You’re Doing It Wrong: Job Descriptions

August 5, 2021

You may want to sit down for this.

A job description is not the same as a job advertisement.

I know, it can be shocking to hear that and discouraging to think you can’t just copy and paste. But this is not a shortcut you want to take.

Yes. Internally, human resources, hiring managers, leadership, and even the employee need a job description so they understand what they are responsible and accountable for. It helps outline expectations and makes review time—easier isn’t the right word—more manageable.

What most companies get wrong is that they craft this lengthy internal job description that outlines everything someone in a role would need or could ever need to do. And all the education and experience they might need to be able to do the things you think they might at some point need to do. And then they select all, CTRL + C, CTRL + V, into their favorite job board and click post. Then that new job ad is out there in the world, just waiting for the perfect candidate to see it, click to apply, and then jump through all the hoops of your ATS and other complicated processes (that is another story).


The job description is a good place to start but it is not what you want to put out in the world.

Start with some simple do’s and dont’s and see if your applications increase.


  • Don’t fill the post with buzzwords
  • Don’t lie about the company—who you are really, not aspirationally
  • Don’t list every task and responsibility—focus on the top priorities and heavy hitters
  • Don’t list every requirement for consideration—different genders respond differently to these lists (it may stop women from applying and men may think they need to fulfill all of them)
  • Don’t list the obvious as perks or benefits (holidays are not a perk)


  • Meet with the hiring manager first—find out what skills are missing from the team or what has changed since that description was originally written
  • Think like a copywriter—keep it short, to the point, and written for the right audience
  • Have a solid boilerplate about the company and benefits—who are you, what is your employer brand?
  • Show the value they will bring the company and customers—WHY are they doing this? WHY is this role important?
  • Outline 30-60-90 expectations—People love goals, why not set some expectations now?


Another solid do?

Set up a chat with Main Street Recruitment to see what else we can do to improve your recruiting processes, ROI, and time to fill.


Contact MSR

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