The Secret to Writing a Job Description That Gets Results
Effective job descriptions are essential for attracting and retaining top talent. Explore top tips for writing ROI-positive job descriptions.
Recruitment is a critical process for any business, but can be expensive and time-consuming, which is why it’s important to invest the proper time and resources to make sure your recruitment activities are ROI-positive.
A bad job description not only wastes your time and resources, but could also result in a pool of unqualified candidates in your pipeline with the candidates you want being put off by your lackluster job description.
In this blog post, we'll discuss the importance of good job descriptions and provide tips for writing one that will help you attract and retain the best talent for your team. We'll also share examples of good and bad job descriptions so you can see the difference for yourself.
So whether you're looking to hire for your first new position or you're a seasoned hiring manager, read on for our guide to writing a great job description.
Benefits of Good Job Descriptions
If you're looking to hire top talent, a well-written job description is essential. Here are some of the key benefits of writing a good job description:
Make better hiring decisions. A good job description will help you make better hiring decisions by giving you a clear understanding of the skills and experience required for the role. This will help you identify the best candidates for the job and avoid making costly hiring mistakes.
Improve employee retention. A good job description can help improve employee retention by setting clear expectations for the role and providing employees with the information they need to succeed. This can help employees feel more confident in their roles and more likely to stay with your company for the long term.
Establish a clear employer brand and vision. A good job description helps prospective employees learn more about your business, what’s expected of them, and makes them want to work for you. By being transparent about your company's culture, values, and benefits, you can show candidates that you are a trustworthy and credible employer.
How to Write a Good Job Description
Be clear and concise
The first step in writing a job description is to ensure that it's clear and concise. A job description should accurately capture the roles and responsibilities of the role and any qualifications or experience necessary for applicants to be considered.
It shouldn't be a wall of largely irrelevant text for prospective candidates to bounce off.
Ideally, you'll want candidates to be able to understand the core details of the position from a quick scan of the job description.
Here are some methods you can use to keep it clear:
- Use bullet points instead of long paragraphs to break up text and list key responsibilities
- Highlight important requirements and qualifications for the role
- Keep it succinct - aim for no more than a few hundred words total
- Start off with an overview of the role and company
- Link to additional resources for in-depth information
You can also include an interview guide to help keep your candidates informed and engaged about the hiring process.
Avoid using jargon and technical terminology
Regardless of how technical the job is, you should avoid using jargon and technical terminology in your job description.
Even the most qualified and experienced candidates might not be familiar with every piece of jargon you throw their way. Not only can this alienate potential applicants, but it could also give you a distorted picture of who has the skills for the role.
Using plain language in tech job descriptions streamlines the recruitment process and helps to ensure that you’re attracting candidates who actually have the skills and experience necessary for the role - not just those familiar with industry slang.
There are also some phrases and words that should be avoided at all costs when writing a job description, including:
- Any discriminatory language, including references to race, religion, physical appearance, or political beliefs.
Highlight your company culture
Finding the right talent for the role isn't just about skills and qualifications - your company culture plays an important part in attracting the right candidates.
When writing a job description, be sure to highlight what makes your company unique and exciting as an employer. It's not enough to simply list out the responsibilities of the role; you should also include information about things like:
- Your company values
- The team culture
- Any perks and benefits you offer
- Career development opportunities
- An introduction to any unique technologies or processes you use
Your employer branding is crucial and should be a priority – prioritizing your employer branding strategy is an investment for your company’s overall image and future growth.
One way to highlight your company culture is with Puck. Puck pairs audio clips to your job descriptions, bringing your employer branding to light and showcasing your company culture and employees. Check out how Puck helps you share your team’s story and helps you showcase your employees:
Improve your job description SEO
Keywords aren't just for content marketing. Ensuring your job description is optimized for search engines will make it more likely to appear higher up in job listings, giving you a greater chance of connecting with the right applicants.
It'll also help prospective talent find your job description if they search for relevant terms on job-posting websites like Indeed, Monster, and Glassdoor.
When optimizing your job description for SEO, you'll want to:
- Include relevant keywords throughout the job description
- Include a section at the top specifically targeting key phrases and terms
- Link to other related jobs that might be of interest to potential applicants
With these steps, you can ensure your job description reaches the right candidates and stands out from the crowd.
Job description examples
Now that you've gotten a better idea of how to write a job description that works, let's look at examples of both good and bad job descriptions from popular industries and what can be done to improve them:
QSR job descriptions
The good one:
Fast Food Cashier & Supervisor (QSR)
We’re looking for a reliable, experienced Fast Food Cashier and Supervisor to join our team. This role will involve greeting customers, taking orders, managing cash registers, and ensuring the smooth running of our QSR outlet.
The ideal candidate should have previous experience in customer service and fast food outlets and be able to multitask efficiently.
- Experience in customer service, preferably in a QSR setting
- Excellent communication skills
- Ability to work in a fast-paced environment
- Knowledge of cash register operations and basic math
- Ability to manage and supervise staff members
The bad one:
We need a cashier. Must have some experience in fast food and be able to work quickly. No other qualifications are necessary, but it would be nice if you were good with math/cash registers.
How to write a job description for QSR
The good QSR example above shows what a good job description for this role should look like. The information is clear and concise, with bullet points to help break up the text. It's also free of any gender-biased language or discriminatory terms.
The bad example, on the other hand, doesn't provide enough detail about the role and qualifications necessary for applicants to be considered. It lacks critical information that a candidate would need to make an informed decision about applying for the role.
Retail job descriptions
The good one
We’re looking for a Retail Assistant to join our team in our busy store. As Retail Assistant, you will be responsible for greeting customers, offering help with product selection, processing sales transactions, and helping to maintain the store’s overall appearance.
The ideal candidate should have excellent communication skills as well as previous experience in a customer-facing role.
- Experience in retail sales and customer service
- Ability to work flexible hours, including evenings and weekends
- Excellent communication skills
- Knowledge of POS systems and cash register operations
- Ability to prioritize tasks and multitask efficiently
The bad one:
We need someone to help in the store. You'll greet customers, take payments, and stock shelves. Good communication skills are required.
How to write a job description for a retail
The good retail job description example above provides more detail about the role and qualifications needed than the bad one. It gives potential applicants the information they need to make an informed decision about applying for the role, including details like responsibilities, a defined job title, and a list of requirements.
It also uses plain language that is easy for potential applicants to understand and highlights any additional benefits of working with the company.
On the other hand, the bad example doesn't provide enough detail and uses vague phrases like 'help in the store,' which don't define the role clearly. Even when hiring for an entry-level position such as Retail Assistant, it's important to put thought into the job description – even small details can make a big difference in attracting the right talent for the role.
Here’s a great example of a retail job description:
Tech job descriptions
The good one
Software Developer (Tech)
We’re looking for a Software Developer to join our team and build high-quality software products. As Software Developer, you will develop new features and enhancements, debug existing code, and provide technical support when needed.
The ideal candidate should have experience in software development as well as a strong knowledge of programming languages such as Java, C++, and Python.
- Previous experience in software development
- Knowledge of multiple programming languages, including Java, C++, and Python
- Strong debugging skills
- Ability to work independently as part of a team
- Excellent problem-solving and communication skills
The bad one
Are you a coding genius? If so, we need you! We are looking for a Software Ninja to join our team and help us create amazing software solutions.
If you're a wizard with OOTB systems, slay spaghetti code for fun, and are a master of code refactoring, then this is the role for you!
How to write a job description for Tech
The good tech example is clear and descriptive, providing potential applicants with information about the role and its qualifications. It also defines the role's title clearly, making it easier for people to find it when searching online.
It lists the technical requirements for the job without any unnecessary jargon and offers a clear picture of the expectations for applicants.
The bad example, on the other hand, is too vague and doesn't provide enough information about the role or its requirements. The term 'ninja' is overused and doesn't convey any real information about the job. It's also riddled with jargon and slang, which can be off-putting for potential applicants.
When writing a tech job description, it's important to use plain language that is easy to understand and focuses on the skills and qualifications necessary for the job. A clear, well-written description will help attract qualified applicants who are more likely to succeed in the role.
Here’s a great example of a tech job description:
Healthcare job descriptions
The good one
We are looking for an experienced Nursing Aide to join our team and provide excellent patient care. As Nursing Aide, you will assist patients in their daily activities, help maintain a clean and safe environment, and monitor vital signs.
The ideal candidate should have experience in the healthcare field, strong interpersonal skills, and a compassionate attitude.
- Previous experience in healthcare or a similar field
- Knowledge of basic nursing principles and practices
- Strong interpersonal skills and ability to empathize with others
- Excellent communication, problem-solving, and organizational skills
- Ability to lift up to 50 pounds
The bad one:
We need someone who can help out with patient care. You'll be responsible for assisting patients, helping out with daily activities, and monitoring vital signs. Since lifting is needed, you'll ideally be under 30 and in good shape.
How to write a job description for healthcare
The good example above provides a clear description of the role and qualifications. It also lists specific requirements for the job in plain language that is easy to understand. It highlights that lifting may be required for the role, which is important information for potential applicants to consider when applying.
The bad example, on the other hand, is too vague and doesn't provide enough detail about the role and makes assumptions about applicants' age and physical condition, making it seem exclusive and discriminatory. Agist hiring is illegal in many countries, so it's important to avoid such language when crafting job descriptions.
When writing a healthcare job description, avoid vague and discriminatory language and include all the qualifications necessary for the role. It's also important to focus on empathy and communication skills, as these traits are essential for providing excellent patient care.
Here’s a great example of a healthcare job description:
Boost Your Job Descriptions with Puck
What’s also important is making sure candidates see it and feel connected to your brand. As the #1 employer branding & candidate engagement platform, Puck helps you capture the essence of your company and connect with the best candidates through audio clips that can be shared directly on social media or on your company’s job page.
Make hiring more human, with Puck
At Puck, our mission is to make hiring more human. We believe that people and their stories should be at the center of your employer brand strategy. Ask us how we can help you find your people below.Book a Demo