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Post by Rich Moy on Jun 13, 2016 12:00:00 PM

Anyone who has written a technical job description has probably gotten a lot of advice on how to do it well. You know they shouldn’t be wordy, but you have so much to say about why candidates should want to work for your company. You want to use an inviting tone, but you also want to avoid using too many buzzwords. Those tips probably sound straightforward at first, but applying them to how you write a technical job description is much more complicated. To help you make sense of all the knowledge you’ve gathered, here are a few things that the most effective technical job descriptions all have in common.

A Unique (and On-Brand) Voice

Even if you’re recruiting for a relatively well-known company, your technical job descriptions are often the first opportunity you have to communicate your unique employer brand to developers. If you’re anything like I was when I was a recruiter, your first thought when you hear the phrase employer brand might be, “It’d be nice to have one, but we can’t match our competitor’s perks.” However, employer brand and perks are mutually exclusive. The fact that you can’t offer free laundry service or an in-house sauna doesn’t mean that you aren’t capable of telling a compelling story about your company, the challenges it’s facing, and how candidates have a unique opportunity to have an impact on the products you’re building.

A Good Dose of Transparency

Sure, most recruiters don’t approach writing a technical job description with the mindset of, “I’m going to have to lie about a lot of things these candidates are getting themselves into.” However, the most in-demand developers have a lot of options, so it’s important to think beyond the generic details you share about every position you’re looking to fill. Of course, you shouldn’t feel obligated to include anything confidential, but don’t be afraid to use your job descriptions to give developers a clear picture of what it’s like to be a part of your tech team. That might mean writing more about how the team works together and excluding the long list of tech languages you’ve always leaned on. Think about what makes your team and your opportunity unique, and share as many of those details as you can.

Brief Requirements Sections

Conventional wisdom might lead you to believe that the more specific you are in the requirements sections of your technical job descriptions, the more likely you are to weed out anyone who can’t write the code you need. The truth is that while it might make you feel more comfortable to include as many tech languages as possible, you’re discouraging developers who might not currently know the languages your tech team works with but are perfectly capable of learning them quickly. While it’s understandable to have a handful of non-negotiables, the most compelling job descriptions avoid the pitfall of listing every single tech language a candidate “should” know before applying.

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