By Emily Suess

Today’s online job postings shouldn’t just include a litany of duties and skill requirements; they should be advertisements that attract the most talented and well-qualified employees to vie for the chance to join your team.

Start with these tips to attract high-quality applicants.

1. Don’t mimic postings from other companies.

Let’s make this clear right away: every company is different, and it’s a bad idea to copy verbatim from other businesses’ postings. If it’s your first time writing a job description, resist the urge to lean too heavily on the descriptions of other companies.

2. Introduce your business.

Are you a small business without much name recognition? Lead off with a brief statement that explains who you are and what you do. In a sentence or two, give job seekers a couple of reasons to submit an application by describing the perks of working on your team. 

3. Keep the job overview clear and concise.

Use headlines, short phrases, and bullet points to outline the essential functions of the job. The key here is to define your needs without boring prospective applicants to tears.

If you’ve ever been a job seeker, you know that applicants could easily scour hundreds of descriptions every day trying to identify the most promising opportunities. Writing a description that’s easily scanned in a few seconds will increase the chances your job listing is actually seen.

4. Cover all the important details.

Before publishing your job description, cover all the essential details. Double check that your job ad includes the following information:

  • Job title
  • Job location
  • Work schedule
  • Purpose of job
  • Prioritized list of essential duties and responsibilities
  • Required skills
  • Required education
  • Instructions for submitting an application

You might also want to include a salary range in your job description. Publishing this information can entice or deter potential candidates, so weigh the pros and cons first.

5. Write in an appropriate voice.

Your company culture will influence the tone of your job description. For example, a tech startup might write very casually with an upbeat tone, while a private law firm might post a job description with a reserved, professional tone.

Writing a job description in a voice that matches the overall culture of your business will help you attract applicants that are a better fit.

6. Stay flexible.

There’s a reason so many job descriptions say “other duties as described.” Jobs functions commonly change over time: employees acquire new skills, new technologies change requirements of the job, and different economic situations sometimes require restructuring. Don’t paint yourself into a corner. Instead, leave some wiggle room in your job description to accommodate these changes and encourage the professional growth of your employees.

A good job description is useful even after you make the hire. It serves as a template for evaluating an employee’s performance and can even protect business owners from allegations of unfair employment practices. All the more reason to write a good job description the next time you’re ready to add to your staff.