How to Write a Job Description that Attracts Perfect Candidates

how to write a job description
Created by Cake

Attracting the ideal candidates to your job opening comes down to writing a strong job description. Having an honest and upfront job description which highlights the responsibilities and perks of the role will help candidates make informed decisions on whether they should apply. 

Writing a good job description will help both applicants and you as a hiring manager to streamline the process, avoiding misunderstandings and non-serious applicants. Likewise, a job description is the perfect opportunity to build employer branding, where you can describe the employment experience, lifestyle and opportunities the company can offer, attracting job seekers scrolling through endless job openings. 

What is a Job Description?

A job description details the responsibilities and duties of an open role, and the skills, education or experience of the ideal applicant. A job description should have adequate information on the job’s requirements, as well as showcase the day-to-day life within the role.

The best job descriptions are: 

  • Clear: 

There is no room for misunderstandings of the responsibility, working hours or candidate requirements within the job description. Clear job descriptions are concise, but not brief and do not overload on details. 

  • Positive: 

Ultimately, you are using the job description to attract candidates, so having an overall positive tone is necessary. If the job is high-stress or high-pressure, include a positive spin in the job description which outlines how the company counteracts this.

  • Non-discriminatory: 

Although jobs have skill, experience or education requirements, a job description should not use discriminatory language which excludes applicants based on gender, age, sexual identity, disability or otherwise. Ultimately, a job posting is open to all applicants, regardless of their characteristics. 

How to Write a Job Description

Before using the job description to advertise the role and promote employer branding, you need to know the essential information that should be included in it. Missing out on standard information might make your job description seem suspicious, or deliberately hiding negative aspects.

💼 Job Title

Think of a short phrase which best defines the role, and use it as the title of the job description. These days, many companies have innovative spins on job titles, but it's best to avoid ambiguity. Try to include the role, experience level and working hours to make sure it shows up in as many job searches as possible, for example: 

Senior Project Manager (Full Time)

💼 Job Summary

Start of your job description with a brief overview of the position's role in the company. Include basics about the industry, dynamics and type of work involved in the job summary, as many job seekers will use this information to determine if it's relevant to them.

For example, a job summary could include: 

Great opportunity for a senior project manager to support large-scale expansion of our business. Central location, high-profile clients & projects across the construction industry.

💼 Duties and Responsibilities

Use this section of the job description to outline exactly what the role entails. Explain how small responsibilities add to the big picture of the team or company. Don't assume job seekers know what the role involves – include everything, no matter how mundane or overwhelming it may seem in the job description, such as: 

  • Day-to-day tasks
  • Size of the team working with or managed
  • Staff, stakeholders, investors or collaborators interacted with
  • Deliverables such as reports, presentations or drafts

💼 Requirements

State the must-have requirements for the role in the job description. Include education, experience, software, skills, licenses and industry-relevant criteria in the job requirements section. There might be mandatory job requirements needed to fulfill the role; however avoid going overboard with explicit must-have requirements, as it might deter many qualified people from applying.

An example job requirements section could include: 

  • Years and type of experience required
  • University degree or other education
  • Skills essential to the role
  • Licenses, qualifications or background checks needed

💼 Salary and Benefits

Salary is a deciding factor for job seekers thinking of applying to your job posting. Don’t omit or try to vaguely explain the salary range in your job description, as it's not worthwhile for job seekers to take a gamble, go through the interview process and find that the salary is subpar. 

If you can, include the hourly rate, monthly or annual salary in the job description, or if it can vary, a salary range that includes both the highest and lowest possible income. Likewise, include the benefits that the company offers, such as salary packaging, insurance, company cars, food or beverages provided, or other assets that employees can utilize when writing your job description, for instance:

  • Base salary range 
  • Bonuses and commission (if applicable)
  • Any pension or superannuation included
  • PTO and sick leave balance
  • Any company perks included  

💼 Brief Introduction of the Team

To build employer branding and let prospective employees understand the company better, use this section of the job description to describe the team, management structure and lifestyle of the company. This way, prospective employees can imagine themselves in the role and evaluate if it's the right fit for them when reading the job description.

You can include aspects such as:

  • Skillset or industry diversity of the team
  • Collaborative nature of work and available support network
  • Opportunities for career expansion through training 

💼 “About You”

To help job seekers really evaluate if they are qualified for the job, you can include your expectations of your ideal candidate in the job description. 

Since you’ve already mentioned the requirements in experience and skills earlier in the job description, use this section as an opportunity to further characterize the type of person who would suit the team and company culture.

Avoid generic buzzwords and think of attributes that would ensure success in the role – such as: 

  • Goal-oriented, driven, outcomes-focused
  • Responsible, diplomatic, assertive communicator
  • Team-player, fair, advocates for your team’s success

How to Write a Job Description: Example

Senior Project Manager (Full Time)

Great opportunity for a senior project manager to support large-scale expansion of our business. Central location, high-profile clients & projects across the construction industry.

Duties and responsibilities involve: 

  • Develop and plan the implementation of strategies throughout the project
  • Manage the project team and oversee meetings 
  • Develop strong relationships with clients and your team
  • Submit progress reports, project reports, strategy blueprints and financial spreadsheets
  • Collaborate with key stakeholders to strategize project goals, scope, budgets, schedules and deliverables

Job Requirements:

  • 5 years working experience as a project manager or co-ordinator
  • Experience working with varied stakeholders across many industries
  • Ability to work independently when managing a project team, including resolving project issues and troubleshooting IT issues.
  • IT skills, including in CRM software, project collaboration software 
  • Relevant industry knowledge, including tertiary education or qualifications in project management, IT, finance or human resources 

Salary & Benefits:

  • $160k  - 170k package per year 
  • 3 weeks PTO per year, 8 days of sick leave
  • A rapidly expanding industry, where you can collaborate and learn with every project
  • Free lunch, tea & coffee in the office 
  • WFH permitted when not needed in the office

About the team:

  • A diverse and uniquely skilled team from a variety of industries, all with the common goal of delivering projects on time and of high quality
  • Encourages career expansion by offering guidance and training for many skills
  • Sociable! We have weekly office lunches and monthly happy hours!

About You:

  • Driven, goal-oriented and ready to apply your skills to any context
  • Ability to handle deadlines, communications and updates from multiple stakeholders
  • Prioritize team cohesion and encourage collaboration within teams
  • Can appropriately converse with stakeholders and team during times of sub-optimal progress
  • Are ready to join our team and build relationships through office-wide lunches and social hours 

How to Write a Job Description: Template

[Job Title – Hours]

Job Summary:

[Include overview of job position, industry and company profile. Optional: include brief description of perks such as location/salary]

Responsibilities & Duties:

Reporting to the [relevant senior employee], a [job title]’s responsibilities and day-to-day tasks involve: 

  • List basic day-to-day duties
  • Include projects such as reports, drafts, designs or blueprints
  • Include the size of the team managed or department managed (if applicable)
  • Avoid stereotyped language when describing tasks

Qualifications:

  • Possess a [degree level] in [academic field]
  • Has [number]+ years of experience in [relevant industry or roles]
  • (Optional) Has [certification/qualification/license] 
  • Proficient in [IT skills/software/applications]

Salary & Benefits:

  • Base salary of [range] 
  • Available for bonuses or commission [if applicable]
  • [number] days of PTO and [number] days of sick leave
  • Free office lunch/company car/WFH or other company benefits

About the team: 

  • Describe team experience and diversity of industries
  • Characterize the team's attitude towards work
  • Include benefits or social aspects of work

About you: 

  • Personal characteristics
  • Attitude towards work

How to apply: 

Email resume or CV to [email address] by [date]. 

Tips for Writing a Good Job Description

Drafting a job description can be tricky, as you need to describe the role, company and ideal candidate in a way that encourages people to apply. However, since you are more familiar with the role than job seekers, you might be getting in your own way by writing the job description based on your opinion. To create a job description that communicates the job clearly, consider these tips: 

💡 Don’t use internal terms: 

Although you might think that terms within your industry are straightforward, avoid using internal terms when creating job descriptions. Using terms which are specific to your team or company lack context in your job description, and should be replaced with generic industry terms. You should especially avoid them for junior or entry-level roles, where fresh graduates might be put off by your confusing job description! 

💡 Speak directly to the candidate: 

A job description should be written in a way that the candidate can envision themselves in the role. Using distant language in “about you” sections does not allow candidates to mentally check off requirements, and makes the job description seem cold. 

💡 Use bullet points: 

Job seekers look through hundreds of job postings when looking for a job. Seeing a wall of text will likely put them off, as it will take too long to decipher the details and requirements of the job. Bullet points neatly arrange the job description into sections, where candidates can quickly look at the summary and job requirements to see if applying is worth their time. 

💡 Indicate required and preferred qualifications: 

make a clear distinction between mandatory requirements and preferred ones in the job description. Although we can dream of our ideal candidate, it's unlikely that many will fit the description perfectly. Separate required and preferred qualifications in the job description, so that job seekers do not think they are not qualified due to a lengthy list of requirements.

💡 Include growth and development for the role: 

Every job counts as experience, but offering opportunities to develop a career within the job description will attract candidates. Mentioning opportunities for promotions, progress or gaining skills and qualifications is invaluable, and will give your job description the edge.

💡 Ask current employees for insights: 

The best people to ask about company culture and job requirements are current employees. Discuss with the team or department you’re hiring for what exactly their team is missing, in terms of skills, qualifications or character to help you hire employees who will easily blend in with the team. 

🔑 Key Takeaways

Remember to mention essential details and introduce company culture in your job description. Deliberately omitting information will seem untrustworthy, so be realistic about the experience, salary and job requirements when creating a job description. Use the job description to improve employer branding, advertising company culture and benefits when hiring.

Knowing how to write a good job description will make the hiring process easier, as you can avoid misunderstandings and find serious candidates. Make sure you consider existing employees' opinions and use bullet points to neatly format your job description!

With Cake, you can easily create a resume online, free download your resume in PDF, and utilize ATS-compliant templates to create a resume. Land your dream job, create your resume online (free download) now!

--- Originally written by Bronte McNamara ---

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