5 point guide on how to write a job description

January 28, 2014
4 mins

Okay. What exactly is a PHP ninja? IT companies, especially startups, have got to stop using the word ninja. Or Jedi. Or rockstar. Or code dragon in the job description.

Popular job boards around the world are riddled with job post which has adjectives like these. And honestly, they don’t mean much. HasGeek’s jobs board, one of the more popular jobs boards in India has even banned from job postings from using the following words. (a code excerpt from GitHub) –

BANNED WORDS: 

‘awesome’ – We’ve had a bit too much awesome around here lately. Got another adjective?’

Rockstar’, ‘rock star’, ‘rock-star’ – You are not rich enough to hire a rockstar. Got another adjective?’

‘superstar’, ‘super star’ – Everyone around here is a superstar. The term is redundant.’

kickass’, ‘kick ass’, ‘kick-ass’, ‘kicka$$’, ‘kick-a$$’, ‘kick a$$’ – We don’t condone kicking asses around here. Got another adjective?

‘ninja’ – Ninjas kill people. We can’t allow that. Got another adjective?

‘urgent’, ‘immediate’, ’emergency’ – Sorry, we can’t help with urgent or immediate requirements. Geeks don’t grow on trees’

Passionate – Passion is implicit. Why even ask? Try another adjective?

amazing – Everybody’s amazing around here. The adjective is redundant.

‘fodu’ – We don’t know what you mean, but that sounds like a dirty word. Got another adjective?

sick – Need an ambulance? Call 102, 108, 112 or 1298. One of those should work.

killer – Murder is illegal. Don’t make us call the cops.

‘iit’, ‘iitian’, ‘iit-ian’, ‘iim’ – Q: How do you know someone is from IIT/IIM? A: They remind you all the time. Don’t be that person.

We couldn’t agree more. It is understandable that of the hundreds of job posts in a jobs board, you want your post to stand out. It is understandable, that you want to find a geek, who relates to these words. But unfortunately, these words also don’t mean anything. If there’s anything a techie doesn’t like, it’s a lack of clarity in the role that he/she would be playing at a company.

In public interest, I think a good job post should have the following elements to it –

1) A precise heading for your job description

If you’re looking for a UX designer, make sure that it’s there. Adjectives can come later. With techies, the job posts are usually straightforward and have widely used 2-3 word titles which should be in the title. Not something like this –

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2) A brief description of the company and its philosophies

There are enough developers in the world. But you don’t want just anyone. Developers today have preferences of the kind of companies that they want to work and as a company, you only want a developer who relates to the problem you’re solving. Make your company philosophies known to anyone who’s going through your job post. Otherwise, you’re going to end up attracting a typical corporate stooge in a startup environment. And you know how well that works. (Read – How to write an employee handbook)

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3) List qualifications and skills

Again, be precise and to the point here. If there is a specific degree that is a prerequisite for your job, make sure you explicitly mention that. Post this, list out the technical skills that you expect the developer to possess. Asking for a code ninja might not always get you that MIT grad you were looking to hire. (Read – Why employees frequently

 

4) The offer

While the talk about passion towards work is all endearing, the single most powerful negotiator in a job offer is the salary. Mention it. Unless your company is quite well known, mentioning the current team size, work culture and added perks for employees is good to have. Money talks folks –

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5) Extras and adjectives in a job description

Here’s where you can mention that you’re looking for a coding dragon or a person with design in their DNA and things like that.

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For someone who doesn’t know about you, this job posting is a representation of your company. It will show the developer how much they matter to your company. Make sure you put the right things in there. Who knows, a good job post is probably the difference between finding the right guy vs being bombarded with 1000s of resumes and not finding a half decent resource for months on end.

But if mindless adjectives are your style, then go ahead…

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And if you’re looking for front-end developers, check this out

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About the Author

Raghu Mohan
Raghu is an engineering grad handles Marketing at HackerEarth. Prior to this, he was an editor at YourStory.com. When he’s not working, you can find him at the nearest music shop having a jam session.

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