How to write a great job description
A quality job description is the first step to landing your next great hire. Writing a job description is your opportunity to highlight basic information about the role such as the duties, responsibilities, and salary range. It also gives you the chance to sell your company and culture to candidates, and to define why the role is important.
It’s important that your job description is concise because you have a limited time frame to catch candidates’ attention. To help you write a great job description that will attract top candidates, we’ve outlined tips for each section below.
How to create a successful job description
While some will use job description templates, for many organisations the recruiter and hiring managers come together to craft bespoke job descriptions each time a new role opens. But whether you’re creating one from scratch, or using a template, here are the sections you need to get right:
Keep your job title straightforward
Most candidates begin looking for open roles by searching for a job title so it’s important to keep your job title straightforward. Including words like “wizard” or “ninja” in your job title could prevent your job description from appearing in their search results. A good job title should be self-explanatory, accurately reflect the nature of the job, not exaggerate or over inflate the position, and be free of age and gender implications.
You can be as descriptive as possible if you’re looking for someone with a specialty. For example, if you’re looking for a developer who specialises in a particular programming language, title your job post as “Java software developer.” This can help to boost your SEO ranking and make it as simple as possible for the right candidates to discover your job posting.
For many candidates, less is more
The job summary is your opportunity to explain why the role is important. It also allows you to give an overview of where the role fits within your organisational structure. You should use this section to outline the team and the mission this role is part of. This information will help you demonstrate the impact the candidate's work will have on your organisation.
Keeping things concise is key in today’s busy jobs market. For many candidates, less is more and job posts with 150 words or fewer saw candidates apply nearly 18% more frequently than job posts with 450 to 600 words.
Be clear and concise about what's important
This section is your opportunity to let candidates know what they will be doing in the role and how their success will be measured. The best way to achieve this is to prioritise what’s important and aim for a small number of clear, concise goals that gives the candidate a picture of the role.
It is important to prioritise key responsibilities with a clear outcome so this section doesn’t start to feel like a to-do list. Stating explicit, measurable goals, such as 10% sales growth for their team, will give candidates a better understanding of what’s expected of them before they even apply.
Qualifications and skills
Use bullet points for easy scanning
Candidates will use this section to understand if they have the level of skill, knowledge and expertise required for the role. Make qualifications and skills easy to discover by using bullet points that can be scanned quickly.
However, keeping things brief does not mean casual. Research has shown that, after reading an extremely casual job description, candidates were two to four times less likely to apply for the role, and up to four times more likely to dislike the employer.
Salary is just one aspect of compensation
Salary is not just one of the main drivers for people who choose to move jobs, it is also the most important part of the job description for over 60% of candidates. However, knowing how much they’re going to make is just one aspect of compensation.
If your organisation has additional benefits such as flexible working hours or matched pension contributions, include them. They could be the difference between a candidate choosing your company over another.
You're advertising your company as much as the role
When writing a job description, it’s easy to forget that you’re not just outlining an open role, you’re also selling your company, its people, and its values. If, for example, diversity and inclusivity matter most to your business, then include this as part of your company’s story and help candidates feel connected to your organisation.
Don’t let this section take up too much space, given the limited real estate of a great job description. Instead, make it easy for candidates to learn more about your company culture on your website or company Page.
Whether you’re an experienced recruiter, or a hiring manager about to write your first job description, we’ve created these job description templates to help you get started.
Covering a wide range of roles, these job description samples can offer a practical starting point for your next hire, or help you improve your existing job descriptions.
View job description templates