8 Mistakes to avoid when writing an effective job description

August 04, 2015

In today's job market, the employer has to make sure that his job description is seen by the right candidates. Covering all of the essentials - job title, job summary, company description, requirements and qualifications, salary and benefits - doesn’t guarantee the success of your job description. Write a job description that is clear and accurate, without mistakes.

Below, we discuss the most common mistakes employers make in job descriptions.

1. Using discriminatory language

Generally, federal law prohibits employers from making discriminations against individuals on the basis of race, creed, color, gender, religion, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, pregnancy, marital status, citizenship status, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, or any other classification protected by applicable laws. Make sure that the job description only specifies the information that is relevant to the job.

2. Listing only the usual benefits and excluding salary information

Healthcare insurances and 401(k)s are important, but promoting the small benefits and the casual treats that your employees get is a good way to demonstrate that you are a great place to work.
Also, candidates are more likely to apply to your job posting if you list salary figures or at least a range.

3. Writing a job description difficult to read

Make your job description easier to read by using bullet points and subheadings within the qualifications and responsibilities sections and anywhere else it's appropriate. Many candidates will get disappointed and go on to another job posting if they can not read the essential information quickly. By making your job posting scannable, you make sure that candidates stay on the posting long enough to become interested in the job.

4. Using wrong terms to describe the job

If you use unconventional language in your job description instead of terms that candidates actually use, the position might not appear in search results. It will be difficult for qualified candidates to find the job, so keep it simple, easy to understand and familiar.

5. Not reviewing the job description

Companies are constantly evolving, so make sure your job description reflects your very latest specifications. Review the job description regularly, at least once a year, and amend as appropriate.

6. Treating desired skills as required skills

Decide which skills, qualifications and experiences are required and which are only desired. Required refers to the minimum criteria needed to accomplish the job, and desired refers to the criteria which are not essential. Characterize the desired skills as "desired or preferred" but not "required."

7. Not promoting the company

Finding a great employee is also about promoting your company and the position to the candidate. The job description should include information about what makes your company a great place to work, such as culture (mission, values, vision), benefits, and career opportunities. If your job description doesn’t include that kind of information, you should expect to have a low application rate.

8. Making spelling and grammar mistakes

Spelling and grammar mistakes ruin your job description and keep quality candidates from applying to your job posting. Also, descriptions with too many mistakes could be seen as fraudulent or spam and can harm your company’s reputation.

By avoiding these mistakes, your job description will stand out for all of the right reasons.

About the author
Michelle D

This article was contributed by Michelle D. She is a casual writer, exceptional manager, mother of a ridiculous amazing child, and a great person to have coffee with.

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