Why a Strong Job Description Matters for Finding the Best Talent

Somewhere in the corners of Reddit, there exists a forum dedicated to tearing apart terrible job descriptions. For the most part, these descriptions are either poorly written or the job itself seems like an unmitigated disaster waiting to happen. At its core, the forum is dedicated to exposing businesses that seem to want to capitalize on cheap labor or that have unrealistic expectations for their new hires.

For hiring managers who lurk in this forum, seeing the posts ripping apart work that colleagues have done can be difficult. And in some cases, the ridicule isn’t entirely warranted. But in many, the job description is so cringe-worthy that users wonder if the business enticed any applicants to submit their names.

Writing a strong job description is just as important for a business as writing a strong resume and cover letter is for a candidate. This may seem ridiculous — after all, shouldn’t the candidate be impressing the company on their capabilities, not the other way around? While this is, to a degree, true, companies that only define expectations and duties without informing candidates why they are worth working for can be a misstep.

Of course, it’s not just about selling workplace perks and unlimited PTO (which often doesn’t do much to entice workers, truth be told). Candidates can often tell a lot about a company based on its job description.

Does the description have strong grammar? What about the tone? Is it condescending, or is it empowering and inviting? For the job duties, is this a laundry list? Or is it a clear definition of the role the employee will play and the impact they will have on the business? Are the benefits or perks listed as an afterthought at the very end of the description?

These are all considerations to take into account when crafting a job description. Think of it this way: the business wants to attract the strongest and highest quality candidates. The business wants to hire someone who is eager to contribute and who aspires to create valuable work. The job description should appeal to those high-quality candidates. Remember: a valued, engaged employee will always put in more quality work than one who is simply a warm body filling a chair.

So take the time to craft an appealing and descriptive job listing. Explain the expected duties of the employee, the character traits the business is seeking, and the salary expectations and benefits that the employee will receive. It seems simple, but the majority of job descriptions out there seem to focus only on all of the expectations of the employee, not what makes the business an exceptional place to work.

Even in the most competitive industries, employees still need to be treated with value and respect. A job description dripping with condescension or ripe with unrealistic performance expectations will turn off many candidates, particularly the high-quality candidates the business desires.

Finding a valuable employee takes time, and it’s important for businesses to remember that it has to be a good match for the candidate too. Don’t focus so much on the idea that a candidate is “lucky” to get the job that’s been posted. Instead, focus more on crafting a job description that will attract the strongest, most engaged and eager candidates.