The importance of a good job description
A good job description is mutually beneficial to both candidates and employers.
For candidates, a well-written job description allows applicants to quickly determine if they are 1) interested in the role and 2) if the required qualifications and experience mean they can apply and progress to the next application stages.
For employers, a compelling and thorough job description attracts a suited calibre of top applicants to apply, saving you time and energy rejecting candidates that aren’t quite right for the role.
Graduates are 24 times more likely to apply to our client’s EdTech roles than others, 11 times more likley for our client’s Legal roles, and on average, 2.7 times more likely to apply to job specs witten by our team across all major sectors.
At Give A Grad A Go we use our years of experience in the recruitment sector and insightful marketing knowledge to make sure our client’s jobs are seen, and within 48 hours they will receive a shortlist of perfectly-matched candidates to their roles.
1. Give your vacancy an accurate and recognised job title
Arguably one of the most important aspects of writing a job description and how to hire the right person, is to give your job the right title.
When naming your role, it’s beneficial to first write down the responsibilities and duties of the role as this will help you clearly see what department the role falls under and the seniority level of the role.
Name your role something that graduates will be searching for, don’t try and create a new job title and name it something particularly niche, as your job won’t rank on Google searches.
Download a free SEO tool such as Neil Patel’s ‘Ubersuggest’ which is a free tool that allows you to quickly see the job titles that people are searching for. Give your role a title which gets a high amount of Google hits.
Make your job title concise, with the seniority of the job (e.g. Junior, Graduate, Midweight, Senior) the job title (e.g. Analyst), followed by the location if the role is particularly niche or if you’re hiring internationally.
Visit our blog for more advice for international companies hiring graduates.
2. Begin with an attention-grabbing job summary
Underneath your job title it’s then important to have a short, but impactful job summary.
Make sure that within a few sentences any candidate can quickly gain an insight into the type of company, the industry you operate in, the exact location of the job and what you are looking for.
This is a candidate’s first introduction to your role and company, so you want to quickly gain their attention and allow them to determine if they want to continue reading the whole description.
You don’t want to go into too much detail, but just enough so you have the reader hooked. Here’s our example job summary template:
“We are a fast-growing technology start-up based in Sydney. [company type and industry] Already working with some of the biggest fashion retailers including Levi’s and Topshop [sell your company with an impactful sentence], we’re now looking for a graduate Marketing Executive to help get our brand out there further and develop our website [the role and brief expectations]
3. Describe the responsibilities of the role in detail
Next, you want to go into detail regarding the specific tasks and responsibilities the role will be responsible for.
Give enough detail so a candidate will be able to visualise what a typical day in the role would involve and if they can seem themselves suiting this role.
Avoid generic and vague descriptions, and instead go into detail about the specific responsibilities, such as particular software they will be using, what channels they will manage, who they will be liaising with regularly and who they will report to.
It’s also beneficial to help the candidate understand the bigger picture by explaining how the position fits into the company, the team they will sit under and who they will be working alongside.
You also want to use this section of the job description to set expectations.
For example, instead of saying “Responsible for customer service and resolving customer queries”, use this as an opportunity to set the level of expectations you require from the beginning – “Addressing customer queries and solving their issues as they are raised, delivering an amazing level of customer service”.
Describing responsibilities and duties in as much detail as possible will allow a candidate to see if the typical tasks of the role interest them and if they feel equipped to carry them out.
4. Be clear about the type of candidate you are looking for
A crucial way to hire the right person for a job, is to be clear from the outset on the required skills, qualifications and experience of your role.
Think carefully about the level of experience you want to attract to your role, for example stating “2 years required experience in x field” is likely to put off recent graduates applying, and attract a more senior level.
It’s a good idea to figure out what is ‘required’ for your role and what is more ‘preferred’, as absolute requirements can easily limit groups of applicants from applying.
Including phrases such as “experience with X is a must” and “experience with X would be a bonus”, allows a candidate to determine if they can apply based on what is essential and what is helpful to have but means they can still apply.
If you’re recruiting for graduate roles, include if a degree is necessary, the required grade and if any particular course is preferred.
List any software/platforms that you require experience in and if a certain number of years are essential.
Be sure to include a mixture of hard and soft skills to help give a candidate a rounded view of what the company expects skill wise and personality wise.
If you’re unsure about what soft skills to include on your job description, visit our blog for the qualities of a good employee.
Tailor the requirements of the role to your company, for example, if you’re a new start-up, include phrases like “you will have a hands-on approach and are ready to take on new challenges”.
Or, if you’re a busy recruitment company add a sentence such as “you will have excellent multi-tasking abilities and work well under-pressure”. This all helps to set expectations from the start and gives a candidate an insight into your company culture.
5. Sell the opportunity and what’s on offer to the candidate
An important part of how to write a job description letter is to sell your company and the role to a candidate, giving compelling reasons why they should apply to your opportunity.
Include a ‘benefits of the job’ section in your job description, listing the job salary, job progression opportunities, benefit packages and other perks of the job.
Whilst salary is an important part of a job, it’s not the only thing candidates will require in a role, so be sure to list other benefits such as training packages and how the role will progress.
This is also a great way to attract candidates who want to progress in their career and grow with your company.
Be sure to tell a candidate about any exciting projects you have upcoming, such as working with new clients, and any impressive facts such as the rate your company is growing, if you’ve recently gained funding or won a recent award – shout about your company and get candidates excited to apply!
It’s also useful to list other company perks such ‘sociable office with 5pm finishes’, ‘free fruit/snacks’ and ‘regular company socials’.
This will help give a candidate an insight into what the company culture is like and help them determine if it’s a company they want to work for.
6. Use inclusive language
Now more than ever it’s important to ensure you are using inclusive language in your job descriptions and not preventing certain groups from applying due to their age, gender, race, disability, religion, sex, gender or other category that could be classed as discriminatory.
An inclusive workplace starts with writing inclusive job descriptions, so it’s important to be aware of certain phrases to avoid and practices to follow when writing your specs.
It’s a great idea to have a company diversity and inclusion statement in your job descriptions, either at the top or the bottom of your spec stating that you are an inclusive employer and that candidates from diverse backgrounds should apply to your roles.
This is attractive to many candidates and shows you are actively working to be a responsible employer. Here’s our example diversity and inclusion statement:
“Give a Grad a Go is committed to being an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, faith, disability or other. We are continually finding ways to improve the way we work, read our Diversity and Inclusion promise for more information about this.”
Even if you are recruiting for a graduate role, avoid using phrases such as “young work culture” and “lively environment”, as this classifies as age discrimination.
Recent research has also shown that specific adjectives in job descriptions have a certain gender bias and appeal more to one gender than the other, for example, ‘strong’ and ‘disruptive’ have been proven to appeal more to men and put off women from applying to roles.
Tools like Gender Decoder are useful to highlight any cases of gender bias in your specs and help you fight subtle bias in your job ads.