What Makes A Good Job Description?

11th Nov 2020

We see thousands of job descriptions (JDs) here at Flexa. You’d think that a JD is as simple as explaining what needs to be done and where, but it’s amazing how many job descriptions don’t even do that.

A JD is frequently the first time that a candidate will come across your company, so it has the power to shape your employer brand; but very few companies make the most of this.

Top tips to creating a good job description

Based on the variety of job descriptions that we see, and the feedback from our candidates, we thought that we’d share three of our best practices with you.

1. Make it two-sided

The most common pitfall that we see in JDs is when a company only talks about what the candidate must have, with little or nothing devoted to what the company offers the candidate.

Recruitment isn’t a one-sided process - the candidate is also choosing you - so talk about what you as a company offer in order to stand out and make the candidate think “that’s the kind of company I want to work for!”. Companies that take the two-sided "what's in it for you / what are the requirements for the role" approach see up to 7x more engagement with their roles, as measured by Flexa as a ratio of page saves to views.

Break down your candidate proposition into these buckets:

  • The role: what does the job actually entail?
  • The opportunity: what’s so great about this role?
  • Requirements: what a candidate must have to be successful and, separately, what’s nice to have?
  • Why work for us: the chance to wax lyrical about your great working environment and culture.
For example, we loved this explanation of working environment from Elvie.

2. Be open-minded

Job descriptions tend to describe the absolute ideal candidate *on paper* (literally) and, indirectly, discourage people who don’t have 100% of the qualifications from applying. Lots of companies miss out on talent by making their JDs far too prescriptive, and often frankly unrealistic.  

I’m sure that we’ve all seen the stat that men will apply when they meet 60% of the criteria in a JD, but women won’t apply unless they meet all of the requirements.

The best way to overcome this (hopefully) unintentional bias in JDs is to break down requirements into:

  • Essential - what do they truly need to be able to do the job?
  • Nice to have - what would you love to see, but would be a bonus?

3. Bring some enjoyment to job hunting!

We constantly hear from our candidates that job descriptions are some of the worst things in the world to read, and often we agree!

Frequently, a JD is the first time that a candidate will come into contact with your company. What a great opportunity for your employer brand! However, very few companies make the most of this by giving JDs a bit of personality.

Talk to the prospective candidate like they are thinking about joining:

  • What do you want them to know?
  • Why are you great?
  • What language conveys how you work?

Here’s an example from us here at Flexa - bringing a bit of humour and work-life into a JD (or at least we thought it was amusing):

Job descriptions are so commonly overlooked - but they influence candidate perception of your business… So try to make them unique, engaging, and encouraging to job hunters!

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