HR Tips: How to Write a Job Description


Recruiting and hiring new employees is a process that’s full of hard work. In comparison to interviews, job offers, and onboarding, writing a job description and posting may seem trivial and straightforward. But it’s harder than you think: a poorly written job posting can attract unqualified applicants and drive well-suited candidates away. Here are some expert HR tips on how to write a job description and posting that actually makes recruitment easier.

It may sound absurdly obvious, but in order to fill a position, you need to know what position you’re filling. A job description is an internal tool that allows everyone involved to know exactly what the position entails, and what a candidate will need to qualify for it. If the position already exists, the person leaving it or the people who work closely with the position are great assets to consult when writing an accurate description. If the position is brand new, talk with the people who are going to have work relationships with the new employee to determine what is most needed. Once you have a thorough job description, it’s time to start writing the applicant-facing part: the posting.

Keep it Concise

In the past few years, mobile job search has become vital to a job seeker’s search for employment. In countries across the globe, more than 50% of all job searches originate from a mobile device, and it’s only getting more popular. Keeping everything tight has always been a job posting best practice, but in the era of on-the-go job seekers, it’s more important than ever.

Job titles should be short and generic so that potential applicants have at least some understanding of the position immediately. Job summaries should also strive for brevity — pick the top requirements and expectations and describe them in just a few sentences. In these first few sections, the candidate is wondering whether the posting is relevant, so make that information easy to find.

Be Specific and Accurate

The key to a great job posting is maintaining balance, and being too brief can also work against you. Don’t be so careful with your words that you leave out important details or misrepresent the position. Required skills, competencies, and job responsibilities should paint as clear a picture as possible of what a typical day looks like without exaggeration or sugarcoating. Using specific language can turn your job posting into a tool that allows unqualified candidates to self-select out of your recruitment process, saving valuable time.


Stay Realistic

On that same note, don’t inflate the difficulty or complexity of the position in the hopes of finding the cream of the crop. Requiring an advanced degree or years of experience for an entry-level position sets you up for failure, as qualified candidates who don’t meet the requirements may be discouraged from applying, and those who do may not be interested. In addition, inflating requirements could deter a disproportionate number of women applicants, as they are less likely to apply for jobs for which they do not meet 100% of the requirements.

Define Success

If you’ve followed our advice through the logistical sections so far, you’ve created most of a job listing that will draw in qualified candidates. All that’s left to do before posting is to sell the position to your ideal applicants. Simple, right? Once a candidate has determined whether or not a job posting is relevant to them and if they meet the requirements, they’re looking for a reason to work for your company.

A must-have element in your job posting that helps job seekers define success is forthright discussion of salary and compensation. Rather than committing to a single number, determine a salary range that will give candidates an idea of what to expect. This gives both them and you some room to negotiate to a figure that works for both parties.

In addition, your posting may benefit from discussing success and unique opportunities within the company. For instance, if your company offers learning experiences, a unique environment, or a great benefits package, advertising them can attract candidates that are good cultural fits as well as qualified.

Writing a job description and posting may seem straightforward, but being strategic and doing it well can bring in better candidates and cut down on your time to hire. Once you’ve finished your job posting, pat yourself on the back! You’re ready to face the next challenges of the recruitment process.

Here at HR Collaborative, we use our recruitment expertise to help our clients find the right people for their companies. Check out one of our case studies to learn more about how we recruited and trained great new employees for a business on the rise:

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