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Tips for Writing a Job Description that Attracts More Qualified Candidates

Underperforming job posting? It may be time to reevaluate and rewrite. A well-written job description will help you attract the right candidates for your open position ultimately saving you time and money!

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Your job description is your first chance to connect with top talent, and we know that first impressions matter. With a little upfront effort, you can craft just the right job description to bring a wide range of highly talented candidates into your pipeline — and ensure you’re not turning off talent before they even apply.

When writing an effective job description, it is essential to find a balance between providing just enough detail, so candidates understand the role and who your company is, while keeping your description concise enough to keep the potential candidates' attention.

Use these tips below to create a compelling job listing.

Job Title

Make your job titles clear and specific. Indeed found in their 2020 survey that 36% of job seekers that use job sites search for a job using the title of the job they’re generally looking for. For example, if your company is looking to hire a Call Center Agent and advertise a position for a “Sales & Marketing Specialist,” you’ll likely attract the wrong people and miss out on truly qualified candidates.

Having trouble filling those “rockstar” roles? Trade those flashy job titles for job titles that are easily searchable and accurately describe the role. Non-traditional job titles like “Rockstar Engineer” or “Unicorn Designer,” might sound cool and seemingly set your company apart, but they’re ultimately unrealistic and potentially misleading. Not to mention, that’s probably not what your ideal candidate is searching for.

Responsibilities and Duties

Outline the core responsibilities

According to 62% of employers, the #1 challenge they faced when hiring was getting too many applications from unqualified candidates. Emphasizing the duties that may be unique to your organization will help bring in more qualified candidates. For example, if your company is looking to fill the role of “Administrative Assistant” and the position requires social media/marketing experience, including this detail will ensure candidates understand the requirements and can determine if they’re qualified for the role.

Highlight the day-to-day activities

Help potential candidates visualize a typical day at work. Break down the responsibilities into short, concise job duties. Rather than using a vague description (e.g. “You will be responsible for the Digital Marketing department, metric reporting, etc.”) describe specific responsibilities expected of this team member.

Responsibilities for Digital Marketing Manager

  • Develop strategies that drive customers to the website
  • Improve the design, UX, traffic, and content of the website
  • Use advanced metrics to measure the success of a marketing campaign

Specify how the position fits into the organization

It’s important to be clear about who the role reports to and how this person will function within your organization. If applicable, be sure to indicate if this role has any type of supervisory responsibility that is expected. By providing this information, candidates can see a bigger picture and understand how their potential new role can impact your company. 

Qualifications and Skills

Hard skills are teachable abilities or skill sets that are easy to quantify. Typically, these are learned in the classroom, training materials or certifications, or directly on the job with years of experience. Your job description should have a section that lists necessary “hard skill” requirements. This can include education, previous job experience, certifications, and technical skills.

However, soft skills are subjective skills that are much harder to quantify. Sometimes referred to as "people skills" or "interpersonal skills," soft skills are related to an individual's personality, people skills, and work ethic. Your job description may also include in the requirements that certain “soft skills'' are a must! For example, team-player, decision-making, problem-solving, time management, or critical thinker.

If you’re receiving more job applicants than you can adequately review, your job description may be misleading applicants about who you’re really looking for. Consider creating a must-have list stating the minimum qualifications required for the role.

Listing a specific salary or salary range

Salary or pay transparency is the practice of sharing your company’s compensation figures with others. This comes in two forms, partial pay transparency and full pay transparency.

The most common example of partial pay transparency is seeing a salary range listed within a job description. Full pay transparency is when a company decides to disclose exact compensation numbers for each employee at the organization. Typically, if companies opt for full pay transparency, they choose to keep this information visible internally.

Pay Transparency Laws

Since 2018, there have been 10 states and cities that have put pay transparency laws into place, the latest being Washington state, which will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2023.

Depending on where your company is located, it may be required by law that you must include a salary or salary range in the job description. The shift toward greater salary transparency has been a hot topic among advocates and legislators (and job seekers) in recent years.

While equal pay laws have existed in nearly every state for many years now, laws that require pay transparency are relatively new. This increased demand for transparency is a continued push towards pay equity. On average, women still only make 81% of what a man makes, and that gap is even wider for minority women. As a company looking to hire qualified talent, providing pay transparency will not only help with your recruiting process but will also help you retain your top talent as well.

Perks and Benefits

Now more than ever, job seekers are looking at the perks and benefits that are being offered by companies. Beyond standard benefits, what else are you offering to your employees? Highlighting your top benefits and perks will get potential candidates excited about your open role! Some unique perks worth exploring are unlimited PTO, gym memberships, a pet-friendly workplace, commuter benefits, and so much more!

Whether you’re hiring for one role or multiple roles within your organization, reevaluating your underperforming job description(s) can help your company overcome some of the most common hiring challenges. A well-written job description will help you attract the right candidates for your open position ultimately save you time and money! 

Ann Kielbasa

Email Marketing and Digital Marketing Specialist