10 Mistakes to Avoid When Writing a Job Description
Updated: Oct 12
According to Linkedin- when job-hunting candidates will decide in just 14 seconds if they are going to apply. Writing a captivating and accurate job description is essential to internal and external recruiting efforts and company compliance.
Here are ten mistakes to avoid when writing a job description
Every job description should be unique and have a clear message to potential candidates and internal employees. However, many job advertisements and descriptions usually feel like they are all the same. Human resource managers often use generic job descriptions that end up being bland, unattractive, and too generic to give the candidate a thorough understanding of what the role requires. If you are looking to attract top talent, the job description must be exceptional and worthy of their attention. This article highlights some of the mistakes to avoid to generate highly effective job descriptions:
#1 - Setting a Confusing Job Title
While trendy-looking titles are deemed creative and attractive to the young generation, they could also lead to confusion and attract the wrong candidate. Some trendy titles such as Rockstar Copywriter, Growth Hacker, or Data Ninja do not help candidates understand what the role entails.
#2 - Including Negative Words
Avoid negative words in the job description as much as possible. Certain words such as “can’t,” “never,” “strict,” or “always” can be wrongly interpreted by the candidates. They may feel like you are giving them orders or that the position is absolute, which may result in candidates avoiding applying.
#3 - Using Gender-Biased Language
Using words that appear too feminine or masculine can scare away candidates who are a perfect fit for the position. Using neutral language will allow everyone to relate to the position and be more willing to apply. For instance, words such as competition, strong, fight, dominant, nurturing, and caring may make some individuals think they are not well-suited for the job.
#4 - Being Vague
When writing a job description, mention the most important details and requirements as clearly as possible. Make sure the candidates know exactly what they are applying to without having to second guess.
#5 - Using Third-Person Language
Using third-person language in a job description creates a distance between the company and potential candidates. They may feel the company is cold and too formal rather than personal and friendly. First and second-person language with plenty of “you” and “we” can make everyone feel more accommodated.
#6 - Writing Lengthy Job Descriptions
Job descriptions should be detailed and specific but not lengthy. Candidates should be able to read through the description entirely without being overwhelmed by information. Avoid fluff, and provide only the most essential facts and data.
#7 - Writing Too Short Description
While job descriptions should be brief and precise, avoid keeping them too short. A sentence or two, or even a paragraph, may be too short to encompass everything the candidate needs to know.
#8 - Using Jargon
Although your goal is to attract professionals, using too much jargon can negatively impact the process. Technical words and abbreviations can confuse some people leaving them nervous and insecure, worried their abilities may match the role. Simple, plain, straightforward language will give you a better response.
#9 - Posting the Ad in the Wrong Place
A primary reason for writing a job description is to ensure it attracts the right people to apply for an open role at your company. Before posting it, research your audience and find where the best candidates are seeking employment. For instance, posting an ad on a platform full of web designers seeking employment will not yield good results if you are looking for a copywriter.
#10 - Relying on AI to write your job description
The emergence of tools like chat GPT has taken the business world by storm, igniting our imaginations with thoughts of where we could utilize AI to better our businesses and save ourselves time on various tasks. If you ask chat GPT to write you a job description for a, say, a "Nurse," it will undoubtedly turn up a job description. However, it will be very vanilla, not customized to the specific role you are advertising, and will not include any aspects specific to articulating your company culture, values, etc. When utilizing AI, make sure to have a review process where the JD is further customized from the base of AI-generated content.
Writing a good job description will attract suitable candidates and increase the chances of hiring top talent. Investing the time and intent to avoid these mistakes will pay dividends in the recruiting and retention process.
Visit MOSH JD to see how our tool can help you create, collaborate, and maintain great job descriptions.