Best Practices: Write an Effective Job Description

Job descriptions are a crucial part of attracting quality candidates. The more aligned your job description is to your company’s unique culture, the more you are differentiating your job from the other thousands of options out there. It is one of the first windows into what a career might look like at your company, and the goal of it is to both inform candidates and excite them enough to apply.

Here are 5 things to consider when writing a job description:

Job title. The job title is the first piece of information that will introduce the job to the candidate, so make sure it attracts the appropriate audience. You will want to consider what your title might mean in the context of other companies -- for example, an “Account Manager” can be a pure sales role at one company or a pure customer success role at another. It is also important to make sure your title isn’t too specific -- for example, the title “Site Reliability Engineer” makes sense within the context of Greenhouse’s engineering team, but we’ve externally marketed the role as “DevOps Engineer,” as this is a more common title held by those qualified for our position. The key is to make the title relatable and broad enough that you aren’t turning away people who would be a good fit. At Greenhouse, we also like A/B testing titles through our multiple job posts feature to see which titles generate more qualified candidates.

Description. This section contains the meat of the job description. Typically, the description is outlined in 1) a high-level blurb that includes who the role is reporting to and what team the position is on and 2) bullet points that outline the responsibilities of the job. Instead of listing what your ideal candidate will do, we encourage you to focus on what they will accomplish. Through this approach, candidates have a more exciting, goal-oriented view of what they’ll be tasked to fulfill.

Qualifications. The qualifications are usually presented as a list of the hard skills a candidate needs in order to be considered for the role. Typically, these are the things you can learn from a resume - anything from previous work experience to required certifications or degrees to familiarity with certain technology stacks. At Greenhouse, our Recruiting team takes an open-minded approach, given that so much of someone’s success in a role is not only based on years of experience or certifications but also the ability and desire to learn. 

Voice. Now that you have the content of your job description created, check your voice or tone. Does it reflect your company culture, and is it consistent throughout your job description? At Greenhouse, we favor an authentic, jargon-free and “human” voice for our job descriptions, but more corporate environments might adopt a formal tone to match their environment.

Company Info. Finally, most employers will conclude their job description with a brief description of their company culture to further provide insight into a day-in-the-life-of. This can include anything from benefits, perks, an EEO / diversity statement, and awards your company has accrued. This section should be consistent across all full-time job postings.

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