Running Your Business

How to Write a Job Description That Will Attract the Right Candidates

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Posted by January 19, 2017

Many business leaders struggle with how to write a job description that will attract the very best candidates. In addition to providing clear and concise information about the job itself, a description must accurately depict the desired candidate qualities, the corporate culture, compensation and the available opportunities for professional growth within the company. When done well, a job description will bring in the right applicants; when done incorrectly, it can create major headaches for hiring managers.

If you’re dissatisfied with your job descriptions, you’re not alone. According to a recent report, 97 percent of HR managers believe that accurate job descriptions are vital when recruiting, yet only half said that they thought their job descriptions were adequate. If you want to create stellar job descriptions that will attract top-notch candidates, follow this simple six-step process.

Crafting the Perfect Job Description

There is an easy formula for how to write a job description that attracts the right applicants, stands out among the competition and sets clear expectations. This time-tested approach can be used for any job in any industry and will result in more closely matched candidates.

1. Determine the Main Objective of the Job

When writing a job description, it’s best to take a direct, straightforward approach. Consult with the supervisor or department manager about what the job requires, the tasks the role performs and the primary objectives of the job. Then create a one-sentence objective statement. For example, for a job description for an entry-level sales position, the main objective statement might look like this:

“Polished sales professional with above-average interpersonal skills wanted for a career-building opportunity to learn while earning a competitive salary and benefits.”

2. Create the List of Duties and Responsibilities

Each job has a unique set of duties, tasks and responsibilities. These form the core of the job description and they must be outlined clearly to avoid any misconceptions. Start with the responsibilities, then the duties, then the tasks that the future employee will be expected to perform. Use a bulleted list to make it easy to read.

3. List the Skills and Competencies of the Ideal Candidate

Take the time to develop a clear picture of the type of candidate you are looking to hire. Then write a bulleted list of the skills, competencies and personality traits that your ideal candidate will possess. For example, for the entry-level sales job description, your list might look something like this:

  • Familiar with the use of Salesforce client management system.
  • Comfortable making cold calls to prospects.
  • Outgoing personality with the ability to relate well to others.
  • Driven by goals and focused on meeting and exceeding targets.
  • Flexible and adaptable with the ability to deal with challenging clients and situations.
  • Must possess a four-year college degree.
  • No previous sales experience required; full training provided.

4. Include Compensation and Company and Job-Related Information

The job description should conclude with a brief paragraph detailing the salary and benefits package. Include a statement about the company culture and what makes this opportunity unique, along with information about your diversity initiatives. Make this section count, because it is what will intrigue the ideal candidate and convince them to take the time to apply.

5. Use a Powerful Job Title

The smartest marketers understand how impactful a well-written title can be. A great title grabs the attention of the right candidates and reels them in to learn more about the company. Some might argue that this should be the first step when writing a job description, but it’s better to wait until the end; once you’ve crafted the job description itself, your understanding of the job will be clearer and sharper. Avoid internal job titles. Instead, choose a job title that is commonly searched for to help job seekers find your listing. Use this helpful list of common job titles to get started.

6. Last Step: How to Apply

Once you have completed your job description, you are ready to use this information to create job advertisements. Provide clear instructions for candidates on where and how to apply for this job and whether you require a resume and cover letter. If you’ve done your job well, the best candidates will apply for the job in a short period of time, and you will be hiring a great new employee.

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