Recruiting & Hiring Blog for HR Professionals

Hiring 101: Writing Job Titles and Descriptions for your Job Postings to Attract the Right Candidates

hyrell_blogimage_positionwritingWe all know that trying to find the right person for a job can be a difficult process. You want someone not only qualified for the position, but a person who will fit your corporate culture and workplace environment. Hiring the wrong employee can cost your business thousands of dollars, so you want to make sure you start the process strong. The title and description you use for your posting can make all the difference.

The most important thing about the job title you use for your posting is that it should clearly tell people what the job is all about. While clever job titles may be part of your corporate culture, when someone is looking for a job as a Receptionist, they might pass right over your post for a “Director of First Impressions.” Keep the witty titles, but assign them after you’ve hired the right person.

A well-written job description clearly defines the responsibilities for a specific job and should include information about working conditions, tools, equipment used, knowledge and skills needed, and relationships with other positions. However, if your internal job descriptions include too much detail, you might want to scale them back a bit for your posting.

  • A good job description contains a succinct summary of the most important aspects of the job. It should be no more than three to four sentences long and must clearly describe the position. It helps to include the “Reports to” information so that applicants can understand where they will fit in the company.
  • List the main duties and responsibilities in descending order of importance. You don’t need to list everything that may be included in your internal job description…just the key functions so that people know what you expect from them. (You can always present the full job description later in the hiring process.) Try to keep it to about eight key responsibilities. Use present tense action verbs to begin each description, such as "oversees," "assists" and "coordinates."
  • Make sure you include the required education and experience and any knowledge, skills, and abilities that a candidate must have. You can list your preferred skills and qualities, but don’t go overboard.
  • Include a description of the physical demands of the job and the work environment, such as standing for long periods of time or operating heavy equipment. Also include any exceptions to the responsibilities, such as if occasional overtime or travel is required.
  • Try to avoid jargon, acronyms, or company-specific terms. For example, if you use a document called a “Daily Activities Spreadsheet and Checklist,” you don’t need to include such a specific term at this time. You could say “Updates required documentation daily,” and that should cover it for now. However, you can list specific things if they are common to your industry (business software, graphic design packages, tools or equipment, etc.) or society in general (Microsoft Office).

Most importantly, make sure your description is accurate. You want to describe the role and your company in the right light to attract the right candidates, but you don’t want to embellish anything too much. If you are not 100% accurate in describing the job in your posting, you will not be 100% happy with the candidates who apply. They may meet the requirements of the job posting, but might not have what is needed to get the job done.

The Benefits of Recruiting Automation

Topics: Hiring, Attract More Applicants, Attracting Right Applicants

This is disclaimer text. We’ve shared these tips to help educate you on social media employment screenings and considerations for your business — this information should not be construed as legal advice. But if your company chooses to screen applicants on social media or want to explore the topic even further, consult with an attorney for advice related to this screening tactic.

Photo credit: photographer via website

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