With a well-written job description, small business owner Ari Takata-Vasquez has made 7 Localwise hires.
If you’ve read one job description you’ve read them all—at least that is the way it often feels. That's because most job post descriptions tend to be generic.
If you need some job posting tips, we're here to help — in reverse. Here are a few things you can avoid to make sure your next listing stands out in the sea of endless content.
1. Confusing job title
What exactly is a Growth Hacker anyway? While we understand the desire to rebrand old job titles to make them sound sexier, consider that trendy titles may not be so “hip” next year.
Making your job titles clear and specific will go a long way toward recruiting the right talent for the job, as opposed to say, just another generic Team Member/Everything Specialist. Also, on a side note, the term “rock star” should only apply to those who actually play music. Thank you.
2. No personality
Beginning with a template is a great place to start. We have a few job description templates that will help get you heading in the right direction. But don’t forget to let your voice come through in the post. Showing a little personality will help better reflect your company culture.
3. Making it all about the employee
While finding the right person for the job involves crafting a character sketch of your model employee, don’t forget to say a little something about yourself as well.
Tell employees why this is a great place to work and a great team to be a part of. Remember: you are selling them too. Showing them why you are the best employer around will quickly attract more applicants to your job posting.
Don’t just phone this one in by reposting last year’s job description. Put that old post through another draft. Update the language. Inject personality and hone your responsibilities and requirements sections to better target your ideal employee.
5. Not legally compliant
By all means, avoid ageist or sexist descriptors. Consider “energetic” instead of “young.” Instead of referring to waiters and waitresses, go with the more inclusive “servers.” Shopgirl is a novella by Steve Martin. It is not a good job title in the 21st century.
6. Missing wage information
This is especially true for hourly jobs as you may end up wasting your time interviewing people who are not willing to work for your wage. While it is common to include DOE in this section, presenting a realistic “ballpark” wage range will help you hire the right person faster.
7. Missing information
If you find that certain positions have a higher turnover rate, maybe double check that listing to make sure that you are including all of the essential job functions. People like surprises, but usually not those that involve extra work.
8. Inaccurate information
“That’s not in my job description” is something no employer ever wants to hear. So consider: What job functions are absolutely essential? Make sure to include all vital responsibilities in your job description (e.g., are heavy lifting or standing for long periods of time part of the job? If so, include an estimated weight and/or length of time, respectively).
9. Too much jargon
The thing about jargon is you have to be in the know to understand it, so we can see why it may be tempting to include field-specific terms like “content curation” or “above the fold” when searching for the next marketing “rock star.”
However, much of the jargon we encounter in job descriptions today creates confusion and sends potential candidates to the Google search bar. And you know where that leads: down the rabbit hole and far away from your job description.
The same rule applies to empty clichés such as “self-starter” or “hit the ground running” as well as abbreviations and acronyms that are unclear (e.g., favor “user experience” over “UX”).
10. Treating desired skills as required skills
Try differentiating between levels of requirements or including a phrase like “strongly preferred” if a skill set is not absolutely necessary.
11. Unrealistic expectations
Expect the unexpected, but within reason. Looking for someone who speaks 5 languages, has 15 years of programming experience, and a great design sense is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. And you just might scare them away before they get to the interview.
Prioritize requirements and highlight only those that are essential to the job.
12. Too generic
Sometimes it feels that if you’ve read one job description, you’ve read them all. But that shouldn’t be the case. All employers are seeking motivated, hard-working, diligent team players. Take a moment to consider the exact kind of person you really want to attract and what specifically makes your company different than all the rest.
13. Too much emphasis on years of experience
While experienced candidates are desirable, consider the opportunity to recruit those candidates with fewer years under their belts as employees who will potentially grow with the organization and have a willingness to learn from others.
14. Too long
Repeat after me: Economy is beauty. Less is more. Brevity is the soul of wit. Feel free to recite any of these mantras before sitting down to write a long meandering job description. Favor bullets whenever possible. Concision and brevity are key ingredients to professional writing, so keep it simple and to the point.
15. Too short
Less may actually be “more,” but keeping it brief doesn’t mean dumbing it down and over-simplifying your job descriptions. Make sure you have included the essential information without editing the personality right out of the post.
16. No bullet points
The only thing worse than a lack of bullet points is too many bullet points. While it’s always a good idea to break up the text with lists, try to keep them to one line and use no more than five if possible.
17. Spelling & grammar mistakes
This is a no brainer. Follow current style guidelines, spell check, and if you are unsure about usage, a quick search will often remedy the situation. If you want to attract intelligent, capable employees, make sure to edit your post for accuracy.
Reading a well-written job description, one with personality and voice, is like a breath of fresh air. It’s inspiring. It represents your business, so it is worth putting in the extra time.
Of course, nothing beats a pair of fresh eyes before publishing, so it’s always a good idea to ask the other people on your team, especially those already in the same position, to give feedback before you post.