Crafting a Good Job Description

Or How do I Write a Job Description that Will Hook the Talent I Want?

By John Stevens, Executive Recruiter, High Tech

John Stevens, Tech Recruiter

John Stevens, Tech Recruiter


Start your hiring process correctly. Craft a good job description: One that will maximize the number of the right prospective candidates and minimize those who aren’t the right fit. The objectives of the job description are to first have it found, and read! And next, to motivate the ideal candidate to contact you, and hopefully discourage those who you aren’t searching for.


Get your Job Description Found


  • Keywords


Google may me phasing out keywords but job boards, LinkedIn, and Boolean searches still depend on them. Choose your words with precision, and include all the requirements necessary.


  • Normal English Abbreviations – bad


A job description gives you more than 140 characters. Write out the word “manager” rather than abbreviating to “mgr”, “senior” not “sr”, and “software” not “sw”.


  • Industry Abbreviations – good


Certain industry abbreviations and acronyms are more common than the spelled out words, so in the case of “software as a service”, “SaaS” will suffice, for “Cascading Style Sheets” “CSS” is your best bet. While “IT” is obviously common, there’s another little word with the same spelling that can cause some interference.


  • Hyphens?


Use the hyphen as others are using it. Google trends can tell you if most people on Google are searching for “e-learning” or “elearning”, “e-commerce” or “ecommerce”, go with the trend!


Get your Job Description Read


  • Headlines Attract Readers


Use a job title that is accurate and has impact! The title tells potential candidates not only what you are looking for, it can be the lure that interests the people you want.


  • Be Specific


Instead of “Software Engineer”, try “Senior Front End Software Engineer” or “Full Stack Java Lead Engineer”; instead of “Sales Manager”, try “Channel Marketing Execution Manager”.


  • Be More Specific


Consider including the Industry in the title: “Full Stack Java Lead Engineer – Disruptive Software” or “Senior Front End Software Engineer – Solar / Distributed Generation Technology”.


  • Got personality?


Show some personality in the title and description. For example, “eLearning Sales Rockstar: New Account Acquisition for Revolutionary Digital Curriculum Startup”, or “SEM & Performance Marketing Guru – Digital Market Maker”.



Motivate the Right Candidate to Contact You


  • Who are you and what are you about?


Provide a company description that gives a taste of the culture and personalities. Tell the reader about your company’s mission, what employees like about working there, and what it takes to be successful there. Describe the perks and personalities, the environment and expectations, the history and the future vision.


Now that your job description has been read, here comes the resume avalanche! Eh gads! How do you stop the onslaught?


  • Use the right bait for the fish you are after


Do you only want innovators with a voracious appetite for the startup environment? Describe your company’s stage in the startup lifecycle. Describe the types of innovative accomplishments you’d like to candidate’s track record to demonstrate.


Are you looking for a very experienced inbound marketing professional to greatly expand and enhance your traditional marketing efforts? Describe the current strengths and the areas that you want to move into with your marketing strategy. Describe the human and financial resources available and the commitment to the cause.


Do you need to build a team with the complex set of skills to tap big data’s promise of competitive advantage? If it is a Data Visualizer that you need, spell out the skills needed. For example: “Searching for a technologists who can translate analytics into information a business can use by harnessing the customer/company data and putting it in context, exploring what the data means and how it will impact the company. Candidate must be able to understand and communicate with all parts of the business, including C-level executives.”


  • Little details…


Does the team require a candidate with 5 to 8 years of relevant professional experience with at least 5 years in software product marketing in your sector? Write it.


If your company only hires MBAs, if the candidate must have a six sigma black belt, spell that out in the description.


If there is travel required, analyze how much and state the amount of travel you reasonably expect.


Is your company going the way of Yahoo! and disallowing work-from-home, or is your company one fostering the approximately 30 million telecommuters? Say so in the job description.



Don’t spend your time reading resumes, interviewing candidates, and falling in love with a candidate just to find out that your expectations don’t meet up.


Another way to hone in on the right candidate for in terms of skills, experience, and culture, is to have a professional assist in crafting the job description, initiate a search, and vet the flow of prospective employees. A third party (internal or external recruiter) can save you valuable time, evangelize on your behalf, and pinpoint the right person.



About the Author:

John Stevens, Executive Recruiter, IT Division

John is a consummate recruiter, sales person, and entrepreneur. He has built a very tight relationship with his select clients over the many years he has recruited in the high tech sectors, building teams in start-ups as the talented Silicon Valley entrepreneurs peel off to create new ventures.



About Redfish Technology:

Nationwide High Tech Recruiting

Founded in Silicon Valley in 1996, Redfish Technology has been a leading provider of high tech professional and executive talent. Partnering with growth mode companies, small and large, Redfish staffs executive functions and builds out the teams below. The company provides services nationwide and has offices in Silicon Valley, the East Coast, and Sun Valley.


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