How To Write Job Descriptions That Attract Great Candidates

November, 30, 2016 by Brooke McLaughlin author workhoppers

Whether for a full, part-time or contract position job descriptions are like the nightclubs of the hiring world. Each one wants the best and most people to come inside. But without the right message, the perfect candidate may “walk” right by your job description, or worse, be encouraged to leave. So how do you start attracting the right candidates? By knowing how to write job descriptions!  Here’s a list of the top elements your job description should include to shepherd candidates into your application:

  1. Job Title

Develop a title based on the main function of the job you’re hiring for. While you brainstorm, keep in mind that it’s important to strike a balance between being overly vague and obstructively specific. Candidates will gloss over a title that is not easily recognizable or too focused – so keep things simple like, “Director of X,” or, “Manager of Y,” to cast the widest net.

  1. Department & Paygrade

Different budgets follow different departments. So it’s critical that you clearly define the position’s department and the pay. A murky pay scale description will quickly scare off or confuse great applicants. Don’t waste time tiptoeing – be direct and transparent about salary.

How to write job descriptions

  1. Supervisor

Don’t worry about including specific names, since those can change rapidly – but give your candidates clear expectations. Define where the position falls on the corporate ladder or who this position reports to so there are no questions come onboarding.

  1. Location & Travel

If your company has multiple offices, state where your headquarters is. For travel expectations, describe the percentage in which you estimate your employee will be on the road, “Travel: 25% of the time.”

  1. Education & Experience

If your company requires a certain level of education or a specific degree, be sure to say so in your job description. List the experience that you’d prefer or require, and state if the two can substitute, (i.e., Master’s Degree OR 4 years working experience). If you require both, capture it!

  1. Time & Physical Requirements

Clearly state if the position is full-time, part-time, contracting or an internship. If you’re promoting an internship – be sure to state whether or not it’s a paid gig. If it isn’t, double-check that you’re following legal guidelines. Describe the physical demands of the position but consciously use impersonal language (a good rule of thumb for the entire job description). Talk through the position’s requirements, “lifting 30lbs, sitting, etc,” not the capabilities of an individual.

Job description questions

  1. FLSA

The Fair Labor Standards Act covers a number of employment issues from minimum wage to child labor. There are exemptions to each piece of legislation so make sure you carefully review and understand your employer AND employee rights.

  1. Job Summary and Purpose

The job summary is an area where you can bring some life to the job descriptions. Choose your style and vocabulary to match the culture of your company (or the culture that you’re building). Here’s an example:

“We are looking for a high-energy, innovative marketing guru to join our rapidly-growing team as a dedicated Marketing Manager. Reporting to the Vice President of Marketing, the Marketing Manager will be a key player in our team’s marketing strategy, with responsibility for the planning, execution, and optimization of all marketing programs across the funnel. We are looking for a ‘doer’ who loves a challenge, can learn quickly, and is as passionate about technology and B2B SaaS marketing as we are.”

Knowing how to write job descriptions can be the difference between attracting talent and an (avoidable) employee lawsuit. Do your research ahead of time, cover your bases, and honestly describe the position in a succinct manner. Spending the extra time on a well-written job description now will save you time, effort and many unwanted headaches later.



JazzHR Amanda GrovesAmanda Groves is the marketing manager at JazzHR. JazzHR is powerful, user-friendly, and affordable recruiting software that is purpose-built to help growing SMBs exceed their recruiting goals. For more information, visit

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