This is why your job description sucks

Yes I mean you, startups.


Let’s get straight to the point. You need more applications.

As your startup company is practically your family, you need to attract the right fit. That’s why you must start with a solid job description. Because it’s not really about getting more applications but better ones. Here are some common mistakes made when writing a catchy job post.

1. You are putting (best) potential candidates to sleep


In that one job post, you have to sell your team, your company, and your dream. Make it unique. Remember candidates are reading a lot of these descriptions. Make sure you stand out. To read a great example that is fun, direct, and informative, click here. This example is organized really well, thoroughly describe what the job entails, and does this all with an engaging voice.

2. The job title is unattractive


This is what causes a potential candidate to actually read your job description, so make it a good one. Your title must be clear, professional, and enticing.  Instead of a lame title ‘Receptionist’,  call this spot ‘Director of First Impressions’ Instead of a ‘Corporate communications associate’, use ‘Ambassador of buzz’. Why? Why not. Of course, you do not need such crazy names, but make sure the title matches the level as well as attractiveness of the job.

3. You have one paragraph that just goes on and on and on…


Do you think it’s not your problem? Go to the last job post and read it through eyes of the candidate. Would you split up some paragraphs? I bet. There is always space for breaking up the text and organize it better. Always use subtitles to split the chunks up. Here are the areas of information you should include:

Job description: Sell them a purpose not just a job. Explain how their job impacts the company, the team, and the purpose of the company.  Paint a picture of the job by including day-to-day activities and responsibilities.

Company description: Do not just tell them what you do; tell them why you do it.  Talk about the team and the culture of your startup, show them the family feel that comes with working for a start up. Your team is the most important sell to potential employees. In no other kind of company can you meet directly the entire crew and get a feel of the type of group you are.

Benefits: What candidates can get from the position? Is there potential for fast growth for development? What will they learn and what opportunities are there at your startup? Can they work remotely?

Job Requirements: Do they need to know specific development languages? Is a lot of experience really necessary? How flexible do they need to be? Make sure you find a balance between weeding people out and missing out on the right talent. Include the education, skills, and experience that are necessary for the job. Use hard and soft talents. Remember you can teach them hard skills, but not soft skills. You are building a dream team; make sure their values line up with your team.

How To Apply: There can be several ways how to apply. In our case, candidates can apply through linkedin and send CVs/Resumes through our system and you can track and approve them through your dashboard.

Contact Information: Your contact information should be available for potential candidates to contact you if they have any questions.

4. Your Length


Let’s be honest. We’ve all done it – skimming through an article or just stopping reading it all together because it is just too long.

There is no perfect length, but if it is too long even a nerdy talent will stop reading. At the same time, if it is too short it will not accurately sell the job. The trick is to make sure you are clear and concise, but don’t be repetitive; prioritize the information. What do candidates really need to know?

5. You used the thousand words instead of a picture


Sometimes, a picture is worth a thousand words. Especially when trying to articulate that special vibe in your office. Give them something to look at to really see and feel your startup culture. Always use a picture of the team, not just the logo. Show your office or last teambuilding activity. This will help them make an emotional connection and see if they are the right fit for your squad.

6. Your poor language


You don’t need to be a native English speaker to get this right. Make sure you use strong action verbs that really embody the purpose of the job such as: develop, analyze, research, organize, oversee, collaborate, and design.  Also notice these verbs are in present tense: use present tense to make it upbeat and draw in your readers.

An example from a job posting: “Own the motivation and personal growth of the team” makes much more sense and is stronger than ‘Owned the motivation and personal growth of the team”. You are currently recruiting talent for a job, use language that reflects that.

7. You don’t talk to your team


In a startup, every member of the family is going to work with that new member.  Make sure everyone from the team gives input on what they want out of this new position. By giving everyone a voice,the interviewing candidates know the expectations of the whole team without having all of them at the actual interview.

8. You are all wishy washy


Make it clear what you need. Be specific, straightforward, and upfront. Job descriptions always talk about the overall responsibilities of the job. Tell the candidates what the job entails: describe a typical day in the position, this helps candidates really learn what the job is. Readers should not have any questions and what this job if you are being clear. When candidates know exactly what they are applying for, it will help you get more applications.


Last words

Never underestimate the importance of a strong job description. This is your startup’s CV to your potential employees. Ultimately, you are trying to impress them as much as they are trying to impress you, if not more. By fixing these mistakes in your job description you can be sure to find a great new edition to your startup gang.


Leave your thoughts

Dutch Tech Jobs

Dutch Tech Jobs was launched in 2013 to be the Netherlands go-to website for Tech Scaleups / Startups who are looking for passionate talent.

We connect the most innovative Companies to the best talent.