If a job description is a chore to write, it will be a bore to read.
At their best, job descriptions attract top talent, make a great impression, and convince only qualified candidates to submit their résumés. At worst, a poorly written job description can derail your recruitment efforts.
For a job post to be application-worthy, it needs to first explain the basic components of the role in a way that resonates with right-fit candidates. Then you can apply the five Cs — Clear, Compelling, Culture Forward, Compliant, and Concise — to transform your job description from informational to inspirational.
Most job descriptions follow a formula. While there’s room for creativity, sticking to this framework makes it easy to build customizable templates and, just as important, makes it easy for candidates to scan a job post quickly.
Many companies have jumped on the creative title bandwagon. But before you post a position for a “Genius” or “Chief Amazement Officer,” remember that most candidates will search by job title.
This section should reflect your Employee Value Proposition, but can be tailored to highlight company values that might be especially relevant to the position. Just be sure to include:
Briefly describe what this position does. Three sentences max!
There’s no magic number for how many tasks, duties, or responsibilities you list in a job description, but consider:
While this statement protects employers, it can also be a red flag to candidates who are worried about scope creep. Some job descriptions include examples of what those duties might entail. Others use a disclaimer at the end of the description. See the job description examples below.
Which requirements you include in a job posting takes careful thought. What you deem “must-have” or even “preferred” can significantly restrict applications to candidates with a narrow set of skills. To encourage a more diverse pool of applicants:
This is the good stuff. In addition to the benefits your candidates expect to see, highlight the perks that make your organization a special place to work: flexible schedule, career training, gym membership, free lunch on Wednesday, birthday PTO, etc.
By creating variations of common components like your company bio and benefits packages, you can highlight your most attractive options based on your desired candidates. For example, someone well-established in their career might highly value your 401(k) match, while an early career candidate may be more interested in your wellness program or a sign-on bonus.
Your best candidates are looking at more than one job posting. Whether or not they submit an application could depend largely on what you post. More than 50% of job seekers say the quality of a job description is very or extremely influential on their decision to apply.
To elevate your job descriptions above the competition, they must be:
Some of these attributes are easier to achieve than others (“Concise,” we’re talking to you!) But taking the time to make sure all your job descriptions meet these five criteria could mean the difference between losing or making a great hire.
It’s true that you have to grab a job seeker’s attention quickly. But it’s better to start with clarity than cleverness.
Working with the hiring manager or department leader, make a list of job characteristics:
Once you’ve compiled this information, organize it into buckets for your job posting.
|Position||Must Have||Nice to Have||Must Include||Nice to Include|
Client Services Manager
Distribution Assistant (Part-Time)
This is your blueprint to write a clear, easy-to-scan job description. Now, to make it interesting….
Although not every job is an adventure, there’s an easy way to make it compelling — think like your candidates. What are they looking for in a career opportunity? Hint: It’s probably not just a paycheck. While most candidates prefer when a job post includes salary information, many rank compensation third behind work-life balance and career advancement.
Here are a few tricks to “perk” up your job descriptions:
What does a candidate really want to know? How it feels to be an employee with your organization.
But describing your culture needs to be more than a paragraph at the bottom of the job post. How can you infuse the entire job description with your values?
For example, at Paylocity, we strive to “earn it, every day.” That means “we meet problems head-on” and “put in the work because that’s what separates good from great.” In a job summary for a sales position, this might translate to “solves challenges and accelerates growth.” For a product designer, it could mean someone who is “unflinching in your desire to create the best user experience possible.”
You don’t need an expensive sizzle reel to show off your company culture. A 15-second video from the hiring manager can make the job — and your culture — come to life. Adding video to your job postings is a great way to differentiate your company in a competitive labor market.
How you write a job description is not regulated by federal legislation, but a growing number of states and cities have pay transparency laws that require you to include compensation information in a job post.
Although not required unless you are a federal contractor, most organizations choose to state they are an equal opportunity employer. You can build on this to describe your company’s commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA). But also look for ways to use inclusive language throughout a job description to prevent unconscious bias.
For internal use, a job description can be as long as it needs to be. When you post it to the world, your job description needs to be laser-focused on the talent you want to attract.
Here’s where using recruiting software to create and store templates can save you time and, just as important, ensure your employer brand stays consistent. You can provide approved variations of your components for hiring managers and recruiters to choose from. That way, you control the word count.
And before you add a laundry list of responsibilities and qualifications, remember: Being concise not only makes your job descriptions more readable, it can also encourage a more diverse pool of applicants.
The following are fictional job descriptions — not actual job openings. But we’d love you to check out Paylocity’s careers page to see our current opportunities!
At XYZ Company, we bring our passion and purpose to work every day. With uniquely designed technology solutions, we’ve changed how work gets done. Come grow with us as we continue to transform the future of business technology!
As the Account Executive, you identify and call on potential clients to differentiate our product in the market. Concentrating in assigned territories, you generate leads through prospecting, sales database management, and networking. You are a self-starter ready to jump in and achieve quarterly sales quotas.
What You’ll Get to Do
What You Bring
What We Offer
XYZ Company is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
We are committed to the full inclusion of all individuals. We comply with federal and state disability laws and make reasonable accommodations for applicants and employees with disabilities. To request reasonable accommodation in the job application or interview process, please contact [email].
Interested? Apply Here
Want to know what it’s like to work at XYZ? Meet some of our employees and see what makes us tick. [link to careers or culture webpage]
The ABC Way
People are the heart of everything we do at ABC Company. That includes our employees, our communities, and especially our customers — who rely on our products every day to make their homes efficient, safe, and comfortable.
As a service technician, you conduct in-home repairs while providing an amazing customer experience. You’ll start with a paid, two-week training program to learn our service approach and the tools of the job, followed by two weeks of ride-along mentorship with one of our experienced technicians.
What You’ll Do
What You Bring
Benefits & Perks
We’ve got you covered in more ways than one! As a full-time employee, you receive medical, dental, vision, and life insurance starting day one. You’ll also get:
Ready to Join Our Team?
ABC Company provides equal employment opportunities and prohibits discrimination and harassment of any type without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, national origin, disability status, genetics, protected veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state, or local laws.
Welcome to QRS
When you feel like you belong, work is no longer work — it’s personal. At QRS, we believe better employees lead to better companies. Workplaces and cultures that care will build the future, and that’s what we’re all about.
To accomplish our mission, we give our employees everything they need to succeed, including excellent benefits like medical, dental, vision, life, and disability insurance. Our financial and wellness benefits are designed to support you and your family. And if it’s career development opportunities you’re looking for, you’ve come to the right place!
What Does a Payroll Analyst Do at QRS?
We’re glad you asked. Using strong accounting, analytic, and troubleshooting skills, our Payroll Analyst’s top responsibility is to ensure payroll is balanced and all variances reconciled.
You would also:
This role can be performed from any office in the US. The pay range for this position is $XXX – XXX/year; however, base pay offered may vary depending on job-related knowledge, skills, and experience. This position is eligible for an annual bonus based on individual performance in addition to a full range of benefits.
What’s It Like to Work at QRS?
We want to be a place where every employee has a voice and feels truly welcome, appreciated, free to be themselves, and empowered and enabled to do their best work. Our differences make us unique, and we actively support these differences and work to create communities of respect throughout our company. [Link to careers or culture webpage.]
QRS is an equal opportunity employer.
The statements above are intended to describe the general nature of the work and should not be construed as an exhaustive list of responsibilities, duties, and skills required to perform the role successfully.
There are many advantages to using recruiting and hiring software. Saving time with streamlined processes is often the number one benefit, and that certainly holds true for creating and managing job descriptions.
Automating the recruitment process with templates gives you the flexibility to customize job postings and applications to attract top candidates. Importantly, it also helps you keep your employer brand front and center.
Finding the right talent for your team can be challenging in today’s market. But with the right tools, it doesn’t have to be a strain on your internal resources as well. Our recruiting platform streamlines the process, bringing you an intuitive way to search for and engage with top candidates. With communication methods like texting and video, and data that helps you track progress, attracting and winning has never been easier.