September 21, 2021

#TuesdayTalentTip: Create a job description that’s inspirational — not just informational

 #TuesdayTalentTip: Create a job description that’s inspirational — not just informational

Job descriptions are a huge part of a good recruiting strategy. Hopefully, if you’ve built out a good recruiting and candidate network, that job description (or JD) isn’t the first impression a top candidate has of your startup. But for some candidates it will be and for all candidates it will play a huge part of what they think working with you will be like — and if they want to. Just like the show Hamilton reminds us, don’t throw away your shot.

However, I know that it’s intimidating to decide how to sell yourself and a position when you don’t have a dedicated talent team with the time to really finesse a JD. Luckily, there are plenty of other organizations that do have that time and have put a lot of work into making a great job description template. I personally pay a lot of attention to job descriptions from companies I admire (as I often say, the best recruiting is stolen) and keep them saved to use as inspiration for when I am writing my next JD.

Below, I’ve curated a list of companies with my favorite JD templates, along with what I like best about each one. I’ve linked to the career’s page so as not to link to a specific JD that may expire, but in any of those careers pages you can find JD’s that do a good job at giving candidates all the right information, but doing so in a way that’s inspirational. I hope you find them helpful the next time you’re posting a role.

  • dscout: This is the template I worked on most recently at my last job. We worked hard to wordsmith how we talked about our perks and benefits to communicate our cultural and organizational values. For example, "an education stipend. We are committed to helping build your future." By adding the second part, we were trying to communicate an org-wide commitment to development.  
  • Sprout Social: This template was published after I departed Sprout (so I promise I'm not just sharing my past work!). I love the structure of the "impact" candidates will have and the timeline the impact is on. It’s a really creative way to think about describing a role and making candidates feel inspired around the work they’ll potentially do with your company — harder to write initially, but this is basically the foundation of a 30/60/90/365 onboarding plan, which is helpful to both hiring manager and candidate after the offer is accepted!
  • ShipBob: I'm really drawn to how company values are discussed. Candidates want to understand what you care about and why. Talking about values as not just something painted on a wall, but a living, breathing, aspirational part of your culture is invigorating. Having these value statements reflect as accurate a picture of your team or company as possible is vital, too.  You want to stand out — this is a great place to do that.
  • ActiveCampaign: Every job description should be structured like a funnel — starting off with the big picture (who you are as a company or team) and then going smaller until you get granular with the role. I see the funnel in this one; the intro really focuses on the impact of the company, gives lots of useful context, and leads that into the role description. The one weakness I see here is that they linked out FROM the JD to somewhere else for candidates to keep reading...I worry about losing candidate this way. Once you get someone on your JD, you want them to stay there until they apply.
  • Hologram: Hologram is an IoT company, and a company/product I found a bit nebulus to understand initially. They do a great job simplifying and focusing on impact in their template, and I am definitely drawn to that. Also, I love the bottom half: an "about the team" section, a compelling benefits section ("How we work"), and the walkthrough of the interview process. They are doing a good job of empowering candidates with knowledge before they ever apply.

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