Creating a compelling job description is critical for helping you attract the best talent. Your job description is usually the first contact a potential candidate makes with your organization.
For many organizations, writing job descriptions can be a last-minute task. After all, HR professionals and managers are busy with their regular duties.
This leads them to write their descriptions based on generic job description samples, only to find that qualified candidates aren’t applying. How do you craft a description that will appear in top job searches while resulting in highly qualified applicants?
The key to writing an effective job description is to provide enough detail for a job seeker to understand the roles and responsibilities while also showcasing your company culture, values, and opportunities.
This article will provide tips for writing a job description that stands out.
Why you need outstanding job descriptions
Writing an outstanding job description is essential. With employee turnover at an all-time high alongside a record number of job openings, you’ll need to do more to attract your ideal employees.
While using a generic job description sample is quick and easy, it won’t get the results you’re looking for. If you want to attract highly qualified candidates, your position needs to stand out.
When qualifications, culture, and values are aligned, you’ll be on the right path to creating a highly engaged workforce.
What should you put in a job description?
A good job description template summarizes the role, your organization, what makes an employee successful in the role, and your organization’s vision and values. It’s also your time to convince job applicants why they should work for you.
Your job description should include:
- The job title for the position you’re looking to fill
- Job summary with an overview of the role
- A summary of what your organization does and why it matters
- Job responsibilities and duties
- Qualifications and skills required or desired
- Salary or salary ranges
- The benefits you provide
Additionally, Glassdoor1 conducted a survey that asked employees and job seekers what they looked for when applying for jobs. They found that 67% of employees looked for salaries, while 63% looked for employee benefits.
Let’s look at a few of these essential components in more depth.
Be sure to use specific job titles that job seekers will understand. After all, many applicants search for new positions by job titles online.
You should also specify whether it is an entry-level position or a senior-level position, which would require more experience. For example, if you’re hiring a copywriter with a minimum of 10 years of experience required, you could title your job posting as “Senior copywriter.”
Your job summary should accurately reflect the role, including a typical day for the job applicant. Your job summary should also include the location of the position (including if it's remote or hybrid) and the expected hours and workdays.
Your organization's summary
This is your chance to showcase how your organization is unique and why job seekers will want to work for you. Include details about your company culture, your mission statement, your values, and anything else that helps tell your brand's story.
Job responsibilities and duties
This is where you can list all of the core responsibilities and tasks your ideal employee will perform. Try to be specific, but keep it short. You can also share who the applicant will report to and how their role matters to the organization.
Qualifications and skills
It’s good to list a few qualifications or skills that will help an employee excel in their new role. This helps job-seekers identify if they match the position.
One mistake that recruiters make is listing every qualification under the sun. Instead of narrowing the field of candidates, this increases the number of candidates who will apply. If a candidate has experience in one of the listed areas, they take their chance. So, if you want to avoid sifting through dozens of resumes from unqualified candidates, only list the essential qualifications.
Be sure to include a mix of hard skills and soft skills.
Hard skills are job-related abilities, such as:
- Mathematical skills (like Calculus or discrete mathematics)
- Knowledge of different software, such as Adobe
- Search engine optimization
- Computer programming
- Copywriting experience
- Foreign languages
Soft skills are critical habits and traits candidates may have, such as:
- Interpersonal skills
- Excellent communication
- Organizational skills
- Critical thinking
The best candidates have a mix of both hard and soft skills, so be sure to list the most important of each set.
Try to be as specific as possible when listing your skills. For example, share what that looks like instead of listing “good organizational skills” or “communication skills” for a role. Do employees need to be able to write clearly and concisely because they’ll be writing lots of emails? Or does your ideal hire need to have public speaking experience?
You might also separate the “must-haves” from the “wants” so that candidates know which skills are required for the position and which ones will help set them apart from the rest.
Salary and benefits
Simply using your job ad to focus on what you’re looking for is only half of the equation. Your post needs to show what you’re doing for employees. That’s why posting your salary ranges and employee benefits is critical.
In fact, some places even require that you list salary ranges in job postings before you ever interview a candidate for the role.
These places include:
- After the first interview
- New York City
- Washington (beginning 2023)
- The law specifically states that employers with 15 or more employees must also disclose information about benefits in each job posting alongside salary and wage information
Listing all of your employee benefits is a great way to convince people to apply for the job. The more attractive you can make your compensation package, the better you can attract top talent, even in a tight labor market.
Some of the top employee benefits are:
- Health insurance
- Paid time off (and unlimited PTO)
- Education benefits such as tuition reimbursement
- In-office perks
- Remote or hybrid work
- Wellness programs
How long should a job description be?
For the best results, keep your description compelling but brief. It should only be as long as it needs to be to hit all of the necessary points while ensuring that it stands out.
If your job description is too long, you’ll drive away potential candidates. However, if it’s too short, you’ll get too many applicants who aren’t qualified.
How to bolster your benefits package to attract top talent
One of the best ways to find the right talent is by showcasing your organization’s employee perks and benefits. However, some benefits are better than others at attracting candidates.
Health benefits to offer
Health benefits are often the top perk job candidates look for when applying for jobs. While many organizations offer traditional group health insurance, rising health insurance costs have led some employers to offer alternatives.
Health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) are a tax-advantaged alternative to group health insurance that gives your employees more control over their health benefits costs. With an HRA, employers reimburse employees for their qualifying medical expenses.
Three of the most popular types of HRAs are:
- Qualified small employer HRA (QSEHRA)
- Individual coverage HRA (ICHRA)
- Group coverage HRA (GCHRA), also known as an integrated HRA
You can also offer a health stipend to your employees. This works similar to an HRA, but it allows for greater flexibility because you reimburse any medical expense at your discretion. However, health stipends are taxable.
While an HRA is often a better choice for organizations, health stipends can be helpful if you have 1099 contractors, international workers, or employees who receive advance premium tax credits (APTC).
Other perks to offer
Wellness programs are an effective way to attract and retain employees while boosting overall productivity.
Instead of creating a comprehensive and complex program, you can offer your employees a taxable wellness stipend. Wellness stipends empower you to reimburse employees for their wellness expenses, such as gym memberships.
When it comes down to it, the job descriptions you write will be the difference between attracting well-qualified candidates who fit well within your organization’s culture and those who don’t. By following the tips in this article, you’ll be able to craft a job ad that attracts your ideal candidates.
However, you’ll need to bolster your employee benefits package to attract the best candidates in a tight labor market.
If you’re interested in offering health, wellness, or remote work benefits, PeopleKeep can help! Our HRA and employee stipend administration software solutions make it easy to manage your benefits in minutes each month.
This blog article was originally published on May 25, 2015. It was last updated on June 9, 2022.