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‘Competitive salary’, ‘fun company culture’, ‘fast-paced environment’ – sound familiar? Tired cliches do not make for an effective job description. In fact, they’re off-putting, misleading, and unhelpful to recruiters and potential candidates.

Want the best people in your company? Shake up the way you write about your roles.

Why You Should Rethink Your Job Descriptions

Writing honest, lengthy job descriptions might seem time-consuming but it can pay dividends when it comes to optimising your hiring process. Here’s why it’s important to stop using the same old buzzwords.

  • You get the best applicants – We can’t send you the best applicants if we don’t know what you’re looking for – and the best applicants won’t find you either. Being honest and specific in your description might get you fewer applicants, but it’ll get you the ones who are right for the job.
  • You build trust – Noone likes to feel deceived so don’t trick candidates into applying with a misleading job description. Trust is hugely important when it comes to getting the best out of your employees so don’t start out on the wrong foot.
  • You get longevity – Unhappy employees don’t stick around. Being honest in your job description sets realistic expectations early and prevents a new hire from moving on when they find out their expectations don’t line up with reality.

Effective Job Descriptions: What to Write (And What Not to Write)

So what do you need to include? And what should you never say? Here’s how to write the most effective job description:

Be Specific

A candidate needs to know why they should apply for your role over others, and how they’d fit into your team. Make sure your job description is thorough and detailed. List exactly what you require from a candidate to avoid a flood of unsuitable applications.

Rather than writing ‘additional company perks’, be specific about what you offer too. Some good things to include (where applicable) are:

  • exact hours/days
  • annual leave allowance
  • pension scheme
  • private healthcare
  • free parking or rail discounts if you’re based in a city centre
  • free mobile/laptop/car

All of these details set you apart from other companies and give a candidate a real idea of what it’s like to work for you.

Be Clear

‘Competitive salaries’ and ‘potential for flexible working’ are two of our candidates’ least favourite phrases.

Chances are, you know the salary you’re going to offer – so include it! You can make note of flexibility if necessary, for example, a willingness to go higher for the right candidate. But listing an actual salary helps set candidates’ expectations and avoids wasted time and disappointment.

Offer flexible working? Great! Be clear about exactly what this means. If you say candidates can work from home, list how many days. Do you provide a laptop or other equipment for home workers? Are you flexible on days or hours spent at the office? Details ensure you get the right fit for your role.

Be Inclusive

Additional perks like post-work socials are fine but they don’t suit everyone. Those Friday beers might not be the selling point you think they are if your candidates don’t drink. Make sure your perks are inclusive: mention free soft drinks for non-drinkers or offer free toy vouchers as a replacement for parents who can’t stick around after work.

Your language needs to be inclusive too. Check out our guide to getting rid of discrimination in recruitment for more information.

Mention any mental health support you offer, like free counselling sessions or support groups. This is especially important now, as the pandemic means candidates might be struggling with isolation, loss, or more stress than usual.

Be Honest

Above all, be honest. Does your company have weaknesses? Mention them. No workplace is perfect and an honest job description is not only incredibly refreshing but also much less likely to lead to job dissatisfaction.

Honesty can also help you find the perfect employee. If your business is struggling with something in particular, make note of it in your job description. You’ll attract the right person with the right skills to help you get over this issue or hurdle.


It might seem like an arduous task but writing a clear and effective job description can save you so much time further along in your recruitment process. For more help or guidance on what you should or shouldn’t include in your descriptions, get in touch today.