How to Write a Job Description to Attract Top Candidates

Job description form being filled out with a pen

Knowing how to write a job description that is both interesting and informative is one of the most significant skills a hiring manager or recruiter can have. A high-quality job description will help attract top candidates and pique their interest in your position and company.

Understanding how to write a good job description involves more than stringing together words; it is about knowing and effectively communicating what the position entails along with the skills, knowledge, or experience you are looking for in a candidate. You are also selling your company as a fantastic place to work. 

We will talk more about how to write a winning job description in a moment, but first, let us talk about one channel in particular where you want your job openings to shine: social media.

Key Benefits of Using Social Media for Recruiting

If social recruiting is a trend you are not currently capitalizing on, it is time to start —  84% of organizations are already using social media to recruit candidates, and 78% have actually made a hire through a social network.

There are many advantages of working social recruiting into your hiring strategy. Here are a few of the major ones:

Increased visibility

When you only post your openings on job boards and your careers page, it will likely only be seen by those actively searching on those channels. However, by posting job openings on social media, you have a much better chance of getting your role in front of passive candidates as well.

The ability to target specific audiences

While nearly all social channels allow you to post job descriptions for free, many also offer the option to purchase targeted ads. For example, Facebook’s paid ads allow you to target candidates by location, while LinkedIn’s sponsored ads can put your posting in front of candidates with the specific skills you are looking for in a professional. 

The opportunity to show off your company culture 

Social media allows you to promote your company culture and show candidates a glimpse of what it is really like to work for your company. In fact, 77% of employers using social recruiting are doing so in hopes of boosting their employer brand.

Reduced time-to-fill

By using a wide variety of channels (such as a mix of social media, job boards, and the careers page on your website) rather than relying on just one, you can find a greater number of qualified candidates and fill your open positions faster.

Decreased recruiting costs 

Setting up social media accounts and posting your job openings can be free (unless you choose to use paid ads). Even if you go the paid route, an impressive 55% of employers in an SHRM survey found social recruiting to be less expensive than other traditional recruiting methods.

Now that you know why you may want to consider leveraging social recruiting, here are some tips for how to write listings that get noticed no matter channel you’re posting on.

Tips for Writing a Great Job Description

Tip #1 for How to Write a Job Description: Be Specific

When trying to attract top candidates and narrow your focus to those who are the most qualified, it is vital that you include specific information in your job description. Generally speaking, the more detailed the description, the better. 

The first thing any user will see is the title of your job, so make sure you are using one that is accurate and precise rather than vague. For example, instead of making the headline of your job description “Hiring a Marketer,” use the full title of the position such as “Regional Digital Marketing Strategist for XYZ Company.” You will also want to include your exact location, so rather than saying the job site is “Our Corporate Headquarters,” write “Our Corporate Headquarters in Miami, Florida.”

When your job description is specific rather than generic, it will stand out to the right people scrolling past; not just anyone. While a position titled “Hiring a Marketer in our Corporate Headquarters” could attract hundreds of unqualified candidates, a job description titled “Regional Digital Marketing Strategist for XYZ Company at our Corporate Headquarters in Miami, Florida” will attract candidates looking for that exact type of position in your geographic area.

The same goes for the skill sets you include in the listing. If you are looking for a developer with a specific skill set, you should indicate that you are looking for someone who “is proficient with Javascript, JQuery, and HTML5” rather than just someone with “front-end development experience.”

Tip #2 for How to Write a Job Description: Be Concise

Job seekers do not want to read a novel in order to understand what your job role is and whether they are qualified to apply. In fact, job seekers will spend an average of just 30 seconds reading a job post before moving on to the next one.

Get to the point quickly while providing job seekers with enough information to understand what you are looking for and to make an informed decision about whether to apply. We recommend limiting your job description to one page of a word document or less. According to The Undercover Recruiter, job descriptions that consist of 4,000-5,000 characters have the highest click-to-apply rates — though even this ranges on the long side.

Highlight the most important information in the title of the job description (such as the specific job role and location, as we just mentioned). Do not overcomplicate your listing with meaningless jargon or acronyms specific to your company, as this could confuse a potential candidate and make them question if they are qualified for the job. 

Be sure to end with a link or call-to-action (CTA) that will drive readers to the full job description or more information on your website.

Tip #3 for How to Write a Job Description: Use Relevant, Industry-Specific Keywords

Although some companies try to stand out by using job titles like “Tech Guru” or “Sales Rockstar” in their job descriptions, this makes it more challenging for job seekers to find your posting online—people do not use words like ‘rockstar’ when they are searching for jobs. 

Instead, use straightforward terms and keywords as well as clear job titles that candidates are actually likely to be searching for. This will help increase your chances of ranking organically with major search engines like Google and Bing. For example, if you are looking to attract top candidates in the medical field, be sure to include the term “RN” rather than only referring to the position as a “registered nurse.”

Tip #4 for How to Write a Job Description: Write for Mobile

According to the Pew Research Center, 95% of Americans own a cell phone of some kind, and 77% specifically own a smartphone (92% and 88% of those in the 18-29 and 30-49 age ranges, respectively). According to an Indeed.com article, 78% of millennials, 73% of Gen Xers, and 57.2% of baby boomers are using their mobile devices to find jobs.

Because job seekers are using their mobile devices to search for jobs more frequently, this means that you need to know how to write a great job description that works for mobile. Part of this includes writing in a format that works well for mobile viewing such as breaking up large chunks of text into bulleted lists, breaking the content into sections by using section headers, and calling out important information with bold text.

Tip #5 for How to Write a Job Description: Use the Inverted Pyramid

Since job candidates spend fewer than 30 seconds reading (skimming) your job postings, it is imperative that you list your most relevant information at the top. This approach — the “inverted pyramid” — is commonly used by journalists and entails putting the most vital information at the top where it is sure to be seen, then funneling down to the least important content.

Tip #6 for How to Write a Job Description: Use an Engaging Image

If you have scrolled through your feed on any social media platform lately, most posts you saw probably included some sort of image, gif, or video. Your job description should be no different. Do not spend time writing a great job description and then forget to accompany it with an engaging image to catch the viewer’s eye. 

Not all job posting platforms allow for the inclusion of an image, but on those that do, avoid using a generic one like your company logo or a stock photo. Instead, use a picture of your modern office space or coworkers collaborating together. You could even feature fun perks of the job, such as a photo from a networking event you held or yoga class in the office as part of your corporate wellness program. 

Highlighting your company culture and showing what being a part of your company really looks like will get job seekers excited about your open role and the possibility of working for your company.

Tip #7 for How to Write a Job Description: Be Conversational

When executed correctly, a job description feels less like some cold, corporate document and more like a natural conversation. This resonates well with modern professionals, especially those of younger generations such as Millennials and Gen Z because it allows potential candidates to connect with your brand in a low-pressure environment.

Using conversational language also allows your current employees to be conversational with their own professional networks and social circles when they share the listing, too. They can share your job description with just one click on most social platforms, further amplifying the reach of your job posting. Over half of companies encourage employee referrals through their social platforms, with many offering bonuses for referring a candidate who is successfully hired.

Learning how to write a job description that grabs attention and makes the best talent want to apply takes practice, skill, and finesse. We hope that these tips provide you with some best practices so you can grow and improve your job description writing skills. If you still have difficulty writing the perfect job description, working with a professional recruiter or headhunter can help.

Partner with an Experienced Professional Recruiting Firm

4 Corner Resources (4CR) is an award-winning team of experienced recruiting and staffing professionals. We have partnered with major Fortune 500 companies and small businesses across the U.S. to provide the best variety of professional staffing services. When you work with a 4CR technical recruiter, you are working with an expert who uses our tried-and-true methodology and processes to source, screen and place the best candidates.

One of the major benefits of working with a professional staffing agency is that they can connect with their vast pool of candidates on your behalf. Professional recruiters are constantly working to expand their professional networks and maintain relationships with both active and passive job seekers — and can use those connections to find you the best fit for your next job opening.

See how our team of recruiting and staffing experts can take your job descriptions to the next level. Contact our team today to learn more or to get answers to your questions.

About Pete Newsome

Pete Newsome is the president of 4 Corner Resources, the nationally acclaimed staffing and recruiting firm he founded in 2005. His mission back then was the same as it is today: to do business in a personal way, while building an organization with boundless opportunities for ingenuity and advancement. When not managing 4 Corner’s growth or spending time with his family of six, you can find Pete sharing his sales and business expertise though public speaking, writing, and as the host of the Hire Calling podcast.