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How to write great job descriptions

Khizar Hayat Saani

Overview

Writing great job descriptions is essential in attracting potential candidates to your company.

Within the software industry, technology talent is in high demand. This means that we compete with potentially hundreds of other companies for job seekers. Thus, the job description must enrich the interest of a potential candidate within seconds rather than repel them. Believe it or not, the latter is quite possible.

There are several sections to a good job description. In this shot, we’ll aim to build a template for a great job description that addresses each of these essential sections.

A job description template

Let’s move towards building our job description template. Before we take a step further, let’s define the essential sections that make up a good job description:

  • Describe the company
  • Describe the role
  • Who you’re looking for
  • Salary and benefits
  • How to apply

We must include these sections, choose the right style and tone and maintain gender neutrality-will propel your job description to greatness. This is a tough task for a document that should not take more than a few minutes to read, which is why writing quality job descriptions requires precision and skill.

Sections of a Job Description

Describe the company

The first part of a job description should aim to describe your company. Most companies have this section designed beforehand, but it’s always good to revisit the description to see if it could be improved.

The main task is to address the purpose and vision of your company in a manner that encourages people to contribute to its success.

Example

Here’s an example:

“Educative provides interactive courses for software developers. We change how developers continue their education and stay relevant by giving pre-configured learning environments that adapt to match a developer’s skill level. Educative provides the best authoring platform for creating interactive content with just a few clicks for instructors.”

Notice how the description is not too technical and readily understood by almost anybody. It highlights a vision and hooks the applicants.

Describe the role

Once the candidate is hooked via the company description, we can move to describe the role that we want them to fill.

This section is important to address why the role is important for the company, what the potential candidate can expect in terms of working for the company in general, and the kind of work they’ll be doing specifically.

The jobs of people working in similar positions at different companies tend to be the same, so we should aim to go deeper and address what it means to work in this role.

Example

The job description for an Author Acquisition Representative at Educative is given below:

We’re hiring an Author Acquisition Representative at Educative.

Educative is connecting millions of developers around the world. We are a hyper-growth platform for interactive text-based courses on many aspects of computer science, cloud computing, and advanced technologies. Our learners rely on us to create engaging courses to get better at their jobs, find better jobs, or experience the joy of learning. We have ambitious goals for courses —and that’s where you come in!

Core Responsibilities:

The Author Acquisition Representative will play a pivotal role in Educative’s hypergrowth sourcing third party authors - published book authors, bloggers, and renowned experts in their fields.

In this role, you will:

  • Work with management and sources to qualify inbound leads
  • Send cold emails and perform outbound prospecting activities to engage those leads
  • Answer prospect questions via email and pre-qualify them as potential authors
  • Convert potential authors to write new courses and transition to the Author Success team for management
  • Nurture and grow your lead pipeline to convert cold leads into warm prospects over time

In addition to managing the outbound motion for author acquisition, you will be the initial point of contact for inbound leads. To these potential authors, you will explain our business model, content creation process, market differentiators, and more.

We are looking for someone with a long-term interest in business development and who can grow scope and responsibility within the Author Acquisition space.

The above example offers a complete description of the role rather than a list of technicalities. It offers the candidate enough to think about and ground to get behind the company and offer their skills to make a difference.

Who you’re looking for

Next, we move towards the type of person you’re looking for. Once more, try not to create a technical wishlist. Instead, focus on the characteristics of the people you would be interested in hiring and how they would fit into the team.

Example

  • Experience in sales or HR recruiting is a plus
  • Self-directed, goal-oriented, and disciplined
  • Strong time management skills
  • High levels of professionalism and accountability
  • Coachable, hungry, curious, and resilient
  • Passionate about technology, education, and/or computer science
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills in English
  • Having previous sales experience is not mandatory. >Still, the ideal candidate will have a “sales hunter” personality: someone who enjoys reaching out to others via outbound emails, enjoys the process of establishing and nurturing relationships, and is capable of handling questions and objections from potential adopters.

Most of the points stated above cover broad traits rather than specific skills. This section should focus on what candidates can do once they have joined the company rather than listing particular skills that tend to be a barrier to candidates applying for the position.

Salary and benefits

This part is essential and often missed out on by most companies. Always try to include a salary range where possible, rather than letting it be a surprise until the end of the interview process. Not mentioning the salary often gives the impression that the company fears it pays its employees too little.

Also, mention any other benefits that the company may offer, such as transport or health coverage.

Example

An Author Acquisition Representative at Educative starts from $100,000 and goes up to $150,000 based on the experience and value to our company. Excellent health insurance, dental coverage, a retirement plan with a significant matching contribution, and Friday afternoons off in the summers are just a few of the many perks that you get here. The office rests by a peaceful river that offers a picturesque view of the boats passing by as we enjoy our lunches every day.

How to apply

Finally, finish the job description with information on how you would like an interested candidate to apply. It is essential to be specific about what is required. For example, mention it if a cover letter or previous work details is needed.

Example

Write a short application that contains brief details on your previous job experiences. We’d love to hear about them. Along with the application, please send us your resume at careers@educative.io. We are open to this role being part-time as well.

Style, tone, and gender-neutrality

A great job description aims to attract potential candidates rather than repel them. To keep your description from having the effect of excluding candidates, you should:

  • Not to write a long list of requirements
  • Not to use gender-based language
  • Focus on the work, not on timings and be flexible
  • Champion diversity

By focusing on the above points, you can ensure that your job description is inclusive and relevant to people everywhere.

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Khizar Hayat Saani
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