3 Awesome Examples of Job Descriptions

If your company is struggling to find new talent, is it possible that your job descriptions could be to blame? It’s a question worth asking, because your “now hiring” advertisements determine, in part, just who applies for your position. Craft your ads the right way and you’ll capture the attention of talented innovators.

Write a generic post, on the other hand, and you may as well head to the nearest street corner and shout, “Who wants a job!” If you’re looking for a little inspiration to up your hiring game, here are three examples of job descriptions that pack a punch. Remember, if you’re going to spend hours of your time asking strangers open-ended questions in the interview phase, you might as well stack the deck in your favor.

1. Clear and Concise

So what’s the most important rule to follow when writing job descriptions? It’s simple: you must speak like a normal human being. Consider chucking phrases like “core competency,” “leveraging assets” and yes, even “best practices.” If you must use business speak, couch the terms in simple sentence structures.

In other words, don’t be opaque just because it’s the norm. Writing professionals agree that it’s not a good trend, and in fact many don’t even consider this type of writing be a valid form of communication (since it seems to do everything but communicate).Additionally, language like this makes it harder for applicants to understand exactly what the job is and what skills they’ll need to apply. The strongest descriptions use language that’s both succinct and concrete. Take this job ad for a T-shirt designer as an example:

“You will be expected to generate your own amazing ideas as well as illustrate subjects provided to you in a style which the ThinkGeek customer enjoys. You’ll also be making web graphics for the products you help create, as well as filing in other design tasks around the office. You must have a great sense of humor and amazing illustration abilities and technique. Can you draw Rancors with your tablet while blindfolded? Good. That’s a start.”

In this posting, the requirements are clear and easy to comprehend. An applicant can quickly gauge the expectations of the company and can decide whether his or her skill set meets those requirements. When it comes to writing job descriptions, a simple and compact style will save you time, because when you’re clear about your needs, you won’t have to interview candidates who simply don’t fit the bill.

2. Packed with Personality

Have mercy on your applicants. Many of them will have spent days or weeks combing through dry job descriptions while slowly losing hope of ever repaying their student loans. Would it kill you to entertain them a bit? Add some wit to your writing and you’ll capture the interest of all the young creatives. Not sure what we mean?

Take a look at this opening paragraph for Woot.com’s posting for an electronics buyer:

“You started out an acoustic buyer. When you made the change, everyone gasped. One called you Judas, another tried to cut the cable with an axe. But you held on, and now you’re a trendsetter, an industry leader, and sometimes called a visionary in your field. You’ve mastered getting deals on all things electric and you’re reading to push the envelope again. Hey, guess what? Us too! Why don’t we go on the road together, man? And by the road we mean you can buy electronics for our website. See, it’s slang.”

Would this paragraph provide the perfect sample job description if it appeared on its own? Of course not, but it does whet your appetite and make you want to read more. The tone matches the company’s personality – and that’s important. After opening with a bang, this job posting unpacks the necessary details, and does it in a truly unique way with headers like “worst part of the job” and “degrees of separation from the CEO.”

This sends a message to potential employees (and the site’s competitors) that the company is one that’s willing to take time on the details in all areas of their business – right down to their job descriptions.

3. A Challenger Appears

If you’ve ever been forced to sort through a pile of applications, you know that many candidates don’t exactly give it their all. They hand in cover letters riddled with spelling mistakes, and their resumes detail work experience that’s just not applicable. Of course you want to invite a wide range of applicants when you’re hiring, but you don’t want to waste time on people who can’t even bother to proofread. The solution? Issue a challenge like this one, used by Reddit in their search for a programmer: “Applications must be sent to S@reddit.com, where:

  • S is a three-character string which, when given a null terminator and encoded in hex, is equivalent to the eight-digit hexadecimal number H.
  • H is the hexadecimal representation of the decimal number N.
  • N = A * B * C * D
  • A is the number of 1 bits in the current serial number on the SOA record for reddit.com.
  • B is the number of seconds in a day.
  • C is the ASCII value of the character that appears 5304 times in *.html files in a fresh checkout of the reddit repository. (It’s also the EBCDIC representation of the \a character.)
  • D is the port that you typically connect to when you need to get an encrypted shell on some remote machine.”

Is it a riddle every would-be applicant could solve? Definitely not – but that’s the point. This creative touch ensures that everyone who does apply will not only have the skill set needed for the job, but that they’ll also be the kind of people who don’t cut corners, who get excited by challenges and who are happy to put in a little extra effort where it counts. Add a puzzle or other creative task to your job posting and discover employees who are up for the challenge.

Some jobs will always be easier to fill than others. The position of “gourmet chocolate taster” for instance, is likely to generate far more interest than, say, “unpaid data entry intern.” When writing job descriptions for some openings, there’s only so much you can do.

But if these creative examples of job descriptions teach you anything, it should be this: it’s not just about what you say, but about how you say it. Paint a picture of a workplace full of wit and enthusiasm and you’ll attract applicants who mirror those qualities. Trust us – if you write it, they will come.

If you liked this article, check out our other writing at http://www.theresumator.com/blog!

Views: 2520

Comment by Tiffany Branch on August 17, 2012 at 3:20pm

I agree with Daniel. Since the rise of the ATS, I really don't see how it has helped me when it comes to actually recruiting talent. the only thing I use it for is running reports and sending out mass emails to candidates. Other than that, I don't use it very much. (Unless I'm in an organization where I have to.)

Comment by Alasdair Murray on August 18, 2012 at 4:15am

I used to head up a team in an ad agency that looked after the advertising account of one of the largest recruitment consultancies in the world. We had 5 people working in that team and the client spent £1.5m a year on their recruitment communications. Each quarter they would hire a function room at a hotel and invite a cross section of candidates and placements to attend an evening event where they would painstakingly go through all of the communications they had put out in the previous quarter to establish what appealed to the jobseeker and what didn't. These days it's a struggle to get some recruiters to even pay for professional advertising copy. That's the stark contrast now that anyone can post a job online in an instant.

I wrote this a while back on here http://www.recruitingblogs.com/profiles/blogs/good-copy-bad-copy-or...

Comment by Maya Saric on September 18, 2012 at 10:06pm

Enjoyed the post, Eric. Had a few laughs, especially point #3.


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