/ Guide

How to write better job descriptions for tech people

by eelco

“Why are all these job descriptions so boring and why do they all look so bland?”. I sat with a friend in a bar. He is currently looking for a new engineering job and sees many ads a day. Not totally sure I knew what he meant, he pulled out his phone and showed me some examples. I asked him to send me some of these and to send me also some nicely written and better-looking recruitment pages. He still hasn't sent me one of the better-looking ones…

Why is this? What is the reason these ads don't compel to the job-seeker? Do companies don't care? After all, they get enough applicants, right? But quality beats quantity. Why would you risk not attracting the best possible candidates by your poorly written and looking recruitment pages?

I've been doing some little research and compared, took many notes and cringed every now and then. I won't add screenshots, nor will I link to them for obvious reasons, but if you are really curious a quick google DuckDuckGo search might help you here.

Why you should care

Finding the best possible talent is the ultimate goal of any job post. The message you send and how it looks makes the difference of any candidate or the best candidate applying. Obviously, you want to attract these best possible candidates. They don't care about your free gluten-free, vegan lunch with kombucha from a tap, or a real-life fußball table. These are just plain nice-to-haves. What the best candidates want is inspiring, challenging work with a fitting compensation. This is what should be front-and-center in your job posting.

“The best candidates don't care about your free gluten-free, vegan lunch with kombucha from a tap, or a real-life fußball table.”

Why many job posts suck

Unfortunately many keep to the old structure. Focussing mostly on what they need and less on what they have to offer.
When they do list what they offer, it's the usual suspects nobody cares about.

How can you do better

It's not all too hard. Really. What is important is to be clear and no-fluff. Write it like you talk to a possible candidate. Let's get over some things step-by-step.

The job title

Have a clear job title. A word or two about the kind of position. So stay away from non-traditional job titles: “Rockstar Engineer”, “Harcore Coder”, “Unicorn Designer” or “Happiness Engineer”. I repeat, do not ever use this kind of titles. They are unclear, make you look stupid and potentially discriminatory.

“Don't ever use titles like 'Rockstar Engineer', 'Harcore Coder' or 'Unicorn Designer'”

Go in-depth in the description

In the description, you can go a bit more in depth. Tell a thing or two who they will be working with. Who will their new team members be? And maybe add some personal details, like where they are based, if they are nature-lovers, etc. Some things candidates can relate too and that will make an otherwise static text more human. Don't use any jargon, it sets the wrong (too official) tone and will turn them off.

Something about your company

Write about your company. Keep it plain and simple. Why do you exist? How did it start? What are your future plans? Do you practice the employee-first methodology? Have an up-to-date team page. If they can see who already works at your company, they can easier imagine themselves already working at your company.

What's your budget?

Never skip the budget you have allocated for the new hire. Ideally, you have all your salaries transparent too. Job seekers want to know if the job is worth their time. High-valued candidates will usually just leave your ad (even if you have the budget for them!). It's also beneficial for you. You don't want to break up negotiations because of differences in pay with an otherwise perfect candidate. Companies who add a clear budget can be trusted more. They treat everybody the same based on their qualifications and output and don't do any nasty tricks to pay someone less than others.

About requirements

Don't go overboard with your requirements. Keep it short and realistic and only mention those that really are requirements.

Add your full tech-stack too, or at least the most significant ones. Use Ruby on Rails for your back-end? Vue for your front-end? Postgres as your database? List them in a visual way, so they'll easily grab the job seeker's attention.

Finally, add some personality to your text. Use some humour from you or your team, if that's you. Keep it real and human. But don't force it. They are human and don't apply to a robot, but a human too. Don't write it alone. Ask for feedback from some of the team you are hiring for. See if they can relate and ask for honest feedback.

Hire better: a free guide

If you want to write a better job description. Leave your email and I'll send it to you in different formats. I will also send you updates on Muna Recruitment, where you create beautiful recruitment pages for free. Where all best practices from this guide come together in a beautifully designed layout.

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