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How to Write a Good Job Description

Struggling to find the best candidates right now? Read this guide to help you attract the best candidates you'll want to employ instantly.

31 Jan 2022 by Annie Symonds

In today's competitive job market, a well-crafted job description is the key to attracting top talent. A good job description is not merely a list of responsibilities and qualifications; it's your initial point of contact with potential candidates. A well-written job description can spark excitement and interest in prospective employees while setting clear expectations for the role. But what makes a job description truly exceptional? Get ready to learn the secrets of writing a job description that stands out and invites the best talent to join your team.

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Figure Out Why You're Hiring

As a starting point, you'll need to figure out exactly why you're hiring in the first place. If you're working for a start-up, resources are probably sparse right now, and you'll most likely need to hire 20 people. But, once you work out the priority roles and job title, make a clear hiring plan, so you know exactly what the position looks like, especially if that job title doesn't exist currently.

What to include in your job description

Crafting an effective job advertisement goes beyond mere listing of responsibilities and qualifications; it's about painting a vivid picture that entices the right individuals to join your team. In this section, we list some of the things you must add in your job description template to help attract hundreds of candidates with success. Before hitting the 'post' button, however, ensure your job description is not just concise but well-crafted. Seek input from your colleagues because, let's face it, no one wants to sift through a poorly written job description.

So, what's the secret sauce? You must spotlight the kind of talent you seek, why prospective candidates should be eager to apply, and what sets your company apart. While there are numerous other details to include, these fundamental questions often elude many job descriptions. It's your opportunity to infuse personality and culture into your copy, making it an invitation candidates can't resist.

Summarise your company

Unfortunately, not everyone in the world might know who your company is, especially if you're a start-up. Start by summarising who the company is, which can be easily done by including your pitch within two or three sentences at the most. Be clear and concise so the potential candidates will know straight away if the business is right for them.

Job location

We recommend being very clear about where the job location. With many businesses going online, you'll need to state if the job will be based in a physical location or remote. This will help determine the logistics for the ideal candidate, so you're not wasting anyone's time.

Top three highlights for working at your company

Write the top three highlights for working at your company in bullet point form as an extenuation of the job summary at the top of the job description. This is your chance to entice potential candidates, ensuring they're compelled to read on.

Here's an idea of what you could include:

  1. What has the company achieved so far to date? A stat is usually a good idea to include
  2. What is the culture like? ie, what kind of people do you hire?
  3. Name a fantastic perk (or five!) you know will attract the best candidates

Why you'll love this role

In this section, you'll want to talk about the role and how important it is for the company. When writing this section, please don't hold back about how fantastic the company is, what mission it's on and what the role will contribute towards.

It's essential to be precise because you want to ensure the candidate knows what impact they can offer the company before their first day. Think about how the role fits in with the rest of the business and whom they will be reporting to. What does the rest of their direct team look like? If it's a newly created role without a team yet, what other stakeholders will they be working alongside?

List of requirements and skills required

In this section, you'll want to list the must-haves for the role. Be mindful not to go on and on by listing a hundred requirements. Only list the most important requirements which are necessary for the role.

Here's an example we pulled from a job description for a Content Marketing role (we love the last point!):

  • 5-6 years of relevant content marketing experience
  • A proven track record of converting clients or customers via blog content/organic SEO
  • A demonstrated ability to create content that ranks on the first page of Google
  • You view content as both a conversion tool, and a product in its own right. It needs to generate ROI for the company whilst also meeting the standards of professional journalism.
  • Strong understanding of content marketing tactics, including digital advertising, social media marketing, and use of content analytics
  • Working knowledge of SEO best practices and the toolkit of Google requirements
  • Experience in managing a team of writers (onshore & offshore)
  • Excellent written communication skills. A lot of JDs include this, but we REALLY mean it. To succeed in this role, you will be a wordsmith and storyteller of the highest caliber

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The negotiables

It's always wise to list a section of skills you're willing to negotiate on. As a start-up, you'll probably be looking for ideal candidates who have a range of skills you can utilize that would be a bonus but not technically necessary. For example, you might be looking for a Paid Media Specialist who also has graphic design skills or has experience as a copywriter or content writer. This will help leverage a growing marketing team within the business.

Role responsibilities

Give the candidate a clear indication on what they'll be working on and whom they'll be working with. Here's an example of a leadership team position.

As an active member of the leadership team, you will:

  • Bring brand and customer insights and data to strategy discussions
  • Influence corporate messaging and positioning
  • Support the company's efforts to lead in several market categories
  • Participate in quarterly and annual strategic planning cycles
  • Build productive relationships inside Marketing, and outside with Comms, Product, Legal, HR etc.
  • Support key vendor relationships (e.g., creative, media and research agencies)
  • Invest in essential team routines that produce a healthy and inclusive culture, including performance management, professional development, All Hands, QBRs, celebrations, team bonding

What do the first 6-12 months of performance outcomes look like?

We don't understand why more companies don't list some of the objectives the potential candidates will face within the first 6-12 months of joining the company. While there are plenty of job responsibilities that come with the role, it's a good idea to give them an outline of what to expect when they start. Obviously, you can keep it loosely based as you want to make sure you don't put in targets you'll need to change or too high or too low for the role.

Perks of the role

With many companies competing to find top talent in the current climate, you'll need to pull out all the stops with company perks. Long gone are the days of offering a fruit bowl on a Monday morning. With many companies working remotely, you'll need to come up with some epic perks.

For example, at Coassemble, we offer our team four weeks paid leave and an extra two weeks paid leave for 'me time'. The team also receives a monthly allowance to contribute towards food and exercise. You want to make sure that you focus on letting candidates know they will be valued before you even interview them.

And whatever you do, don't offer unlimited leave. It turns out many employees find this as a reverse outcome and take less leave than if they were given a set amount of time off, which results in staff quitting after burn out.

Manager quote

We stumbled across a job description by a dog-sitting start-up, Mad Paws that they had a quote from the hiring manager. This is a great idea to introduce the manager by giving the candidate an insight into their personality. It's crucial to understand that the manager and employee will get on well. Creating this winning job description idea will cut down so much time.

Here's what that quote looked like:

About your manager:

"Hey, I am Karim, the Head of Marketing at Mad Paws. I am a Big Pet Lover and own two labradors. I am passionate about biking, which triggered a fun Vintage-style streetwear venture with my friends. I love playing golf and spending time with my family in my free time. Outside of Australia, I have worked in Berlin early in my career for FoodPanda where overnight I was managing 10 people and spending money in 55 countries which was a very rewarding experience, to say the least!"

We love this quote because the manager lets you know that he has a love for dogs (the same as the brand); he's giving you an insight into a side hustle and his passions, as well as an insight into his previous career.

What makes the company special

In this section, you'll want to make sure you talk about what makes the company unique when it comes to the company culture. Do you actively support diversity and inclusion in the workplace?

While you might be able to find plenty of candidates who tick all of the job requirements, you'll need to find someone with the personal characteristics that will settle in quickly and will be easy to retain. As there are expectations in the workplace, finding a candidate who will bring success to the team will boost morale and help you quickly grow the business.

Be clear and honest about your type of company and show authenticity to the kind of hires you're looking for. The candidate will have much more respect and will likely apply if they see this in the job description.

Leadership of the company

And lastly, if you're a start-up, it's likely the candidate won't know the background of the business. We suggest mentioning who some of the leaders of the company are. You don't need to waffle on, simply put it in bullet points and say the names, their position, and where they used to work (big brand names will work well).

This gives the candidate substance of the types of professionals they will be working with and from whom they can learn.

Now, it's your turn to write a good job description

If you're the hiring manager or a member of the HR team, you'll likely be hiring more than this one time due to being a start-up. The best thing you can do is jump onto our free Course Builder and drop your newly written job description into it so you can adjust it as and when you need to for each role. This template will give you a fantastic starting point so you can add or delete any of the content we've included.

Over 40 course templates to check out

You might like to check out our library of 40+ free course templates to help you train team members anywhere in the world with online training.

Some of our most popular templates include:

Or build your own template from scratch using our easy-to-use Course Builder today!

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