jade rubick

Write compelling and unbiased job descriptions


This is a part of a series of articles on hiring and recruiting.

People vet a job based on the job description. If it’s well-written, they may be excited about the job, and give it precedence.

Content and format

  • Your post should market the company and job. Don’t write the job posting as just a description of the job. A good job description markets the role. Tell them what will be interesting about the work and the team. What type of problems will they solve? Why is the company doing something valuable in the world? Characterize the role enough so they can get a concrete idea of what it’s like.
  • Focus on them, not on you. The job description should make it easy for them to see what the job will be like. Describe things like: here’s what you’ll be doing, these are the problems you’ll be focused on. This is what your team will look like, and this is how you’ll know if this is a good role for you.
  • Test what you write with existing team members. Ask them if they would be excited by the position. It’s not finished until its exciting.

Fighting bias

  • Use anti-bias tools like textio (paid), joblint (free), and gender decoder (also free) to make your job postings appeal to a wider audience. Even effective writers will find things to improve.
  • Make sure you’re following the law. Some locations require you to post salary ranges (I believe Colorado is one such state). Other states require you to tell the pay scale of the job if requested (California). Consider posting the salary in the job description, even if it’s not required.
  • Be explicit about what requirements require. It’s almost always a good idea to include something like this phrase in your job posting: If you don’t think you meet all of the criteria below but still are interested in the job, please apply. Nobody checks every box—we’re looking for candidates that are particularly strong in a few areas, and have some interest and capabilities in others.

    Why? Otherwise you’re selecting for overconfident candidates, who may apply even if they are missing a requirement or two. This helps ensure you’ll get more diverse candidates applying. Women tend to not apply for a role unless they meet 100% of the requirements, while men will apply even if they only meet 60% of the qualifications.

    In general, it’s also a good idea to prune your requirements.

What do you think?

Did I miss anything? I’d love to hear what else you like to see in job descriptions. And if you have good examples you’d like to share, send them my way!

Image by congerdesign from Pixabay

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