Developing the skills to write a great job description can be an extremely slow process. Take a look at some of these tips to get a quick refresher if you haven’t had the luxury of years of practice:
Do not try to make your job listing seem like anything other than it is. Doing so just sets your HR team up to receive a number of resumes that aren’t what you are looking for, or disappointing a number of candidates that aren’t the right fit. Instead, let the individual know about the ups and downs of the position without being overly emphatic about the negative aspects. For example “creative work environment that is far from public transit; personal transportation a must!” is honest, but still talking up the great company that individuals may have the potential to work for.
A number of applicants will click on your job description just because of the title. Make sure that your job listing is representative of and attractive to the type of individual you would want to hire. For example, many creative individuals would be more enticed by “Fast-Paced Media Consultant that Talks in Tweets” than “Twitter Expert.” Have fun writing the job description, and people will have fun reading it--and hopefully apply or forward it to their more qualified friends.
If you state that you are looking for an expert in a certain demographic, make sure you are realistic about what level of “expert” you are looking for. If you really need someone who has been working for 5-7 years in a certain office environment, include it in your requirements rather than your “nice to haves.” This means being realistic with yourself as well as with your audience of potential employees, and truly evaluating what the needs of your company are versus its desires.
By writing clearly you make sure that there will be no potential miscommunications or misunderstandings with individuals perusing the want ads. Clarity can include using simply structured sentences, bullet-points, or even just formatting your job listing in an easy-to-read way. Don’t use industry jargon unless it is absolutely necessary, and make sure that your sentences are written without any regional slang--you don’t want to miss out on a great candidate just because they didn’t understand what you were saying!
Be True to Your Culture
As much as we can say to write creatively and separate your requirements from your “nice to haves”, for some companies that can be really difficult. Some companies don’t have those kinds of separate distinctions. If that doesn’t describe your company, then write the article in a way that does. The individuals that you are hiring will be, most likely, more attracted to your company’s unique culture than to the pay rate, so make sure you’re clear about whether you’re lax about ping-pong in the break room, or whether it’s a straight 9 to 4 shift through the day without much of a structured break. These will be important to your potential hires, and will help them be more acclimated to the company if they do get hired.
Make use of short sentences and action verbs. You only have a short amount of time to make your point heard and understood, and writing long convoluted descriptions can quickly lose an audience. Keep each section of the job description to 4-6 bullet points to make it easier to consume and remember. You shouldn’t be giving everything about your company away, after all, just whetting the potential hire’s appetite for more information.