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  • Writer's pictureJosh Kiernan

10 Shocking Job Description Statistics HR Leaders Should Know

Updated: Feb 20

And how to use the information for better job description design/management.


Job descriptions are a small piece of the employee experience that can have a big impact.


Here are 10 statistics HR leaders should know related to job descriptions how to use statistics to your advantage.

Job description with pen on it

Ah, the good old job description. Depending on your stance, the job description could be the bane of your existence or a vital tool in the execution of your talent strategy.

Although straight-forward in its role as part of the recruiting and career development process, the job description is not without controversy. As roles become more dynamic, some have triumphantly announced that the "JD is dead".


However, the statistics show that the job description is very much still alive, well, and a vital communication tool used to set expectations for role requirements, communicate culture, establish career paths, and provide information about the company being evaluated. Candidates are looking for clarity to properly evaluate the opportunities available and seek alignment with their skills and values. Companies are looking for a way to effectively communicate their values, culture, and skills needs. At a crossroads is the JD.

Here are 10 job description statistics that may surprise you and what can be done with this information to give HR teams a competitive edge in the talent fight.




1. Style & formatting are Important: 52% of job seekers say the quality of a job description is very or extremely influential on their decision to apply for a job (spelling, grammar, role description, formatting, etc). (Indeed.com)


Wow. Qualified candidates won't even apply if formatting or spelling in the job description is off? It's a pretty crazy statistic, but it's true.


The indeed.com survey proves that content is important, but aesthetics are important as well. Correct grammar and clean formatting lets candidates know that your company is professional. Perception is reality when it comes to how employees feel after reading your job description. A well-formatted job description is more pleasing to look at, giving you a better chance of candidates reading its content and applying.


How to take advantage of this statistic:


Implement a collaborative review process with multiple internal stakeholders.


This review process for both internal and external job descriptions will give teams the ability to evaluate if skill requirements and role descriptions are accurate while proofreading for spelling, grammar, and inclusive language.




2. Candidates don't think JDs are clear: 72% of hiring managers say they provide clear job descriptions, while only 36% of candidates say the same (HR Drive).


With such a gap there is clearly a communication disconnect between how accurate and clear we think our job descriptions are vs how clear they actually are to candidates.


Avoiding industry jargon and having parties who don't have expertise in the role review the job description can help teams identify ambiguity they may have missed before.


How to take advantage of this statistic:


Conduct surveys to gain candidate and employee feedback on the clarity of the job description.


This will help identify what ambiguity does exist, if any, and help teams address what edits need be made to communicate better with candidates and employees.


"52% of job seekers say the quality of a job description is very or extremely influential in their decision to apply for a job ." – Indeed.com


3. Transparency is huge: 96% of job seekers say it's important to work for a company that embraces transparency (Glassdoor).


The numbers are clear - nearly everyone wants transparency from their employer. And why wouldn't they?


After all, transparency is the foundation for trust. No one wants to get into a relationship with someone they can't trust. With pay equity laws being passed all over the U.S., employees are looking to employers to provide transparency when it comes to compensation at the start of the process. This means in many instances, including compensation information in the job description.


How to take advantage of this statistic:


BE TRANSPARENT.


Be clear on what roles require engaging other stakeholders to confirm role requirements/qualifications before posting a job. Keep job descriptions updated by creating a job description management process to identify jobs that have changed or now require new skills.


Add compensation information to the job description and job posting to show transparency and commitment to pay equity standards.




4. Candidates want pay ranges in the job description: 25% of job seekers say compensation is the most important part of the job description (Indeed.com).


Candidates and employees are now more than ever looking for companies to be transparent and open about compensation.


Having compensation details in the job description (such as a salary range) allows candidates to determine their earning potential and fit for the role. Without it, candidates could apply and get well into the interview process only to find that there is a significant gap between expected and actual compensation resulting in wasted time for both parties.


How to take advantage of this statistic:


Make sure that compensation team members are an integral part of the job description management process.


Total rewards professionals rely on job description accuracy to establish competitive and fair compensation packages and establish pay equity. In addition, include a salary range and compensation information in the job description to provide clarity and alignment from the start.




5. They also want to get a feel for your culture: 71% of job seekers say it’s “very” or “extremely important” to see details about company culture in a job description (Indeed.com).


HR teams are challenged with creating a job post that is both detailed but brief and attractive.


This challenge can leave us wondering what we can take out, edit, or shorten to make the post more targeted without losing key elements. One of the key elements we can't afford to lose based on the research is the descriptive text about company culture. Candidates want to get a feel for what the environment is like at your organization early on.


How to take advantage of this statistic:


Identify key components of your company’s brand and culture that make you unique.


Infuse those components with the values of your organization and create a few succinct statements that capture that essence. Share this with team members for feedback, then iterate, iterate, iterate until the statement captures company culture and communicates it in the best way possible. Utilize technology to store these statements for use and reference by team members when building new job descriptions.




6. Keyword optimization can help candidates find you: 36% of people that use job sites search for a job using the title of the job they’re looking for (Indeed.com).


Keyword optimization is very important when creating job posts.


On top of worrying about accurately portraying the job, company culture, and keeping skills/qualification requirements up to date, teams need to worry about keyword optimization to make sure that their job post is seen by qualified candidates searching for it.


According to Indeed a third of candidates are using job titles to find open positions. This means we need clarity around what those titles are in the mainstream job market and align with them or risk missing out on a large part of the candidate pool.


How to take advantage of this statistic:


Deploy talent acquisition team members to conduct keyword research for each role and analyze the results.


Once analyzed, use the data to review and edit job descriptions/posts as needed to include associated keywords. Avoid the use of custom job titles that don't align well with industry norms people may be looking for. I.E. don't use "code ninja" to hire a "data engineer"




7. Inclusive language matters: Using gender neutral language can increase the number of applicants by 42% (Indeed.com).


Indeed's research has shown that some words such as ambitious, driven, competitive, etc. can be subtly coded as masculine while words like supportive, warm, and compassionate can be seen as feminine.


Eliminating these words in job posts and job descriptions can lead to a significant boost in qualified applicants and can convey a culture of inclusivity.


How to take advantage of this statistic:


Utilize peer reviews and technology in your job description management process for review during initial creation and future editing of job descriptions.


Deploy AI tools to flag language that may be seen as discriminatory or gender assumptive to promote inclusivity.




8. Outdated job descriptions are making their way to job boards: 65% of employers had to revise a job description less than a year after it was posted (Indeed.com).


Business requirements are dynamic and so are the labor requirements that go with those changes.


In today's world change is compounded by the rapid enhancements in technology. Look at what is happening with artificial intelligence led by ChatGPT - many positions need to adapt to the use of AI and quickly.


As tools improve and change skills requirements may change as well resulting in job descriptions falling out of date quick. To avoid skills gaps and uncompetitive compensation, job descriptions need to be updated regularly.


How to take advantage of this statistic:


Establish a process to regularly review and update job descriptions.


Enable employees and hiring managers to notify HR team members with new requirements as they arise. HR teams can also deploy job description management software so HR teams can be notified when job descriptions fall out of date or are in need of updating.




9. The tone in your JD represents your brand: 67% of job seekers report having positive impressions of a company when a neutral tone is used in the job description (LinkedIn). 


Candidates will usually decide within 14 seconds if they are going to apply for a job when viewing the job posting.


That's a short amount of time to make a first impression that conveys your company in a positive light, entices the candidate to apply, and gives them excitement that your company is the right fit for them from a culture and role fit perspective.


Focusing on having a neutral tone that makes all parties from all backgrounds feel included will increase the chances if a larger pool of diverse qualified candidates applying for a position at your company.


How to take advantage of this statistic:


Establish a process to regularly review and update job descriptions and utilize AI to scan job descriptions for tone and inclusive language.


Once job descriptions have been scanned thoroughly have other stakeholders in the organization review the job description to detect unconscious bias or unintended tone that you may have missed.

Be cautious when using generative AI to write job descriptions as even AI admits itself that one of the risks of using AI to write job descriptions is inherit bias that is programmed into the tech.




10. AI is changing the way we work: LinkedIn predicts a 65% shift in job skills by 2030 due to AI (LinkedIn). 


AI is changing the way we work in every industry across the world and is developing at a rapid pace. In talent acquisition alone, Deloitte's research indicates that 33% of companies are already using some form of AI in their recruiting efforts.


As AI develops, job descriptions will need to be continuously updated to ensure these job skills are captured to attract and hire talent who are capable of utilizing the tools effectively in their role.


How to take advantage of this statistic:


Implement a system that allows your organization to facilitate collaboration between key stakeholders at your organization so that when job skills change, job descriptions and associated job posts can be updated in real time.


If your job descriptions are still housed in a shared file or in Google Docs, consider moving to a job description management software like Mosh JD. These systems enable all job descriptions to be housed in one central database with controls over versions and include tools to help facilitate collaboration internally. Additionally, alerts and reminders can be deployed to help alert HR leadership when job descriptions are in need of updates.




The job description is a vital communication tool that has stood the test of time.


Although the job description process can feel tedious at times, the JD is still a vital tool to help organizations connect with qualified talent and set the right expectations around role requirements, company values, and culture. A sound job description management process can help companies ensure they are putting their best job description forward.


Mosh JD can help. Click here to visit our home page and schedule a demo today.

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