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How to Write a Great Job Description

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How to Write a Great Job Description

With the current hiring craze in the Bay Area, there are countless job openings as well as countless ‘run of the mill’ job descriptions.  If you want to get someone’s attention, you need to write a job description that makes someone curious, something that grabs their attention and makes them want to learn more.  Writing a job description with the standard company description from your web page, a vanilla set of responsibilities and a required skills section of 5 or 6 basic bullet points isn’t going to do it.  Candidates view or are sent these descriptions all the time and the majority just don’t pay attention to them anymore.

If you want to make someone curious about your opportunity, you need to first and foremost clearly identify your target audience – who do you want to attract?  Take the time to look at your existing team, especially your stars to help you define the attributes that make those people successful. Assessing your people will help you better understand and describe your team culture.  After you’ve gone through these steps, take a team member or two aside and ask them what they like about working in your team.  This process will help you uncover how your new hire (individual contributor or manager) will fit within the team and why it would be exciting to be part of your team.

While, identifying your audience is critical, you also need to identify why people would want to work at your company.  Regardless if you’re a venture backed startup, Google or anything in between, there is always something a candidate will find appealing about your company and opportunity. For example, if you’re a startup backed by a tier 1 venture capital firm, you may want to pitch your funding, the opportunity to take on a lot of responsibility and wear many hats, etc.  While if you’re a larger public company, you could pitch the work-life balance, extensive perks, etc.   Understanding your target audience will be critical to you being able to successfully convey what they will actually find appealing or exciting.

Once you’ve identified your audience and what makes your company desirable to them, you need to write your job description.  The standard format of About Us, Role and Responsibilities, Required Skills and Desired Skills is fine and actually may be required by your internal ATS, but any format will do.  The most important factor is to make it easy for people to find what matters most to them.