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8 secrets to writing decent technical job descriptions

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To land the stellar talent you’re aiming for, it’s key to have an effective job description to get them interested in your role - and persuade them to apply.

But if you think it’s just about listing the key duties, skills and competencies and industry-specific requirements that go with the role, think again.

The best job descriptions cover what the position is actually like and what the ideal candidate will have in their toolkit - but they’ll also show what you can offer as an employer and enthuse candidates about being part of the team.

As we know from helping clients recruit technical professional talent through RHL, if you want to appeal to the best candidates you should demonstrate how your company will be the right fit for them - not just the other way around - and the job description is a crucial first step for this.

There are basics that need to be in an effective job description, including:

  • A clear job title
  • Key areas of responsibility
  • The skills and training the successful candidate will have
  • Where the role is placed within the team, department and business
  • The job’s location and if there’s extra travel needed
  • Who the successful candidate will report to
  • The salary range and benefits (we talk more about this below)

Let’s look at eight other ways to make your job description shine.

1 Highlight salary and benefits

According to LinkedIn research, 61% of candidates say that compensation details (salary and workplace benefits) matter the most in a job description. Should you include a salary? Our advice is yes – even just a salary band.

2 Explain what else they could gain

Help candidates picture what else they’ll get from this role. How will it help their career progress? How will they be challenged, and what new skills will they gain?

3 Paint a picture of your company culture

Candidates want to see if a company will be the right fit for them - and the job description is the first chance for you to explain what it’s like to work in your team, along with the mission and values of your company.

4 Be specific

The high performers we recruit through RHL appreciate specific information, like tangible units of measurement to describe workload, budget and goals - and how success is ultimately measured.

5 Make it readable

Job descriptions have just seconds to impress before a candidate scrolls on to the next one. Write in plain English, and break up text into headed paragraphs and bullet points.

6 ...but also think of search engines

Using a clear job title (yes, that means avoiding buzzwords like ‘ninja’ and ‘rockstar’!) is key because candidates search for job descriptions including specific phrases and words.

7 Appeal to the whole talent pool

Some words and phrases might be seen as discriminatory. And with skills shortages in many sectors, it’s crucial to appeal to everyone. Bear in mind some masculine wording in job descriptions (and adverts) may put off female applicants.

8 Don’t go too technical

While it’s important to list some non-negotiable skills and requirements you’re looking for, pay as much attention to the ‘softer’ side of your job description.

The professionals we work with tend to view multiple job descriptions and have a firm idea of what they’re looking for in their next role.

If you can enthuse them with details about being part of your team and how you can further develop them as a professional, they’ll be far more likely to stop scrolling and seriously consider what you have to offer.

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