Writing Job Descriptions That Bring in A-List Candidates

Written by Christopher Knize, CCP, GRP

December 8, 2016

Writing Job Descriptions That Bring in A-List Candidates Hero

Attracting talent to your organization seems like it would be pretty simple – just post a job description on your website or the job boards and let the resumes roll in. But how you create that job description plays a huge role in the quality of candidates who apply. There are several common mistakes companies can make when developing job descriptions that can impact the success of their recruiting. When you fail to provide sufficient information about the job and the type of person needed to fill it, attracting the right candidates becomes a huge challenge.

If your organization finds it difficult to attract the caliber of talent you need, it may be time to refresh your approach to writing job descriptions. Consider the following challenges and mistakes around creating job descriptions – and what you can do to address them.

Mistake #1: Not Fine-Tuning the Job Description for Different Audiences

A job description should be written with multiple parties in mind: the compensation team who will use it to determine the right salary, candidates within the company looking to advance internally, and external talent – just to name a few. However, using the same document for all of these audiences isn’t necessarily the best strategy. The comp team needs a detailed description that goes into the nitty gritty of the job and each important component to attach the right salary level. Yet, sharing such a lengthy description with internal or external candidates can drive them away. At the same time, you’ll need a different approach for both groups – highlighting the company and its culture to those external candidates, while showcasing how the position can help your internal talent continue their success with the company.

Mistake #2: Not Using Automated Technology to Manage Jobs

Understanding the need for multiple iterations of your job description is one thing; now you’ll need to do something about it. But using the same Word doc and tweaking it won’t be the best strategy. Instead, you’ll want technology to help you build and regularly update job descriptions. Such an approach will ensure that your descriptions always reflect your job so you can continuously find the appropriate candidate. While automated technologies simplify the job management process, they also make it easier for stakeholders to review this updated content – enabling version control, normalized job descriptions, and pulling from pre-approved competency libraries to optimize job descriptions on-the-fly. Without technology, the execution and approvals behind this can be extremely drawn-out and unorganized. Being able to search, browse, compare, and approve all this content at once makes the job management process much easier.

Mistake #3: Failure to Focus on the Mobile Job Seeker

In today’s mobile-enabled world, 77% of job seekers use mobile job search apps to find and apply to jobs. However, many companies neglect to adapt their job postings and career pages to meet the needs of the mobile job seeker. Not only must the job description be mobile optimized, but if it’s too lengthy or the candidate has to continuously zoom in to read the text, they will likely move on to the next opportunity. We all know the phrase less is more – and when it comes to mobile recruiting, these are words to live by.

Mistake #4: Not Getting to the Point

Along the same lines as above, a clean and concise job description is key to attracting the right talent, whether on a mobile device or desktop computer. No one wants to see pages and pages worth of text that explain a job, so it is important to get right to the point. Creating job descriptions that focus on the top 5 or 10 job duties that make up 80% of the job will be much more effective than including the minor tasks that make up 5% or less of the job.

CompAnalyst Platform Assists with Job Descriptions

By creating effective job descriptions, you can correctly market price the position and attract the best candidates. But to achieve this goal, the right technology is essential.’s JobArchitectTM provides the tools to do just that, allowing you to standardize job descriptions and create a centralized database for storing, maintaining and updating these materials. It can also build customized templates to ensure overall consistency between iterations.

The system also helps you include HR and hiring managers in the process, allowing them to share their expertise and participate in building and reviewing job descriptions. In addition, users get access to’s library of more than 4,200 high-level job descriptions and key competencies, working from existing materials proven to help companies attract the right talent.

The result is that your company can better determine the right salary for each job, and also push out job descriptions that accurately reflect the nature of the position. By highlighting the duties and skills most crucial to the job, you can attract the best candidates who meet those requirements and are eager to make a difference in your organization.

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about the author
Christopher Knize, CCP, GRP, is the senior product manager for’s CompAnalyst product suite. He has a Master of Arts Degree in International Economics and Finance from Brandeis University, and has attained both a Certified Compensation Professional (CCP) and Global Remunerations Professional (GRP) designation from WorldatWork. 

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