Job Descriptions


“boilerplate job descriptions won’t cut it in today’s market”

When creating a job posting, do you simply copy and paste from one template to another, or do you take time to creatively market the role you’re looking to fill? If you’re the former, it is time to rethink your strategy. Retaining top talent is a growing challenge, and companies are looking at new ways to build buzz and attract candidates. More creative, conversational, and unconventional job descriptions yield better quality candidates and higher success in filling open requisitions. So when it comes to the traditional job description, what’s changing?


Transparency comes in many different forms. For starters, companies are becoming more open about listing the salary directly on the job advertisement. Doing this creates a balance between employers and candidates, alleviating stress about the dreaded salary conversation. While employers might lose out on a negotiation advantage by doing this, they also avoid wasting a candidate’s time who might be applying for a job that’s below their salary level.

Companies are getting more clear and transparent in how they write about the realities of the day job. For example, they might include the size of budgets they’ll be working with, who they’ll be reporting to, and the types of projects they will be working on. Some even include the challenges and pain points too.

Job descriptions as a marketing piece

The classic boilerplate job description is no longer enough. Instead, employers need to step up their marketing game and consider their job descriptions as a piece of marketing content. It should be branded, catchy, and captivating enough to make someone want to jump ship from one company to another.

For example, Monster has found a new way to engage with talent by creating an app that allows people to include videos directly on their job descriptions! Skill Scout is also helping companies tell their story with their platform that enables organizations to make DIY videos to be used on job descriptions. These companies are tapping into human nature, as job descriptions with a video ad are viewed 46% more than written ones, and job posts get 36% more applications when accompanied by a video.

Another company, Basecamp, created a unique job description in the form of a letter from its CEO.

Get different teams involved with the job description process, as this function no longer needs to live in the hands of the HR team, says Marina Byezhanova, founder of Pronexia.

Byezhanova says that when writing your description, to first think about your hook, and what would make someone want to work for you over anywhere else.

If you think that marketing is someone else’s job, think again!

Focus on what you offer versus what you need

“what’s in it for them”

Byezhanova explains that she sees a growing trend with companies focusing their ads on what they offer, rather than what they need. She says that “The market has shifted. Companies are treating jobs like marketing and sales pieces”. When writing out job descriptions, she encourages clients to shift their focus from “here is what I need” to “here is what’s in it for you.”  If you start working with that in mind, it changes the tone and structure of the description. When writing your ad, make sure the “what’s in it for them” is longer than the list of requirements. Ensure that your list of requirements is reasonable and meaningful, rather than the generic laundry list that most companies default on.

It’s also becoming more relevant to highlight and clearly identify your company culture, provide a strong Equal Employment Opportunity statement, and share information about your values. One candidate reported she accepted one job over another because the posting not only had the company mission statement listed, but the team had listed and explained their unique team mission and vision statement right on the job listing.

Ditching the laundry list of items

“cut the generic stuff out, be critical, and ask yourself what is really necessary.”

When listing out your requirements, put everything down on paper, and shave it down to the most impactful competencies and experiences. Marina challenges the typical description and says to “cut the generic stuff out, be critical, and ask yourself what is really necessary.”

Consider your top 4-5 list of competencies, your top 4-5 required experiences, and commit to those. While you might be tempted to add lines like “detail-oriented “or “ability to adapt to change,” consider that generic points like that don’t really differentiate candidates, or deliver any real impact to your message.

The boilerplate job descriptions won’t cut it in today’s market, and companies need to think more dynamically about the way they interact and engage with their talent pipeline. Let them know what’s really in store for them and don’t be afraid to let your true colors shine through!





Stacy is a RecruitingDaily contributing author and Human Resources professional with a passion for helping employees and leaders build new skills. She regularly shares her insights on professional development, job searching, hiring, and anything else related to human resources. She is passionate about helping people succeed at work. She holds an MA in Educational Technology a BA in Psychology from Concordia University. Connect with her on LinkedIn, Twitter, or at