How To Write The Perfect Job Description

May 22nd, 2013
How To Write The Perfect Job Description

If you are writing a job description, you will want it to appeal to as many people as possible; it goes without saying. Yet many people are still writing descriptions that seem to promote the prosaic and humdrum aspects of the job. It is almost as if they are pre-warning potential candidates of what they can expect instead of trying to sell the job to them. It reeks of cynicism and puts people off instantly…what can be done?


Show Them You Are Forward Thinking

Show a prospective employee that you are forward thinking, progressive and enterprising. If you do something differently from your competitors, or if there is something that sets you apart, let your audience know. If you have embraced social media include a link to your page, and if you offer initiatives or incentives, advertise it. You would be surprised by how many extra candidates could be drawn into your advertisement this way.


Embrace Modern Design

A job advertisement doesn’t have to be hackneyed, dull and lifeless. There is a misconception that it must be staid and formal, but being creative and having a bit of fun doesn’t necessarily mean sacrificing professionalism. Embrace modern design techniques, pick a font and imagery that really speaks to your target market. Ask yourself “who do I want for this job?” and when you have figured this out aim the ad straight at them. Remember that you are looking to catch their attention and then sustain their interest. Just remember that the advertisement should still be clear and concise in addition to being an eye-catching, attention-grabbing design.


An Emphasis on the Person

Avoid the jargon and idioms of your industry; your perfect candidate could actually be someone who doesn’t know the industry at all. They may have valuable skills that can’t be taught, and you don’t want to frighten them away before they have finished reading the ad. Of course all of this depends entirely on what type of candidate you are looking for. If you are considering training someone for a role then they may potentially have only a limited interest in your industry, so do whatever you can to make it attractive to them and try to appeal to their personality.


Avoid Listing the Minutiae of the Job

You really don’t need to list every last detail of the job. A long and tedious itinerary will scare people off – in fact you may as well just tell them there is an epidemic in the office. Instead limit the advertisement to the most basic and rudimentary bullet points and have faith that they will be able to read between the lines and understand that there is more to the job than just a handful of tasks. You are not mis-selling anything; no one can realistically list every aspect of the job!  


The Job is a Commodity

View the job as a commodity, or a product. How would you sell a product? You certainly wouldn’t list something that makes it undesirable. The greatest job is not without its flaws or negatives, but you don’t need to advertise it. If you sell a tennis racket on eBay you will spend time photographing it, taking care to find the very best angle. When you type the description of the item you will say it is light and handles beautifully. Why should the job you are advertising be treated any differently?


Ditch the Hard-line Approach

This is where we may diverge, but unless you are recruiting for the army I cannot understand the use of hard-line tactics. You know the ones; “do YOU have what it takes,” and “are you good enough for US!” Perhaps a restaurant franchise could realistically use something like “If you can stand the heat, get in the kitchen,” for example. It’s fun and tongue-in-cheek, but if you are looking for an accounts assistant then it is just not suitable. A militant approach is likely to paint you as an unfriendly and hard company…not the image you want to promote.  

So avoid the well-worn and tired clichés of job advertisements. Be creative, fun but professional and you will see that yours stands out from the crowd. Show someone you are an excellent company to work for and you never know, you may just find a truly excellent candidate. 


Adam works alongside HR Protected who supply on-line HR documentation. His favourite writing topics within HR are CV writing and creative advertising. 


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