Having a sloppy generic job description is really just bait for hundreds of unwanted resumes. In this competitive employer market where hiring managers are fighting for those few top performers, having a winning job description can be key to luring in the cream of the crop. So before you copy and paste that old template from a few years ago, read our six methods for writing amazing job descriptions!

1. Write goals-based job descriptions

In job profiles, outline the purpose of the job and what specifically needs to be accomplished in the first 6, 12, 24 months. Do this in order to weed out people who can’t accomplish the goals or do the job. Instead, find people who will respond with “I can do that. I want to do that.”

2. Create WOW job previews

Position and market your opportunity to fit the candidate as you would a product for a customer. Make it so candidates can immediately envision potential benefits to themselves. To find out what they want, hold focus groups with top performers at industry trade shows and association meetings. Ask top performers what would motivate and excite them about a job. Ask them what words, numbers or features would differentiate a good job from a great job. Then position your job descriptions as ones they’ll find gratifying and fulfilling.

3. Differentiate yourself

Compare your job descriptions to those of similar jobs at your direct competitors. Make sure that yours are unique and that they contain differentiators, so that in a focus group, everyone selects your job descriptions as more exciting.

4. Identify your company’s unique features

Identify your Employee Value Proposition (EVP) by asking your top performers about the exciting and challenging aspects of their jobs. Get them to describe, in their own words, what they “get” from the company versus what they “give.” Work with copywriters from advertising or marketing to tell those compelling stories everywhere—on the website, on social media, in job board ads, even in the position profile itself.

5. Determine your employment brand

Get your HR, public relations, and branding people together to help determine your brand characteristics so you can then communicate them properly. When doing the research, however, do not allow a top-down approach where the agency people (who like to win creative awards) set the message and tone. Instead, make sure you take a bottom-up approach where you start with what current employees and potential hires are saying about your employment culture and the rewards you offer. Remember: your brand is simply what people think about you, whether you like it or not.

6. Build partnerships

Smart headhunters don’t attempt to do everything alone. Instead, work with a key individual in marketing, advertising, sales, PR and product branding. Study their processes and ask them to teach you the principles and practices of great marketing and selling.


This list is an excerpt from “Catch Them if You Can! How Any Manager Can Win the War for Talent in the Global Labor Shortage” by Dr John Sullivan and Greg Ford, M.Ed.

About Catch Them if You Can!

Catch Them if You Can! is a book about talent acquisition, written not just for recruiters or HR people but for everyday managers struggling to win the “Worldwide War for Talent.” Written in a story-based format, it is a quick, easy read about three managers who learn how to find employees during the massive labor shortage.

No matter what sector you’re in, no matter what size your organization is, you’ll gain a new appreciation and attitude toward recruitment. You’ll find practical applications that can be implemented easily, in any organization. You’ll get straightforward advice—backed by statistics—and a step-by-step recruitment plan that you can take away and apply immediately.