How to Write a Job Description That Hooks Candidates

by Guest


Picture this:

200 million people search Google for job postings daily. 34% of the U.S. workforce are Millennials who will have occupied 75% of the workplace by 2025. As a professional recruiter taking the Gen Y worldview peculiarities into consideration, you realize that worn-out templates and prosing job descriptions will hardly attract great talents today. Despite more than $2 billion plunged into HR techs, recruiting multi-generation applicants remains challenging. In the battle for talent, employers approach to job posting formats other than texts – it might be videos or infographics, for example – but they still need one essential element to stand out from the crowd of generic job advertisements.


How to write a job description that hooks the right audience? What words to choose that provide accurate yet compelling details about a job offer? How you articulate your employer brand from the job posting to the in-person interview can make a big difference.

Here are the details to consider:

1) Power Words

Top recruiters know what language patterns are essential to mention in job postings: a title, a one-paragraph introduction, a company's regalia that might attract a new generation applicants, requirements, and up to six reasons why they should apply. The last-mentioned is of prime importance because it highlights what’s in it for job seekers, answering the "So what?" question.

Today’s candidates want to work with companies of the same values as their own, so try to describe all perks of working for your brand:

"Your job advertisements on these channels could very well be the first interaction you have with a potential talent prospect. That makes it integral to make sure you answer the simple question of why your organization is a place they should want to work at," says Christopher Brablc, Recruiter at Smashfly Technologies. Power words will help to hook younger applicants because these language patterns make texts sound persuasive and engaging, galvanizing readers into action. To make certain you use the right vocabulary, try options like:

  • checking the list of action words for position descriptions at HR.FIU,
  • asking professionals for writing help at Bid4Papers, or
  • using online instruments for editing texts at Hemingway and Grammarly.

2) Simple Search


For applicants to find your posting online, don't forget to include keywords in texts. Choose phrases that are relevant to your job offer, as well as words and expressions job seekers might search for in order to find applications like yours.

When writing job titles, make them straightforward to ensure your posting turns up in results.

Other types of keywords to consider include:

  • Brand terms (choose phrases your marketers use, as they sound familiar to job seekers.)
  • Location (don't forget to mention it, as many search on "location + job title".)
  • Alternative job titles (add them to your posting, as seekers might use them to describe a position.)

Another significant point to remember: according to 2016 Job Seeker Nation Report from Jobvite, a half of seekers search on mobile devices. So, don't create long postings with large blocks of text. Be concise, use bullet points, and keep in mind subheads to make it easier for users to read your application.Founder of, Jantje Bartels recommends the job posting structure as follows:

  • Job title.
  • Introduction with a teaser.
  • Description of the job, with your expectations.
  • Qualifications needed.
  • How we work together: the collaboration aspect.
  • Company background.
  • Application details.

3) Unique Tone

“Make sure candidates remember your job even after they close the browser window. It can be funny, sweet, intellectual, or any other style as long as it stands out,” says Elli Sharef, Co-Founder of HireArt.

It's all about the tone you use for writing job advertisements. Keep it real, as if you converse with a friend; stick to words everybody knows, which means avoiding gobbledygook; make it punchy aka "easier to read than ignore"; and don't be afraid of including some humor if that's appropriate for your brand's voice.

Get creative. Younger candidates dismiss impersonal and corporate-speak communication, so demonstrate that your company is of and for humans, not robots. Approach a job posting as if it's a sales copy where you want to attract and make them want to learn more.

A unique tone is what makes your job description stand out above all the others. Be genuine and avoid all the clichés, so much loved by amateur recruiters.

Let's Recap…

Now, before you start writing a job posting, you might want to consider the above tactics to and do it with a sharp focus on hooking a new generation candidates. This checklist will help you make sure you don't miss anything:

  • Use keywords in job titles and descriptions for applicants to find your ad.
  • Add power words to attract candidates and encourage them to learn more.
  • Make it concise and easy to read on mobile devices.
  • Answer the “So what?” question: what does make your organization a place job seekers should want to work at?
  • Be creative: follow your brand's voice and write with a unique tone, conversational and open.
  • Forget about long words, sentences, and clichés.

Make your job postings sound confident but not cocky, funny but not clownish, young but not childish. That's what will make them stand out, and that's what won't allow candidates to ignore them.

* * *

Lesley J. Vos is a private educator and career specialist for college students. Living in Chicago, she contributes content to many publications on writing, marketing, career, and self-development. Lesley holds Bachelor's in Linguistics, enjoys reading and travels, and writes her first non-fiction book. You are welcome to see her works and drop her a line on Twitter or Facebook.

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