One of the most essential elements of a job post and hiring teammates is the job description. A stellar job description needs to be inclusive and informative while sparking the interest of keen talent. And not just any talent — you’re looking for qualified, enthusiastic and diverse candidates to join your growing team.
This isn’t always an easy feat though, and (we hate to break it to you) a generic and lengthy list of bullet points just won't cut it in today’s competitive job market. It takes a well-structured, thoughtfully-written job description to attract and help you connect with job seekers for each and every role you’re hiring for at your company. Whether you work in human resources or are a hiring manager, read on for straightforward steps for creating a job description that actually attracts talent. 🤩
- <a href="#best-practices">Best practices for writing a job description</a>
- <a href="#structure">Components of a good job description - the essentials</a>
- <a href="#bonus">Bonus job description sections</a>
- <a href="#example">Example of a good job description</a>
- <a href="#templates">Free job description templates</a>
What is a job description?
A job description is a straightforward and concise description of a role. It clearly summarizes the responsibilities, qualifications, expectations and skills needed for the job and the type of work that will be performed.
An effective job description should have the right amount of detail (without going overboard) in order to “sell” a qualified candidate on the role and your company, with the hopes of getting them to fill in your job application form. For candidates, it will act as the guiding document throughout the interview process. For companies, it’s a key part of your job post and a must-have hiring process.
A job post (or a job posting or job listing), takes the job description a step further — it is the complete advertisement for the open job which includes the job description.
<div id="best-practices">Best practices for writing the best job description 🏆</div>
Textio analyzed over 300 million job descriptions to provide a few concrete guidelines that will help you improve your amount of quality candidates. Here are the job description best practices we stand behind for writing your own:
1. Limit the bullet points
For a gender-balanced candidate pipeline, only 1/3 of your job description should be made up of bullet points. Candidates view bullet points as boxes to check. Research shows that women are less likely to apply to job posts if they don’t check off 100% of the boxes (read, requirements) listed, while men will apply when they meet just 60% of the listed requirements. The fewer bullet points you have the less likely qualified candidates will self-select out of your hiring process.
2. Keep it simple stupid (KISS)
Simple, concise sentences between 13 to 17 words perform best for the job description itself. If candidates are spending less than six seconds looking at your job ad, chances are they won’t stick around to decipher long, confusing sentences.
3. Balance out gender-coded language
Research shows that some words appeal more to one gender than others, which can result in a skewed pool of applicants. Make sure your job description is neutral by running your text through a tool like the Gender Decoder. You could even consider skewing it more towards minorities for roles in which minorities are typically underrepresented.
4. Be brief and concise
Job descriptions with 600-700 words perform best. This is relatively short and should, therefore, help you to get to the point and not go too deep. It is after all an extremely early stage of the hiring process where the candidate merely needs to decide if they're interested.
5. Make it personal
Use "you", "we" and "our" pronouns throughout your description. For example, instead of using sentences like "A suitable candidate will have knowledge of the industry", make it more personal: "You know all about our industry."
6. Review and edit your job description
It’s crucial to get a second set of eyes on your job description before publishing. Ask another team member to double-check it for typos, jargon-y terms and missing sections. Also, check if you’re breaking one of the job description best practices.
<div id="structure">Components of a good job description - the essentials</div>
No matter the type of company you have or work for, a job description that actually attracts talent should be made up of the following sections and have a fairly similar structure. When creating your job description, make sure you’re confident that it’s a true reflection of who you are as a company and what the role will entail.
- Job title
A job title is a brief description of the role that sums up the job you’re hiring for. It should accurately represent the job you’re hiring for in that particular industry and be immediately familiar to potential candidates. If you’re not sure, research the job title you have in mind to check if it matches the responsibilities of this role. You could even reach out to someone in your network to make sure you’ve got it right. For example, you wouldn’t want to put a job post out there for a Graphic Designer when you’re really looking for someone to perform the job duty of a UX Designer.
We also suggest you avoid “creative” job titles (think sales ninjas, digital gurus and marketing rockstars). 🙅 They may be fun and quirky, but it’s best to opt for clarity by using job titles people are familiar with and that are easily searchable on job boards. If you’re itching to write creative copy, reserve it for rest of your job post.
<div class="inpage-callout-container"><p class="inpage-banner-text">💡 Pro Tip: Be sure to follow SEO for job post best practices — particularly for the job title. This will help potential candidates find your job description online.</p></div>
- About your company
A great job description should show off your company. In the about section, include your company mission, values, a sneak peek into the culture and most importantly why candidates should be excited to work there.
Include a short description of your team. Take time to write out what the vibe is at the office, the working conditions, what the general interests and backgrounds are of your team and the kinds of things you like to do together (Trivia? Bowling? Board games? Sports?). If you’re struggling, include anything that illustrates what makes your team unique. This can go a long way in swaying interested candidates.
💡 Be sure to consider how candidates end up on your job post. They could be coming from an ad they saw on LinkedIn or maybe a friend direct-messaged them the job post, making it the first (and maybe the last) thing candidates see from your company. With this in mind, be sure to hit the highlights! You can always link to your career page which should go into more detail on your company for curious candidates.
- Job specification (a.k.a. job responsibilities)
In this “About the job” part of the job description, describe the role you’re hiring for. This may also be considered the “key responsibilities” or "duties" part of the JD. Get your writer’s hat on and tell a story about the impact this person will have on the success of the company.
While you should let your prospective candidate know what their duties will be in this role, focus less on tasks and more on the outcomes and impact of the work they'll do. What will they own and be able to take charge of? How will their assigned duties contribute to the overarching goals and mission of the company? Tell them who they'll be working with and what that'll be like. Also, touch upon the opportunities for growth they’ll have in your company.
Other information to include in the job summary part of an effective job description:
- Tech and tools they’ll use
- Exact job location
- Set or flexible hours
- Work environment (remote, hybrid, in-office)
- About the candidate (a.k.a. job qualifications)
Also referred to as the qualifications, this section should include the list of requirements necessary for your job applicant to do the job. It can (briefly) list the requirements for hard/technical skills, soft skills, education, work experience and certifications.
This is also where you can specify the number of years of experience preferred. However, we recommend giving this a second thought. Your job description may fall victim to the “experience-needed syndrome" which can lead to talented young workers getting shut out of the job market, as well as seasoned workers with relevant experience in other fields. Check out Job Descriptions and the “Experience-Needed” Syndrome for more info.
Ask yourself if experience in years really is important or if you're actually looking for a specific level of ability that isn't necessarily defined by experience. You can tap into some great talent by stating "Ability to create high-quality designs" instead of asking for "5+ years experience as a designer".
<div class="inpage-callout-container"><p class="inpage-banner-text">💡Pro Tip: When writing job descriptions and hiring candidates, it’s best to keep an open mind. For example, not everyone should (or can) have a Master’s Degree. Consider if the qualities you’ve previously listed as requirements are indeed necessary to do the job well.</p></div>
<div id="bonus">BONUS job posting sections ⭐️</div>
If you're struggling to find the right match, you need to go that extra mile to attract candidates that fit your company.
It's not about adding loads more text, but instead letting candidates glean what it's like to work in this specific role and discover whether they would feel at home in your company. You can do that with the following sections.
- Perks and benefits
The “what’s in it for me?” part of the job advert. It’s common to show candidates the benefits they’d receive on the job, along with the expected salary range (more on that below!). 👀
While the monetary stuff is important, perks go beyond just the dough. 💸 After all, not every company can afford endless, costly perks.
In a business that values its employees and fosters a strong company culture, meaningful perks and benefits can be a variety of things. They can be simple but impactful things like fresh coffee, working in a beautiful building, occasional team lunches, a central office location, flexible working hours, outdoor meetings when it’s sunny or being able to work from home. When writing job posts, don't underestimate the inherent (non-monetary) perks your company has to offer.
Additional job perks could include:
- Dog-friendly office
- Office snacks
- Learning and development budget
- Gym membership
- Generous vacation policy
- Pension contribution
- Parental leave policy
- Home office setup budget
- Public transportation stipend
- Visa and relocation assistance
- And anything else that might make your company stand out from the rest. For example at Homerun, we make sure to mention our four-day work week and our Oliva mental healthcare offering.
ℹ️ What about adding salaries to job descriptions anyway?
Adding compensation to job posts and job descriptions is a step in the right direction when it comes to transparency, but it’s important to understand the pros and cons of it. Our view is that this is easier to do in companies that have a clear compensation strategy; where roles are leveled and where employees know exactly what’s expected of them in their roles.
It can be harder to specify a salary range for companies like small startups where roles are often more flexible and teams can be more open to hiring people with different seniority levels. You can first create a compensation philosophy and a career framework, and then go from there.
It’s important to note that in some U.S. states it’s become mandatory to add salary ranges to job posts.
- Diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEI&B) statement
Displaying your commitment to diversity statement on a job description shows potential applicants you’re serious about fostering a diverse and inclusive work environment. It’s a signal to anyone reading (particularly minority or marginalized folks) that your company is a safe space for them. And who doesn’t love that?
Remember though, it’s not just about quickly writing down your commitment to DEI&B — it has to be genuine, action-focused and true. Ideally, you already have a diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace policy so your inclusive job description can be an applicant-focused version of that.
Think of this in a holistic way. If DE&I is important to your company then it shouldn’t only be reflected in this section but in the job post as a whole. You can do this by adding photos of your inclusive work events, including information about the accessibility of your office and being aware of gender-coded language (more on this below).
<div class="inpage-callout-container"><p class="inpage-banner-text">📣 How to avoid hiring bias in your hiring process</div></p>
- Overview of the hiring process
While this is a “bonus” section, we highly recommend adding the hiring process to your job description. It can be hugely helpful for candidates to know what they're in for when applying for a job at your company. Bullet points work well here so list the steps with the number of job interviews and assignments involved in the hiring process, along with the time duration of each. This’ll help candidates make the right decision for them about whether or not they’d like to (or can) apply.
- Other visual elements
Your job description can’t attract talent all on its own. When writing and crafting your job post, show what it's like to work at your company and make it visual!
Get creative by adding attractive visual elements to your job description. This can include:
- A photo gallery with fun photos of the team around the office and team events
- Create a grid of photos with each team member.
- A Spotify playlist of office tunes that your team likes to listen to.
- Your tech stack with logos of the tools you use regularly (Slack? Trello? Figma?)
- A video of a team member explaining the job role.
- Your company's Instagram feed embedded on the job post.
- A map that shows where your office is located or where your team members are based.
- A grid of logos of your coolest clients.
- A list of perks and benefits displayed in a visual, artistic way.
For many people, choosing to apply somewhere is often an emotional choice. The impression they get about the culture of your company is what's going to win them over.
A highly-visual job post and job description can look something like this (plus it’s easy to make when you use software like Homerun):
<div id="example">Example of a good job description</div>
Zooming in, when you put all of these tips and elements together, you can get a job posting like this! Plus, you can easily make a job description as unique, engaging and effective as this example with Homerun’s hiring software for small businesses (you can give it a shot and start a free 15-day trial of Homerun – no credit card required).
<div id="templates">50+ free job description templates</div>
To kickstart your hiring and save you the hassle, we’ve written a bunch of job description templates so you don't have to. Each job description template follows the guidelines listed above.
⚾️ How to use these free job description templates: Copy the "about the company" section of the job you’re hiring for and tweak the text to fit your company and what you're looking for in your next hire. You can also use a job description template to gather inspiration from or you can use it as a starting point for future job descriptions.
Frequently asked questions