How to write better job descriptions (and why it matters)

Most employers underestimate the importance of a well-written job description. Today the WSJ featured us in their article on writing better job descriptions. You can access the article here.

We’ve gotten a few emails asking how to write a better job description. Here’s our brief advice:

1. Make it memorable:
Make sure candidates remember your job even after they close the browser window. It can be funny, sweet, intellectual, or any other style as long as it stands out.

2. Speak to your audience:
Writing a job description is much like writing marketing copy. Start by asking yourself “whom am I trying to speak to”? If you’re trying to hire recent college graduates, consider the factors that matter to this audience (e.g., finding meaning in their work, having a fun work environment, getting a job with upward mobility). If you’re targeting senior sales reps, speak to their needs (e.g., high commissions, flexibility and independence, a great product to sell).

3. Think hard about the title:
Most jobs have boring titles (e.g., “Marketing Manager”, “Sales Associate”, or “Customer Service Rep”). We’ve found that changing the title has the single biggest impact on the quality and quantity of applicants you get. Remember that a job is a huge part of our identity: A better title can make us feel more important, more desired, more impactful. Great titles I’ve recently seen include: “The Wolf”, “Jack of All Trades”, “Office Ninja”, “Happiness Guru.” Note: Your title doesn’t have to be this “cute.” Even changing the title from “Sales Associate” to “Partnership Manager” can make a huge difference (as long as it’s an accurate description).

4. Be concrete:
Many managers copy-paste job descriptions from the internet. Unfortunately, these job descriptions have no personality and are not concrete. It’s much better to describe specific projects and activities the candidate will do on a day to day basis. For example: “Write daily emails” is not concrete. In contrast you could write “You will write a daily summary of the best events in town which will be sent out to our audience of over 100,000 subscribers”. Now you’ve got me interested!

Writing a job description should take you 3 – 5 hours. It’s hard work. Don’t rush it and don’t take it lightly. At HireArt, we offer our clients a free service to help you write better job descriptions. Email us at info@hireart.com and we’ll write a better job description for you and get it posted on our site. Or go here to take our tour first.

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