How to Fix Your Broken Job Descriptions

How many times have you, as an employer, been excited about sharing a new career opportunity only to see too few of the right people apply? It can be a real drag. Here’s how to fix it.

Are your job descriptions generic, uninspiring or unimaginative? It could be that it’s not connecting with enough good candidates. Is your “laundry list” of job requirements turning away too many people. It could be that good candidates are opting out before giving your company a try. Is your content too generic and hurting your ability to connect? It could be that good candidates who want to care, simply don’t know why to care about you. Whatever the reason for it’s lackluster performance, it’s about to get better.

The job description is dead, long live the job description!

Below are seven ways to improve the job description to help you attract the right-fit candidates you want to hire most:

(1) Tell us about the basics

A good job description should include the basics such as: job title, summary, key responsibilities, qualifications and skills, location, type of employment, and who the person would report to and where they fall within the organizational structure. If you can, include the salary range and a short list of benefits. Too many companies share a long bullet-list of requirements, and wonder why they can’t attract talent. Don’t stop with only the basics.

(2) Tell us about your company

If you want people to be interested in working at your company, then you need to tell them something about your company. Include information about the location or the type of building. Talk about the neighborhood or let people know what is nearby. Talk about the restaurants and food trucks and safe parking. Talk about the great walking trails or parks. Talk about your culture, benefits, leadership team, and the types of people inside your company. Describe the company and explain what it does. Link your job description to all of your great recruitment videos. Include any useful detail that will help to paint a true and clear picture of your company and what it might be like to work inside.

(3) Tell us why we should care

It’s not enough to simply provide a list of requirements and skill qualifications. Anyone can do that, and too many do. A bullet point list that reads like a grocery store list won’t work to attract the candidates you want most. Some of the best employers can get away with it. But can you? To truly connect, take the time to tell people why the role is important, how it will benefit the candidate’s career, and why it should be their next job.

(4) Be your “authentic self”

What is it about your company that is unique or special? Your goal should be to attract the people who are right for the position and the company. You should want “right-fit” people, not more wrong-fit ones.



Many employers believe they will attract more people if they widen their nets keep the job description unspecific. Sometimes it’s true, but most of the time it’s not. A more specific approach will turn away some of the people some of the time, but it will also improve your ability to connect with the right people all of the time.

The next time you post an open job position, do the following:

  • Ask yourself, who are those people inside your company that are like the ones you want to attract? What are their attributes and characteristics? What makes them right for you?
  • Take a good hard look at your employer brand, employer value propositions (EVPs), job description content, and consider whether your preferred candidates will be attracted to what you have. If not, then you might be harming your ow ability to attract right-fit talent.
  • Consider what makes your company unique, and review past talent data to connect others to your distinct company culture, qualities you seek to attract, and work habits you want most.
  • If you don’t have any of this information, read my article on the value of talent data and actionable insights.

Take the time to connect to people’s desires, interests, career goals, interests, and morals – and win their hearts and minds. Attract those you want who want to be with you. Not the ones only interested in securing a pay check.

(5) Tell us how to connect with you

Make sure to include basic contact information so candidates can apply and ask questions. Include recruiter contact information, or even the name of the hiring manager. Add anything that might improve candidate engagement. Tell people the best way to apply to the job, or connect with you. Include the job requisition number (if you have one) somewhere on the job description so that as it gets forwarded and shared and passed through Simply Hired and Indeed networks, others can match it to the right position listed on your career site.

(6) Make the applicant process easy

Our team has experience with dozens of Applicant tracking systems (ATS), and we’ve run into systems that won’t allow anyone to apply – or requires too much information for the target candidates. One of the best ways to improve your ability to attract right-fit candidates is to make the process as simple as possible. Often, you can improve the process simply by removing some or all of the “friction” in the applicant process. Ask candidates what they think of your process, and fix it if it’s broken.

(7) Make it easy for us to share with others

It’s important to give potential applicants a way to share the open job with others. Many people will decide the job is not a good fit for them, but a friend comes to mind. Give people a way to share the opportunity – at least by Email, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook or Google+. It’s in your best interest to extend your reach as far as possible. Make it easy for people to share with others.


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