On Compelling Job Descriptions

Finding great people to work with is one of the best parts of my job and it thrills me when I’m part of an organization that (humbly) needs the help.

Now, in the past, I’ve had to come up with (from scratch) a bunch of job descriptions but as I look at this exercise with fresh eyes I find most of the overviews that I’ve written very lacking.

Well, to be clear, they were useful and they did, in fact, work. But, there must be better ways of communicating the very DNA and fabric of one’s budding culture than a few words (and paragraphs) on a page, right?

I mean, they are all starting to look and feel the same…:

They do look all the same... literally.

They do look all the same… literally.

Type of Job (FT/PT)
Location of Job

A two to three sentence overview sharing some of the major milestones of the company and perhaps some creative colloquialism or witty or aspirational saying and/or quote that might “capture” the reader’s attention for a brief moment.

Description must include the hard-hitting overview of how badass the founding team is (with any notable accomplishments) and a “humblitious” mention of any name-brand Venture Capitalists and/or angel investors that have given the team money.

And, if there’s room, throw in a high-level perk or a reference to how super-cute the office is and any local amenity that someone might care about (e.g. food and bars).


In bullet point form:

  • List the job responsibilities that seem oddly similar to many others that you’ve read 1,000 times before.
  • Make sure that you put the flashier ones at the top (or at least the first few that someone might actually read) and the ones that are more borish at the bottom.
  • If they’ve been copy-and-pasted, make sure to add, at the end, any contextually-relevant responsibilities that might make it seem that the job posting is original.
  • List who this person will manage and/or report to so that they can feel adequately special and/or empowered.

Any aspirational quote and/or creative reminders before and after the bullet points is also fair game.


Here, in bullet-point form:

  • You will list job requirements that are general enough to have global coverage and yet specific enough for people to actually think through them for a moment.
  • Some year qualifier and/or experience number (e.g. 10+ years of fill-in-the-blank) for a few tactical things.
  • Repeat previous bullet point to showcase that you’ve given this some thought.
  • Repeat previous bullet point to showcase even greater thought.
  • Add a fourth one if necessary but don’t overdue it since you don’t want to minimize your potential “pipeline” of talent.
  • Some other mundane requirements such as degrees from university or college might be here (but perhaps they were left on after a comprehensive copy-and-paste job).
  • Some other incredibly-weak statement that said person should have “experience” doing things that most humans end up doing even if it’s purely accidental.

End the job posting with another aspirational quote or witty saying and then don’t forget to ask them to follow on Twitter, link to the blog, or some other “actionable” item that someone in marketing threw in there at the request of a metrics-based executive.

EEO statement here if the company so desires it showing that they do, in fact, care about a “diverse” workforce and that they are in compliance with San Francisco Fair Chance Ordinance and some other laws that no one really knows about.

Okay, I probably should go spend some time thinking this over for my own company now and not do what I just did (I’m not sure that was the absolute best use of my time…).

I think there’s a ton of room to be much more creative and engaging with our job descriptions – heck, these are jobs and opportunities for world-changing organizations and businesses, right…? Right?!?