INNOVATE

4 Ways to Write a Killer Job Description

The more time and effort you put into describing the job, the better quality candidates you'll get. Here's where to start.
Advertisement

You need to hire talent. The problem: You're getting lots of applications... but no perfect candidate.

Elli Sharef, co-founder of the online recruiting company HireArt, a Y Combinator grad that uses video and skill-based assessments to vet job applicants, says the problem might be a less-than-stellar job description.

"Many employers think it's not as important to spend time writing a really compelling job description," she says. "But a job description should be treated much like marketing material, like an ad."

In fact, Sharef says after one HireArt account manager rewrote the job description for an interesting position that an employer originally did a poor job explaining, three times as many people applied.

Here's her advice for creating a job description that will entice even the most sought-after talent to consider working for your company.

Don't Use a Template

Sharef says it can take her several hours to write a killer job description, but lots of employers don't want to spend that time and instead search the Internet for one written by another company. The result is something too vague and non-descript to be of use to anyone.

Instead, you should be as specific as possible about the challenges a potential hire must tackle. For example, if you're hiring a marketing person, tell them what ideas they will be selling and what kinds of things they need to communicate to a particular audience. Ideally, you want applicants to be excited about the problems you need them to solve, and even start to think of ideas for doing so.

Also make sure to describe the culture and atmosphere of your company and provide insight as to what types of candidates would fit in best, as well as call out definitive technical skills you can't live without.

Brag About Your Team

The people already working for your company can be a great lure for talent, so why not emphasize the fact that everyone on your team is a rock star or has an Ivy League degree?

"Put that stuff in the job description because people will really care about those kinds of things. They want to know who they're working with," Sharef says, adding that she has seen some employers include in a job description links to the LinkedIn profiles of team members.

Play up Perks

If your company has a generous vacation policy, incredible health benefits, or a stellar 401(k) plan, you want to make sure potential hires know about these things, not to mention other little extras that people like, such as free lunches and dry cleaning.

Sharef holds up New York-based Amicus as one company that offers some unusual bonuses. If you're hired (or refer someone who is hired), you'll get $2,000 in cash for R&D, a full year's supply of craft coffee, an iPad, an Iron Man helmet, an unlimited supply of your favorite drink, a bike, a free gym membership--even a cow, which the company will donate to someone in an impoverished country through Heifer.org.

Consider Your Audience

Capturing the attention of a 25-year-old hacker fresh out of MIT will require different wording than what you'd use to attract a 40-year-old mother, who might be more interested in knowing your company is family-friendly.

Considering that by next year 36 percent of the workforce will be made up of Millennials--Generation Y-ers born in the 80s and 90s--you'd be wise to figure out what's important to them. Sharef points to an infographic created by Intuit that says about nine in 10 Millennials want a fun environment without cubicles and the opportunity to be creative. They also want to be able to dress comfortably and set their own work hours so if you're willing to let a person show up at 10 a.m. wearing sneakers, you might say so.

Last updated: May 15, 2013




Register on Inc.com today to get full access to:
All articles  |  Magazine archives | Livestream events | Comments
EMAIL
PASSWORD
EMAIL
FIRST NAME
LAST NAME
EMAIL
PASSWORD

Or sign up using: