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How to write a job description that attracts top talent

Updated: Mar 4, 2022

Writing a killer job posting is less of an art, and more like a formula. That’s good news because, well, anyone can learn how to write a job description that attracts top talent! All you need to get started is a clear vision of your ideal candidate, and a solid understanding of the outcomes you expect from them.

Let’s get started!

Job Title

Though this might seem like the simplest part of writing your job description, you might want to give the job title an extra bit of thought. After all, it is the very first thing that’s going to attract your superstar candidate to the job. A few quick tips to keep in mind:

  • Keep it short. Major job posting sites like LinkedIn and Indeed both say that job titles less than 80 characters get the most traffic.

  • Accuracy and simplicity are key. Call it what it is, no need to get cute or fancy. When a job title is accurate, people are more likely to find it in their search.

  • Be specific. If your job falls into a broader category, try to pull out their specific role for the title. For example, rather than “Customer Service Representative” opt for “Cashier” or “Merchandiser” instead.

Company description

This is your moment to brag a little. If you could summarize your company’s mission, accomplishments, and culture in one minute, what would you say? Write it down!

If you’re still stuck, here are some questions to get you started:

  • Why was your company created? What problem were the founders trying to solve?

  • What are the company’s highlights so far? What impact have you, as a team, made?

  • How would you describe the current employees? Driven? Passionate? Dutiful?

  • How does it feel to work at your company? Is there anything that makes your culture stand out from other workplaces?

Responsibilities & Duties

Now that you’ve got your creative ideas out in the company description, it’s time to get a little more technical. When writing your job summary, you want to keep it as clear and simple as possible. Bullet points are your best friend here.

Each point should be one specific task. Start with a verb (an action word) and fill in the rest with detail. If we use our Cashier example from above, a few tasks might be:

  • Keep register tidy and stocked with essential supplies

  • Issue the correct change due to customers

  • Handle customer complaints and feedback

Expected Outcomes

This section is optional, but gives candidates a very clear picture of what the internal expectations for the role are. Some employers like to organize this section into what their manager expects them to be able to do in the first three months, six months, and one year after being hired. This could include both hard and soft skills.

For example, perhaps in the first three months— generally the probationary period— candidates are expected to familiarize themselves with the software they’ll be using, complete training documents, or hit a certain measurable goal that’s applicable to their role.

Qualifications & Required Skills

You know how people make lists of ‘must-haves’ when trying to find the perfect partner? This is the job description version of that list. What skills or qualifications does your candidate absolutely need to have in order to be considered for the job? Often, this is where a certain level of education or certification falls, but it could also be specific technical abilities and personality traits.

Salary & Benefits

If your superstar candidate has made it this far into your job description, this is the part where you seal the deal! Good leaders know that employment is a two-way street, and we need to be the best fit for the candidate as well. What do you have to offer this amazing person? List ‘em here.

Still not sure what should be in this section? Here are some things you could include:

Culture-based incentives (flexible work hours, fully stocked snack fridge, monthly company outings, etc.)

How to Apply

Okay, your candidate’s ready to have a conversation about the role— now what? Make sure to include specific instructions about how to apply:

If they’re viewing your job description on a job search website, make sure to specify whether to apply via that site’s own application process, or through your own internal process.

If you’re posting on your own website, be sure to provide an email for them to send their cover letter and resume to, and what to title the message. (The latter will make it easier for you to organize your inbox.)

For every job, there is a perfect candidate. Someone who is qualified and believes in your company’s mission enough to want to contribute. Write your job description for them.

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