidates because people will be excited to apply and work for your company.
Once you’ve hired the perfect candidate for your job opening, check out our tips for being a great project manager to maintain your relationship with your new employee and all your employees!