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How to Write a Good Job Description

How to Write a Good Job Description
Writing the perfect job description is the first step to attracting the perfect candidate. / Credit: Job listing image via Shutterstock

Are you having trouble filling that open position at your company, even though you've got everything a candidate could want in an employer? The problem may not be you: It's probably your job description.

"Recruiting is a selling process, and people have options," said Adam Robinson, CEO of applicant tracking system Hireology. "You need to have a job description that's built for the audience that's consuming it. Look at the description as a marketing opportunity."

Companies sometimes miss out on some of the best job candidates because the job description isn't engaging enough, Robinson said. If the description is boring, the candidate will view that as a reflection of the company. Another common issue is a flood of unqualified applicants because of an overly broad job description.

"When companies experience an overabundance of candidates for a certain role, it's probably because the description is way too broad," he told Business News Daily. "If you're getting the 'wrong' candidates, test the language of your job description. It will cut down the workload [for you] is people know from the description whether the job is a good fit."

Robinson shared the following tips for crafting a compelling job description that finds the right balance between too vague and too specific. [Marketing Tactics to Recruit the Best Candidates]

  • Start off strong. Grab candidates' attention with a catchy opening sentence that will stand out among a sea of job listings. You may want to discuss the company culture or work environment in your opening.
  • Use bullet points. Job seekers, especially of Generation Y, are generally scanning job descriptions quickly. Use succinct bullet points to outline the job responsibilities and requirements. This will increase the likelihood of candidates investing time in reading it.
  • Show, don't tell. It's one thing to say your company culture is great, it's another to show it in action. If possible, add pictures to your "careers" section of your website to show off your work environment and the people in your company. These photos can be of industry, social and volunteer events, or just the day-to-day activities in the office.
  • Make your title SEO-friendly. Some companies think that a catchy, unique job title, such as "director of first impressions" for "receptionist," will get candidates interested in the position. While this may be true, people won't apply for the job if they can't even find it in the first place. Do some research on major job listing sites for popular titles of similar positions, and then name your position accordingly so search engines will properly index and display it.

When it comes to posting your job description, make sure you're putting it in the right places so candidates can find it.

"Have a strategy and understand your best sources of candidates," Robinson said. "Large job boards are a good place to start. Social media is also a great way to reinforce your company brand and get wide distribution. Talk about jobs and opportunities on Facebook and Twitter — if it's done the right way, it will get people to apply."

Originally published on Business News Daily.

Nicole Fallon

Nicole received her Bachelor's degree in Media, Culture and Communication from New York University. She began freelancing for Business News Daily in 2010 and joined the team as a staff writer three years later. Nicole served as the site's managing editor until January 2018, and briefly ran Business.com's copy and production team. Follow her on Twitter.