How to Write a Job Description That Gets Qualified Job Seekers

Written by: Derek Zeller
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It is more than likely your job posting is about as entertaining as a movie made with a camcorder and poor lighting—sort of a Fellini film with less purpose or style. That means your job description is a poor reflection of what the role is or what is truly needed to be successful for the role. THAT is why you get résumés from people who want a role with your company but are not quite sure if they are a good fit or not, so they take a shot. 

Earlier today I was having a conversation with a great friend and recruiter for Google, and she and I were chatting about race and gender inclusion and how to get the people we were really looking for to apply for roles. Even Google has difficulty hiring. Interestingly enough is that men will apply for a role that is a 60% match for them, yet women will only apply if the match is 90% or higher. That is telling in many ways, to say the least. Ok, you are saying to yourself while reading this post, what can I do to rectify this situation that my company may be facing? Well, you have come to the right place.

Job posts do not need to be overly complicated nor do they need to be wordy like some of the posts I have done in the past. Simply put, the first paragraph should be about the perfect candidate and not what your company provides or does. Candidates are smarter now and are doing more and more research on the companies they want to work for; therefore, traditional postings are less interesting to them. They just want to see if they are qualified, what the role entails, and how it could potentially help them further their career.

Some of the best job posts I have written in the past have been concise and to the point with a short intro about what the role would entail and then put, in bullet point form, the skills that are required to do the actual job and be successful in doing it. Like this example:

Required Skills for this Role

  • Experience with C++ or Java back-end development
  • Experience with coding in a UNIX environment, preferably Linux but any flavor is fine
  • Experience in a team environment

Simple and easy. At the end, you can add your skills wish list. These are those desired skills that are nice to have but will not disqualify the candidate nor reduce their chances of getting an interview for the role:

Desired Skills for this Role

  • Scripting languages such as JavaScript or .Net
  • Experience writing API’s
  • Comfortable in a fast-paced environment

Simplicity can be your friend when writing a good job description and if you get it right, success is not far behind.