How to Write a Job Description That Doesn’t Attract Low Quality Employees

The content of a job description has evolved over the years and they’re now easier to write than ever before. However, this doesn’t mean that any old document will do when it comes to attracting the right candidates. A job description should contain enough information as to attract a potential superstar employee and enough benefits and personality to retain employees for the long term.

Including the basics goes without saying

Typical things that should be included are job title, skills and competencies, qualifications, reporting lines and salary band. A good job description is also kept up to date to ensure it’s an accurate reflection of the current state of the role. This means writing your own description and not relying on copying and pasting descriptions from employers advertising for a similar role.

Direct correlation with quality applicants

The quality of a job description is likely to directly correlate with the quality of candidates you receive for a role. Consider why top quality candidates would have any incentive to apply for a job with a poorly written job description.

For example, while mentioning that an applicant must have a college degree may be necessary for the role it may be more important to mention the years of experience required. Experience is usually the key to finding the right employee.

Paint an accurate picture

When treading the fine line of which information to include, it’s important to be as specific and transparent as possible. If the job involves the potential for cross-departmental responsibilities, be sure to mention it. The worst thing that can happen is that you hire a talented employee who ends up spending most of their working time on menial tasks that were not mentioned in the job description.

Potential candidates need to be able to imagine themselves undertaking the job in order to decide if they’d be a good fit for the role and the company. Marketing a misleading job description will ultimately result in hiring a candidate who is likely to be a poor fit.


When authoring the job description, it’s important to select a style of writing that’s representative of your the personality and unique selling point of your company. This unique personality should be reflected in the tone and style of the job description to assist candidates to decide if the position will suit them. At the end of the day, the goal of a job description is to ultimately attract people who will fit both the position and the company.

For example, a digital agency will probably have a very different job description compared to an investment bank so define where your company culture is on the creative/corporate spectrum.

Provide specific detail

Candidates need to have a clear understanding of the requirements of the job and this includes qualifications and the scope of the role. Avoid using vague descriptors such as “sometimes” or “often” and provide factually based information that will enable them to evaluate their own suitability. Consider displaying the content in a way that reflects the amount of hours or percentage of time that the incumbent is likely to spend on each key task.

The implications of formatting

Another critically important element is to ensure the use of bullet points and other formatting mechanisms which will result in a clear and well-presented document. Utilize your job description as a marketing tool. Remember that candidates will assume the way your job description is presented is the way the administrative processes of your business operates. Top performing candidates seek professional employers that are well organized, efficient and effective so format it accordingly.

As long as you have a detailed understanding of the role, writing a well structured and presented job description is definitely achievable. The key is including all the relevant information about the role and your company, without overkill on the detail.'

Author: Joe Flanagan

Joe Flanagan is a Senior Consultant at Velvet Jobs, a job search and resume builder facility for candidates of all ages. He specializes in the hiring process providing advice on both sides of the recruitment fence for both candidates and HR. When he’s not trying to fix the unemployment rate you can find him hiking, running and working out.

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