back to blog

Write a Winning Job Description

We all know that resume mistakes can make or break a job seeker’s chances. A clean, easy-to-read format with clearly stated objectives and a touch of personality are key elements. But how often do you apply these standards to your organization’s job listings? Have you found all too often that your job descriptions attract the wrong candidates? With the help of Karissa Vivatson, account manager at Monster Worldwide, we explore the job description elements that hit the mark with the right talent.

Remember: This is Marketing!

First, Vivatson says job listings often fail when hiring managers and recruiters forget the listings are branding tools. The format, content and tone can make all the difference.

“Not taking the time to write an effective job description not only hurts your ability to get the right candidates to apply, but it fosters bad brand recognition as well. If job seekers associate your logo with bad job postings, they will most likely not apply to your jobs.”


Think of the standards you apply to resumes coming in, and apply those same standards to what you’re sending out. Bad grammar, misspellings, unclear objectives and too much clutter on the page may turn off great candidates. Remember that attracting top talent these days is difficult. Many job seekers are in high demand and can be hard to impress.

“Have an easy-to-read format with bullet points so the seeker can skim through your job postings and its requirements easily,” recommends Vivatson.

Once you’ve cleaned up your act, you may need to think outside the box to set your listing apart.

“Start out by enticing the seeker: What’s in it for them? Draw them in with the first couple sentences to make them want to keep reading,” Vivatson says, adding that what makes your culture different should take center stage. “Put what makes your culture unique in the job postings to ensure you stand out above your competitors.”

Do you hold happy hours, give great bonuses, have casual dress Fridays? If you do, then mention it, she adds. If it’s something your organization values, it’ll attract job candidates who value that same thing.

Salary is Important

Much talk has centered around pay transparency lately, and with good reason. A recent Cornell and Tel Aviv University study confirms transparent salaries can have a surprisingly positive effect on productivity (as long as the salaries are perceived as being fair). When it comes to listing a salary or salary range in a job description, the benefits can translate into attracting the target candidates you’re seeking—no more, no less.

At The HT Group, we’re often asked at what point salary should be discussed when hiring. More and more, our advice leans toward early and transparent disclosure for many positions. Our reasoning? Quite simple: Withholding salary information may be shooting you in the foot. If you chose to do so, have a compelling reason.

Human resources expert Susan M. Heathfield concurs, stating, “I can see all sides of this debate and have taken positions on both sides in the past.” But, as she points out, times have changed. “The online job application world has made me rethink much of what I believe, however, because of the time job applicants invest. I now lean toward believing that employers should supply salary information, albeit a broad range, in job postings.”

What’s Your Secret?

In the end, the tone of your listing and whether you choose to list a salary or salary range is strictly in your court. It has everything to do with your company’s culture, the type of candidates you hope to attract, and even the standards in your industry and among your competitors. To fully address these issues, working with a recruiting specialist or an expert like Vivatson is key.

Have you found that certain small tweaks to your own job listings have made a big difference in who those listings attract? Share your thoughts with our community here!


Image credit: pixelrobot / 123RF Stock Photo