Employer Branding
How to write a job description: a complete guide

A great job description

One of the most essential elements of your job post is the job description. Job descriptions need to be clear and informative while sparking the interest of talent. And not just any talent, but qualified, enthusiastic and ideally diverse talent.

This isn't easy, especially since candidates on average spend less than 6 seconds on job posts. This means that a generic list of bullet points just won't cut it. It takes a well-structured job description that's thoughtfully written. Here's how to go about it:

The format and style of your job description

Before you start writing your job description, it's important to think about its format and style. The go-to format is the long list of bullet points under the headers "Description" and "Requirements". We've all seen them! It's not surprising that job posts like this don't attract many quality candidates: 

A bad job description

A study by Textio that analyzed over 300 million job descriptions and came up with a few concrete guidelines to follow to improve the amount of quality applicants you attract:

  • Don't go overboard with bullet points: For a gender-balanced pipeline, only 1/3 of your job description should be made up of bullet points. People see bullet points as boxes they have to check. Research shows that women are less likely to apply to job posts if they can't check 100% of the boxes (requirements) listed, while men will apply when they only meet 60% of the listed requirements. The fewer bullet points you have the less likely good candidates will self-select out.
  • Keep it simple stupid: Simple, concise sentences between 13 to 17 words perform best. On average candidates spend less than 6 seconds looking at your job post so chances are they will not stick around to decipher long confusing sentences.
  • Balance out gender-coded language: Research shows that some words appeal more to one gender than the other which can result in a skewed pool of applicants. Make sure your job description is neutral by running your text through a tool like this one. You could even consider skewing it more towards women for roles or industries in which women are underrepresented.
  • Keep it short: Job descriptions with 600-700 words perform best. This is relatively short and should, therefore, help you to get to the point quickly. It is after all an extremely early stage of the hiring process where the candidate merely needs to decide if they're interested in the job. You can explain the role more deeply in an interview.
  • Talk to your candidate and not about them: Use "you", "we" and "our" pronouns throughout your description. For example, instead of using sentences like "The ideal candidate will have knowledge of the industry" make it more personal – "You know all about our industry."

Must-have sections of your job description

So what should your job description actually say? We've identified 3 sections that'll provide just enough information to spark interest without going overboard:

1. Description of your company: About the company

I hear you saying "Isn't my career page meant for company information?" Yes, this is true, but we suggest also dedicating a portion of your job post to this. Consider how candidates end up on your job post. They could be coming from an ad they saw on Facebook or maybe a friend DM'ed them the job post, which means the job post is the first (and maybe the last) thing candidates see from your company.

If you jump right into the role description candidates who don't know your company will wonder "Wait, where would I be working?" So provide enough context about your company for your job post to stand on its own. On your career page, you can go into more detail so that candidates who are interested can dive deeper.

In your job description, hit the high points! The company mission, the values, what the culture is like and most importantly why candidates should be excited to work at your company.

2. Role description: About the job

In the "About the Job" section describe the role. You might be tempted to break out those trusted bullet points here. Instead, tell a story – a story about the impact the person in this role will have on the success of the company and its mission.

Focus less on tasks and more on outcomes and impact of the work they'll do. What will they own and be able to take charge of? How will their work contribute to the goal of the company? Tell them who they'll be working with and what that'll be like. Also, touch upon the tools and tech they'll have access to in order to reach their goals at the company.

3. Job specification: About you

These are the requirements or "About the candidate". But since we're addressing the candidate directly it should be "About you". This is where we suggest you use bullet points, as it's important to be to the point about what you're looking for in a candidate. Make sure that these bullet points only make up 1/3 of your job post, though. So only include the must-haves and leave out nice-to-haves for a gender-balanced pipeline and the highest amount of quality applications.

Include a mix of hard skills, soft skills and required knowledge that your candidate needs. This is also where you can specify the number of years of experience preferred. Think twice before adding this, however. Your job description may fall victim to what is called the “experience-needed syndrome" which means you're shutting out many talented young workers as well as seasoned workers who have have relevant experience in other fields. It's worth reading, Job Descriptions and the “Experience-Needed” Syndrome to learn how to avoid this.

For now, ask yourself if experience really is important or if you're actually looking for a specific level of ability that isn't necessarily defined by experience. You could find yourself tapping into some great talent by stating "Ability to create high-quality designs" instead of asking for "3+ years experience as a designer".

A job description example

When we put these sections together and follow the advice on style and format we end up with something like this:

A job description example

50+ job description templates

We've gone ahead and written a bunch of job description templates so you don't have to. Each of them follow the guidelines listed above.

All you have to do is write the "about the company" section and tweak the job description template to fit your company and what you're looking for in your next hire. You can also simply use them as job description examples to gather inspiration from.

Nice-to-have sections of your job description

So what we've covered so far is a great place to start and it might already lead you to finding your next hire.

BUT (you knew it was coming), it's kind of the bare minimum of what your job post could contain. If you're struggling to find that perfect match you need to go that extra mile to attract candidates that fit your company.

It's not about adding loads more text about the role, but it's about letting candidates gleam what it's like to work in this role and discover whether they would feel at home in your company. You can do that with the following sections:

Describe the team

A short description of your team accompanied by a nice grid of pictures really helps to create a complete picture of your company. Take some time to right out what the vibe is at the office, what the interests and backgrounds are of your team and the kind of team events you like to do together (bowling? boardgames? sports?).

Basically include anything that illustrates what makes your team unique. This can go a long way to sway candidates to want to become part of the team.

Company perks

Tell candidates about the things that truly make it a pleasure to work at your company. These are your perks! Show them off with a simple list of bullet point, but even better is if you can show them off visually like this:‍

Don't have big monetary perks like a car, a huge training budget or a gym membership? No problem because you surely have inherent (non-monetary) perks that your team values. Perks can be simple (but impactful) things like fun daily team lunches, delicious coffee, working in a beautiful building, flexible working hours, having meetings outside when it's sunny or being able to work from home.

What the application process looks like

It can be hugely helpful for candidates to know what they're in for when applying at your company. Writing out the steps with the amount of interviews and assignments will help candidates make a good decision about whether to apply.

More visual elements that you can include

Your job description will not attract talent all on its own. So when putting together your job post, be sure to show what it's like working at your company not just textually but visually! Keep in mind that 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.

So get creative and add a variety of visual elements to your job post:

  • Add a photo gallery with fun photos of the team around the office and team events
  • Or shoot some nice photos and create a grid of photos with each team member.
  • Add a Spotify playlist of office tunes that your team likes to listen to.
  • Show off your tech stack with logos of the tools you use regularly (Slack? Trello? Figma?)
  • Add a video of a team member explaining the role.
  • Embed your company's Instagram feed on the job post.
  • Add an embedded map that shows where your office is located.
  • Add a grid of logos of your coolest clients.

When you put this all together you end up with something like this:

The best job description

Easily create a job post like this in

That's it!

That covers everything you need to create a job description that will spark the interest of candidates. And not just any candidates but ones that will be a match for your company! Whether you use one of our job description templates or you write one yourself, you're bound to get applications you're impressed with. And you'll be one big step closer towards finding your new team member!

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