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Revitalizing Your Job Description

Revitalizing Your Job Description

If you’re a recruiter, no matter where you work or what kind of corporation you work for, it is in your and your company’s best interests to stay abreast of the latest trends in the recruitment world. These days it’s not good enough to simply place an ad and hope you’ll fill the position; more active involvement is required. Not only do recruiters need to be proactive to succeed, but the modern-day recruiter is also now faced with a new set of challenges. Below are some of the significant obstacles faced by recruiters as well as some suggestions on how they can cope.

Sometimes we put too much emphasis on the shiny new HR Technology product or the trending social media site and assume that it’s the answer to our recruitment challenges. The truth is, if you really want to make an impact on your recruiting strategies this year, take a look at something that’s been in existence for years – the company job description.

Job descriptions play an integral role in recruiting candidates, yet we’ve ignored them for years, only to see them wither away in obscurity.

Most active candidates come across your job descriptions as the first touch-point with your brand, and even passive candidates check out a job description to see if a potential role interests them (most recruiters will even send a direct link to the candidate). Candidates can hit dozens of job descriptions before coming to yours, so how are you separating yourself from your competitors?


Like any other strategy you put in place, take a step back and understand what your goals are. For a job description, you have two goals: to inform and then drive action based on a candidate match. It’s not, I repeat, it’s NOT to detail every possible task that employee will have to handle over the coming years. Inform and motivate towards action. Those are your goals.

Format & Flow

OK, so keeping your goals in mind, you want to consider the structure of your story (and yes, a job description should be considered a short story). Here’s the structure I’ve found effective:

  • A strong opening with 2-3 sentences about the role itself. Explain it in a concise way that speaks to the broader meaning and purpose of the job.
  • Then, move into WHY a candidate should join your company. Skip the corporate jargon and go straight into your employee value proposition and core brand values.
  • A short, bulleted list of key duties and responsibilities and minimum qualifications. Target 5-7 bullets.
  • Bring it to a close with a longer explanation of the company, what you do and why it matters and end with a strong call to action to encourage the viewer to hit that big, shiny apply button.

Additionally, consider some visual cues to freshen up your job descriptions too.


A job title is not the place to get cute. Stick to the standard, widely-known way to refer to the job. Remember, it has to show up in a search result, and I don’t know any candidate who searches for “Senior Road Warrior Sales God” (yes, I’ve seen that). Listed are a couple of things that can one can employ to improve SEO.


There is some debate about the appropriate length of a job description, but for most jobs, short and sweet is recommended. Keep it between 500-700 words.


Stay true to your brand voice and understand, once again, your goals. You want to put your employer brand front and center, so recognize you’re speaking to a person who’s interested in a new career. Inform them what it’s like to work @ ABC company and inspire them to join the team. Remember, there are tools out there that can help evaluate your language choice from a diversity perspective, as well as overall grammar and word usage, so utilize them.


For many larger organizations, it becomes a challenge of who writes the job descriptions and how to keep them consistent over time. This is worth your time to figure out; otherwise, you could spend lots of time and effort upfront creating the best job description ever, only to see it get watered down and edited months later until you no longer recognize it. Put a formalized structure in place.

Revitalizing your job descriptions requires internal partnerships at most companies but shouldn’t take a dollar from your budget. That in and of itself is a win. Your job description is quite possibly the most visible aspect of your recruitment efforts, and with some improvements, could provide you the greatest return as well.