5 Things You Need To Improve About Your Job Descriptions

Posted by Cathy Reilly

geralt-pixabay.jpgWell, it’s happened again. Another new hire has quit their job after just a few months in the office. So you go back to the drawing board and copy and paste the original job description onto the same old job board. Surely this time you’ll find the right person for the position, right?


We’ve all heard the old adage, “insanity is doing the same thing again and again and expecting a different result.” It holds true with job descriptions, too.

If you’re having trouble filling open positions, it’s probably because of outdated or unappealing job posts. Here are five common problems with job descriptions and how to improve them to attract better employees:

  1. They’re inaccurate.

Often, we ignore the fact that positions are ever evolving. With changes in technology and organizational size, it’s very rare for the duties and responsibilities of a role to be the same today as they were five years ago. However, if we don’t adapt job descriptions to reflect these changes, they quickly become outdated or flat out inaccurate.

And this affects employee retention. A 2014 survey by BambooHR found that one of the top reasons people quit jobs after only a short time is finding out the job was different than what they expected.

Before posting any vacancies, double check that all the information is still a good description of the day-to-day job. Ask other employees who work closely with the position for their input on what should and shouldn’t be highlighted in the listing. That way, both you and the candidates will be on the same page about the job they’re applying for.

  1. They don’t catch any keepers.

If you continually fail to attract the right employees to a position, you’re using the wrong bait. In fact, you might even be fishing in the wrong pond.

The number of candidate sources available to employers is growing. Gone are the days when we were limited to a few cluttered job boards; now we can search for talent on everything from social media to mobile apps tailored to niche job seekers.

The trick is finding out which candidate source works best for you. Take a look at how you found some of your top performers, and consider increasing your effort when it comes to that source. [click to tweet] Or better yet, go straight to your employees and see if they know of any potential candidates. In the 2015 Jobvite Recruiter Nation survey, 78 percent of respondents listed employee referrals as the best way to find new hires. Your best employees know what it takes to be successful in the office, so they’ll only bring you candidates they believe are a great fit.

  1. There’s too much unnecessary jargon.

There’s a tendency to include as many industry buzzwords or jargon as possible in job descriptions. Perhaps companies do this as a way to establish their credibility in the industry. But let’s be real, it’s unnecessary.  

When it comes to writing effective and attractive job descriptions, it’s better to be clear and succinct. That way, job seekers read the post all the way through and come away knowing what the position entails. You can check their in depth understanding of the industry by slipping in some jargon when it comes time for the interview.

  1. They don’t mention a future.

One of the biggest mistakes employers make is ignoring employees’ intended career paths. In fact, a 2015 report by LinkedIn found that the top reason people left their job was a lack of career advancement opportunities.

Let your candidates know their futures are important to you before they’re even hired. You can incorporate career paths already in place or links to a website with employee testimonials in your job listings. That way, you’ll not only get candidates excited about the current open positions, but also ones that can be theirs in the future.  

  1. The 90’s called and they want their job posts back.

We are no longer limited to dry text descriptions when it comes to introducing candidates to a position and our company. For example, we can now easily create high-quality -- but affordable -- videos on smartphones and embed them on our career pages.

Take advantage of this.

Interactive media is a great way to connect with potential employees, as they learn about the company culture, employee perks, and mission statement. Also, make it easy for them to find the information they want by linking to company social media profiles and email addresses they can contact with questions.

There comes a point when we have to start to wonder if the reason we’re not finding the right employees is because we’re not putting out the best description of what we’re looking for. But by taking a close look at the different ways our current job descriptions are outdated, we’ll find better ways to attract the talent we want.

What other aspects of job descriptions are commonly outdated? Share in the comments below!

Topics: Recruiting & Hiring

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