How to Write a Job Description That Stands Out
Here's a sample job description, taken from a Head of Marketing opportunity at Google:
“Google is developing groundbreaking cloud solutions for companies, leveraging years
of experience in building secure, reliable, and scalable cloud technology. With strong
Google differentiation in data analytics and machine learning, security, application
development and collaboration software, we’re well on our way -- but we need more people
who can help us write, tell, and sell that story. If you’re as excited about building what’s
next as we are, Google Cloud is the place for you.”
In the space of a single paragraph, this job posting generates excitement, showcases Google’s company culture, and touts the opportunities
awaiting on the other side of the hiring process. Breaking it down, there are three factors at the heart of the description’s success:
Context - Job descriptions should be a collaborative effort between the hiring team, the new hire's future teammates, and people who
have direct experience with the role. Tapping the expertise of the team allows you to share detailed, accurate information about every
nuance of the role—its responsibilities and expectations, and how it connects to the company as a whole.
Personality - Your job description might be the first interaction a candidate has with your company. Be intentional about the language
and tone you use to paint a vivid picture of your company culture, whether that's relaxed and innovative, formal and traditional, or something
Balance - Effective job descriptions both inform and inspire. They need to clearly convey key information while also building excitement
and selling the benefits of working for your company. As Google recruiter
explains, striking a balance is key:
“If there isn't a balance, then either the role is oversold . . . or the description is not provocative enough to catch the
attention of a potential applicant.”
These three simple principles will ensure that your job description starts the hiring process on ideal footing, helping your candidate form
a clear picture of both the role on offer and the reality of working for your company.
The Anatomy of a Google Job Description
At Google, all of our job descriptions use a simple
four-category framework: area, role, responsibilities, and job qualifications. Together,
these sections offer a complete overview of the role, from the “big picture” to the day-to-day responsibilities.
But before we dive into the framework, let’s consider how important the often forgotten job title can be. Because it’s the very first
thing candidates see for a particular role, it should be chosen strategically. Your job title can either increase or decrease your role’s
chance of appearing in job search results and being clicked on by the candidate.
Consider these two tips for writing great job titles:
- Avoid company jargon or acronyms - Use job titles that candidates are familiar with and would search for to help your job posting be discovered on your career site and other job boards. For example, at Google we often use the acronym SWE for a software engineer - but we would never use this acronym in a job title since it’s an internal nickname for a common role.
- Choose a job title that your top candidates would search for - Make sure to use the most commonly searched terms in the title. For instance, if you have a highly specialized role that few candidates would search for, try to choose a job title that would capture related searches without watering down the role.
Now that you know what goes into choosing the right job title, let’s move on to the four-part framework.
Start your job posting by explaining the core purpose of your company. This is your opportunity to help candidates create an emotional connection to the mission of your entire team and allows you to answer questions like:
- Why does your company exist?
- What are the shared passions of the company's employees?
- What problems are you trying to solve?
- Why is your company best placed to solve them?
Here's an example from the same sample job description featured above:
“Our job is to demonstrate how Google's products solve the world's problems—from the everyday to the epic, from the mundane to the monumental. And we approach marketing in a way that only Google can—changing the game, redefining the medium, making the user the priority, and ultimately, letting the technology speak for itself.”
Google's world-changing ambitions are crystal clear, and candidates are presented with a real sense of possibility. They aren't just “applying for a job”—they're applying for a chance to change the world.