Developers are in high demand and there aren’t enough of them to go around. In 2019, there were nearly 1M unfilled technical roles and that shortage has continued to grow. Your job posting is a sales pitch; it needs to cast a wide net and attract as many qualified candidates as possible. This guide will teach you how to write a compelling job description that will cut through the noise and draw in the most qualified candidates.
Select a Clear Job Title
Select a specific job title that’s reflective of the role’s focus. Nearly 59% of job seekers search for new opportunities on job boards using search engine optimization (SEO), so the title needs to be clear, concise, and industry-standard to reach the right audience. If you do this correctly, the potential applicant will be able to immediately decipher if the role is relevant to them or not by simply reading the title. Use industry-standard, not company-specific titles. You can call out the internal job title elsewhere in the description, if necessary.
✅ Senior Backend Engineer
✅ Mid-level React Engineer
✅ Principal Rails Engineer
❌ Senior Software Engineer – Too generic
❌ Experienced Android/iOS Developer – Experienced as a title is subjective and redundant
❌ Seattle Devs – Location doesn’t tell the candidate if they match the role type
Make the Job Sound Exciting
These are the top 4 reasons developers are considering new jobs:
- Better salary/pay (65%)
- Desire to work with new technologies (39%)
- Better work/life balance (36%)
- Growth/leadership opportunities (35%)
Address each of these points in your job description. These are the details developers care about. This section should be short with the goal of grabbing developers’ attention and inspiring them to keep reading.
✅ Appeal to ego using brand prestige, role seniority, and subject matter depth
✅ Highlight job security
✅ Talk about the product/technology
✅ Explain the creative control (i.e. greenfield project)
✅ Describe why the problems the company is solving are unique, interesting, and challenging (i.e. cutting edge technology, invention of new solutions)
✅ Highlight impact
❌ Include corny buzzwords or phrases (i.e. coding ninja, 10X developer, rockstar)
❌ Focus on what the candidate can do for the company
Focus on Absolute Requirements
You want candidates to feel like the requirements are describing them. Focus on the absolute requirements for the role; there shouldn’t be more than five. Call out the primary tech stack needed in the job. Bear in mind that developers can, and are willing to, move from one technology to another. When describing the level of proficiency needed in a particular skill, use words like experience with, proficient in, and deep knowledge of. Do not use the word expert in requirements. Some developers associate expert with God-level status and will eliminate themselves out of humility. Consider that the more requirements you list, the fewer female applicants you’ll get.
✅ 2+ years of front-end development experience with React and Typescript
✅ 3+ years of experience leading software engineers
✅ Deep knowledge of microservices
Layer in Bonus Points
Bonus points are just that—icing on top of the cake. Include technologies and skills that aren’t must-haves but would allow someone to hit the ground running faster than someone without them. Bonus points can help sell a developer on the job by making them feel like they are the perfect fit. Limit this list to three MAX.
✅ Proficiency with Snowflake
✅ Experience with finance and banking industries
❌ Knowledge of web technologies – too broad, list the specific technologies of interest
Outline Total Compensation
Money is important. In the 2020 Stack Overflow Developer Survey, 70% of respondents said better compensation was a factor in their job search. Sixty-five percent of programmers say salary is the primary reason they are looking for a new job. Save yourself and the candidate time by transparently sharing the salary range for the role and any other factors that make up the total compensation.
✅ Provide a realistic range, including a floor and ceiling number
✅ Share bonus details, including the criteria, amount, and distribution schedule
✅ Equity details, including the cash value and vesting schedule, if possible
❌ Say the compensation is “competitive” – prove it
Highlight the Benefits
Sixty percent of job seekers report benefits and perks as a major factor in their job search and offer acceptance. When pay is similar between two jobs, candidates often look at the benefits package to break the tie. Benefits include all the non-wage ways a company compensates its employees. Share information on standard benefit offerings, including medical, dental, and vision insurance, paid time off, retirement plans, and stock. Be sure to also highlight any additional perks like annual company retreats, gym memberships, fertility assistance, office snacks, pet-friendly workspaces, tuition reimbursement, etc.
Explain the Role
The purpose of this paragraph is to help the applicant visualize themselves in the role. Provide a detailed description of the role, highlighting its core objectives and day-to-day responsibilities. Don't forget to share the specific features the employee will be working on and why they’re important to the business and the world. Describe what success in the role looks like and explain how performance will be measured. Broadly outline the team’s structure and where this role fits. Engineers want a clear understanding of who they’ll be working with closely and who they’ll report to (or who will report to them). Also, share that team’s work methodology and processes.
Pitch the Company
Explain the industry your company works in. What is your company’s mission? What does your company value? Follow the same guidelines outlined in Make the Job Sound Exciting. Consider why the applicant would want to work for the company. Talk about the founders and leaders. Every company claims to be the biggest, fastest-growing company with the best culture—what’s truly unique about you?
Adjust When Appropriate
Edit and polish your job description prior to posting it live. Frequent changes after posting can cloud the expectations you and prospective candidates have for the role. However, the following scenarios are appropriate reasons to make changes:
- If, after interviewing candidates, you gain a clearer understanding of the role’s needs.
- If the job description isn’t attracting the right candidates.
- If you receive approval to increase the budget.
Need help crafting a compelling job description and finding great talent? Facet can help.