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A well-written job description can make or break the technical hiring process. Since it’s typically the first thing an applicant sees in the hiring process, it’s crucial to make it the best it can be. I’ve read my fair share of technical job listings and noticed a few common mistakes coming up again and again. Here are my three of the common flaws of developer job descriptions.   

They’re not focused

Developer job descriptions should never be too vague or too detailed – instead, they should be focused. Including too many requirements or job duties that are too specific can turn applicants away from applying, since they don’t think they exhibit all of the traits you listed. On the flip side, job descriptions that are too vague aren’t interesting enough for a developer to even finish reading, let alone apply to.

For a focused job listing, you’ll generally want to include the following:

  • A descriptive job title - “Developer” is too generic.
  • The seniority level – Is this a junior or senior position?
  • Compensation- Providing the range can help weed out over- or under-qualified candidates.
  • Skills and requirements – What does the developer absolutely need to have to get this job done?
  • Key technologies/languages- This helps the developer apply to jobs that work with technologies they are good at or interested in learning.
  • Brief culture description – What is it like working on your company’s technical team?

They’re full of jargon

As a writer, I know if something can be said in 500 words instead of 800, I’ll do just that. The same can be said for your job descriptions. Avoid using too many adjectives, saying the same thing in different words (“team player” and “ability to work well with teams” is the same thing), and jargon. Ask yourself, “Is this a characteristic or skill set that is unique to this job?” If so, you can include it. If not, skip it. Generic phrases are often a warning to the developer that the person who wrote the job description doesn’t know what they’re talking about.

Circling back to jargon, avoid using terms like rockstar, ninja, and guru. We’ve said it before, but we’ll continue saying it until we see it stop.

They’re never updated

The moment your job posting goes live on your website, it begins aging. Things like market conditions, technology, and organizational structures change often, and those can largely impact the nature of the job posting. Perhaps you notice you’re getting candidates that are underqualified. To fix this, you’d likely want to update your job description with different requirements or programming languages, for example.

It’s also smart to look at the difference in your technical job listings. Do your job postings for Full-Stack Developers look the same as those for your Front-End Developer? They are vastly different jobs, so they shouldn’t be identical. Have someone, ideally the hiring manager for the role, go in and update accordingly every so often.

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