What is a job description? A well-written job description serves several purposes. First, it will attract candidates to the role and your organization. At the same time, it will help ensure your team has considered the skills, traits and qualifications that are necessary to excel in the role and forms the basis of a structured approach to hiring.
Here are a few general considerations to keep in mind when writing a job description:
How to write a job description
Now that we’ve covered some of the general principles of writing job descriptions, let’s look at the actual components of a job description.
The job title is the first piece of information that introduces the job to the candidate, so make sure it will attract the appropriate audience. Consider what your title might mean in the context of other companies – an “Account Manager” can be a pure sales role at one company and a pure customer success role at another. The key is to make the title relatable and broad enough that you aren’t turning away people who would be a good fit. At Greenhouse, we also like A/B testing titles through our multiple job posts feature to see which titles generate more qualified candidates.
This section contains the meat of the job description. Typically, the description is outlined in 1) a high-level blurb that includes who the role is reporting to and what team the position is on and 2) bullet points that outline the responsibilities of the job. Focus on what candidates will accomplish in the role, using phrases like “You will” to create a more exciting and appealing job description.
These are usually presented as a list of the hard skills a candidate needs in order to be considered for the role. Typically, these are the kind of things you can learn from a resume – anything from previous work experience and required certifications or degrees to familiarity with certain technology stacks. Here at Greenhouse, our Recruiting team takes an open-minded approach to this section since so much of a person’s success in a role is based not only on years of experience or certifications but also on their ability and desire to learn.
Does your voice or tone reflect your company culture, and is it consistent throughout your job description?
Most employers will conclude their job description with a brief description of their company culture. This can include anything, from benefits and perks to an EEO/diversity statement and awards your company has won.
To learn more about Greenhouse’s recommendations for writing a job description, see Best Practices: Write an Effective Job Description.
Job description template
Here’s a template for job descriptions that you can adapt to your needs. Simply fill out the square brackets with the relevant information, use the notes in italics to guide you and add or delete content as necessary!
[YOUR COMPANY’S NAME] is looking for a(n) [ROLE NAME] to join our team!
(Description of the role, key responsibilities, reporting structure, team/department)
Keep it brief: 2 paragraphs max.
Who will love this job:
- Bulleted list
- Use nouns to describe ideal candidate
- Examples: A team player, A leader, A problem-solver...
What you’ll do:
- Bulleted list
- Use verbs to describe job activities
- Highlight team-specific activities first, then list other ways the role will interact with other teams/departments
- Examples: Lead a team…, Motivate customers…, Manage process...
You should have:
- List of qualifications
- Required qualifications first, then (if applicable) nice-to-haves
- Examples: 1–2 years of experience..., Experience building and scaling programs..., Comfort delivering trainings/workshops...
Pay, perks and such:
Below is the copy we use to describe Greenhouse’s culture, benefits and commitment to Diversity & Inclusion. We’re providing it as an example, but encourage you to rewrite it so it reflects your company.
At Greenhouse, we love to celebrate our diverse group of hardworking employees – and it shows. We’re proud to say that in 2018, we were ranked #2 by Crain’s New York for Best Places to Work, #10 Best Company Culture by Comparably and #37 Best Place to Work by Glassdoor, and recognized on Inc. Magazine’s Best Workplaces list. We pride ourselves on our collaborative culture that is pervasive throughout every step of a Greenhouse employee's journey. Starting with our interviews and continuing through our executive “Ask Me Anything” sessions, collaboration is at the heart of working at Greenhouse.
We offer a full slate of benefits, including competitive salaries, stock options, medical, dental, vision, life and disability coverages, FSA, HSA, flexible vacation, commuter benefits, a 401(k) plan and a parental leave program. We also offer some not-so-standard, extra-fun benefits, including learning and development stipends, adoption and fertility benefits, an employee discount platform and, let’s not forget, fully stocked fridges and cold brew on tap. :)
We value diversity and believe forming teams in which everyone can be their authentic self is key to our success. We encourage people from underrepresented backgrounds and different industries to apply. Come join us and find out what the best work of your career could look like here at Greenhouse.
A few final tips for job description success
Shelby Wolf, Customer Success Manager at Greenhouse, offers the following tips:
- Take advantage of the job post feature in Greenhouse – it's a great way to do some A/B testing around job titles and descriptions.
- Limit the number of links in a job description – there should only be one call to action and that is for a candidate to complete the application. Leave out links to your email, career site, social media, awards, etc. and save them for another spot. It can be great to put them on the application thank you page or on your company profiles (LinkedIn, Glassdoor, etc.).
- Keep job titles short and descriptive, just like how you would label a business card. It's tempting to use fun titles like "Recruiting Ninja," acronyms like CSM or internal-level details like Software Engineer IV, but that's not how job seekers are searching for a role.
- Leverage Google Trends, Indeed Analytics, Glassdoor Analytics, etc. for insight into what job titles are most searched in a particular region or industry.
Get the eBook
If you’re interested in more helpful sourcing strategies, download our eBook, How to build a talent operation.