How to Write an Effective Job Description That Beats the Competition

How to Write an Effective Job Description

With how competitive the job market is, how to write a compelling job description that attracts the right candidates has never been more important.

A good job description accomplishes multiple objectives and achieves a delicate balance: It should give enough details about the role to attract the right candidates, while being concise.

Here at Dynamic we write job descriptions everyday for the job’s we fill, on behalf of our clients. And given how important job descriptions can be to your recruitment efforts, we thought we’d share how to write an effective job description that beats the competition.

But first, what actually is a job description?

What is a Job Description?

A job description sounds fairly simple to write, it’s a description of the job you’re hiring for. But how to write an effective job description that brings in applications from candidates that you want to see, is a little trickier.

The job description should achieve multiple key objectives if it’s to be successful. It should:

  • Give an overview of the company, what it does, and the company culture.
  • Inform the reader what the day-to-day responsibilities are of the role, as well as an overview of the role as a whole.
  • Summarise the essential skills, experience and qualifications that someone needs to have to be successful in the role.
  • Outline the perks and benefits that the company and the position offers.
  • And most importantly, sell the role.

Because a job description is an advertisement, for the company and for the specific job. It should bring in as many applications as possible, to give you as many options as possible for the role.

Additionally, it should try to eliminate potential applicants who aren’t a good fit for the role or for your company, so you don’t waste time looking at unsuitable candidates.

The Structure of Your Job Description

The typical things your job description should include are:

  • An accurate and representative job title.
  • A summary of the company and the job.
  • The responsibilities of the role.
  • The skills and experience needed for the role.
  • And the salary and benefits.
  • Optional section: Key details.

The Job Title

When writing your job description, a good place to start is your job title. And there are a couple of things to think about. The job title of your job description should achieve multiple key objectives:

  • Telling job seekers exactly what the job you’re hiring for is.
  • Attract as much attention as it can.
  • While attracting the attention of the right people.

And there are a couple of tips you should follow for choosing a job title.

Use the Popular Job Titles That People Search For

Different companies have different names for the same job titles. Sometimes this is to more accurately reflect the nature of their role within the specific company, and sometimes it’s to make their employee harder for recruiters to find.

Whatever the reason, you should aim to use an industry standard job title. By using the job titles that people are actually searching for, you’ll improve your SEO results and make your job easy to find by job seekers.

For example, our research shows that the term “Service Desk Analyst jobs” is searched 260 times a month in the UK on search engines like Google.

Meanwhile, “Service Desk Engineer jobs” is only searched 20 times a month. A huge difference for how much attention your job adverts could get.

The two terms are fairly similar, and the job title could easily be interchangeable for some positions. So it’s worth considering which is the right title for your job.

While Make Your Job Title as Specific as It Needs To Be

Having said this, you do want the job title to be specific: So anyone looking at the job title knows exactly what the job is. 

For example, we have a job description on our website for an “Enterprise Network Security Engineer”. We could have simply called it the more generic “Network Engineer”, which might have attracted more attention, with a more generic title. 

But by giving more information up-front, we will grab the attention of Network Engineers who have experience working in Network Security, who would be a better fit for the role.

Job and Company Summary

Before someone will be confident enough to apply, they will need to be confident that your company is somewhere they would want to work.

Give a summary of what your company does

You should aim to give a quick summary of your company, letting the reader know what your business does, while also selling the company. 

For example, is your business a “Managed Service Provider, working on sites throughout the UK”? 

Or “An award-winning Managed Service Provider that delivers innovative network security solutions to some of the largest enterprise sites around the UK”?

Give all the necessary details about work location and environment

Your company summary should give crystal clear information on the details around the work location and environment. 

People generally need to know the precise location of a role before they will consider applying. And including the location for the role will also help it to appear higher in job search results.

Similarly, if your job offers hybrid or remote working, this is important to include too. Flexible working like this can be incredibly important to many applicants, and if they don’t see it in the job description, they may not bother applying.

Insight into the company culture

Something important to include, but not go overboard on, is the company culture. People will want to see if the company is somewhere they would enjoy working.

But as you don’t want your company summary to go on too long, don’t feel the need to write paragraph after paragraph here. A sentence or two will do.

Sell what is unique about your company

Of course one of the most important aspects of your company summary is selling your company to the reader. You should aim to answer the question, why should the person reading this want to work for you?

You may choose to discuss the specific benefits your company offers: 

  • What kinds of next-gen technology or software does your company work with that the candidate will get to work with?
  • The flexible working benefits and what they show about your company.
  • Any awards your company has won, for its culture, quality of work, or as a place to work.
  • The attractive clients or businesses that your company works with.

Essentially, anything you can think to include that separates your business from your competitors in a good way: That your future employee would want to see.

The Role and Responsibilities

The responsibilities of the role are one of the most important parts of the job description. Because before someone applies, they will need to be certain that the job is something they want to do, and something they are qualified to do.

Give an overview of the role

Start by giving a general overview of the role, so the candidate will know what their core responsibilities are.

For example, an IT Support Desk Manager would have an overview like this: 

“As the businesses new IT Support Desk Manager, your work will be primarily split 50/50 between being hands on with technology and team leadership and management.”

Go into detail of the day-to-day activities of the role

Highlighting the day-to-day will give the candidate insight into exactly what to expect from the position. Candidates are much more likely to apply to a job when they have confidence that they could be successful in the position.

Additionally it will help the reader start to envision themselves in the role: To think of it as more than just a job description but an actual job they could see themselves doing.

Here, we would advise including the specific software, technology, and skills the candidate will be working with: To make sure that you attract the candidates who are the best fit for the position.

Discuss how the role will interact with other areas of the business

Something to include would be information on how the role will interact with other teams or individuals within the organisation. 

  • Who will they be working with? Will they be part of a team, or is the position focused on solo work? As this will attract different people.
  • Will they interact regularly with other teams, gaining skills and exposure in complementary skills?
  • How closely will they work with their manager, or senior members of the business? 

Your job here is to show how the candidate will fit into the business: How their work will impact the wider organisation, as well as their own progression and development. 

The Skills and Experience

One of the first things someone looks for when applying for a job, is whether they are actually qualified to do the job. In fact, a LinkedIn study found it was the second most important piece of information for applicants.

Include hard skills and soft skills

It’s important to include both the hard skills and soft skills that you need from your future employee. These can even be separated into different sections, to add clarity.

Technical skills, qualifications, education and experience are incredibly important. After all, they do need to be technically strong enough to complete the task.

But so too are the soft skills. If your role requires communication skills, client management or team leadership, then it’s important to make that clear.

Keep your list concise

When writing your job description, it’s critical to be realistic with your expectation. While you may have a wish list for your future employee a mile long, you should only include the skills and experience the candidate truly needs to be successful in the role. 

If your job description has a massive bullet point list of requirements for the role, they may not even bother reading through to see if they are a good fit. Instead, just decide that the employer is asking for too much, and it wouldn’t be somewhere they want to work anyway!

Say which skills are flexible

Sometimes the skills you need for a role are negotiable, or you can be flexible on. You may be willing to offer training on a certain skill, or would accept someone who has 80% of the right skills. After all, if you’re hiring for a very technical role or in a niche industry, the chances that you get an application from the perfect candidate are very slim.

But if you are flexible on certain skills, we strongly advise saying so. It can get you applications from candidates, who you would consider, who might not otherwise consider applying.

Perks, Benefits, Salary

Compensation is the first thing candidates look for on a job description, with 61% of candidates interviewed saying it’s the part of the job description that matters most.

Include any flexibility in the salary

The salary is the most important part of compensation for job seekers. In fact, including salary in a job description can lead to a 27% increase in applications

Even better, is if you have a flexible range for the position. This allows you to show potential applicants that you will consider paying more for someone more experienced, or the opposite, whether you would accept someone with less experience.

Showing this consideration in the job advert can make people feel more comfortable in applying for the position, and increase the amount and variety of applications your job advert receives.

List the perks and benefits of the position

Sometimes just as important as the salary, are the perks and benefits your job description includes.

We regularly see the candidates we work with willing to accept a lower salary for a role that offers desirable benefits such as remote or hybrid working. So make sure to include company benefits such as:

  • Flexible working hours.
  • Hybrid or remote working.
  • Unlimited holidays.
  • Support with earning certifications or qualifications.
  • Holiday incentives.
  • Social and company events.

Optional: Key Details

An optional section that we like to include at the top of our job adverts, is a key details section to display the most important information immediately.

This could include the job title, salary, location, work environment, language requirements, and any other critical information for an applicant. 

This will hopefully help grab the attention of the candidates you want to see instead of them having to search through the advert for relevant information: while filtering out candidates who aren’t right for the role.

And having information up-front such as the job title and location of the role will help with SEO too, making your job appear higher in search results.

Working With a Recruitment Partner

Of course, when you work with a talent solutions and recruitment partner like us here at Dynamic, we take care of all of this for you! We’re experts at writing killer job descriptions that beat the competition, because we do it every day for our clients.

Additionally, we can also support you to write better job descriptions yourself. We help you to differentiate yourself from the competition because we understand the IT market, which helps you bring in your own candidates passively, and helps you to streamline your own hiring process.

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