As a thriving remote job board, we see a lot of job descriptions—some better than others.
Some are finely crafted essays that weave humor and warmth into the most technical positions, while others struggle to attract applicants. We’ve been lucky to see 1,000s of job descriptions over the years, and we’d love to share what we learned about attracting high-quality candidates. We hope this will assist in your hiring process.
Why is it important to write a great job description?
The past few years have been… tumultuous for the job market, erratic even (i.e. worldwide pandemic leading to the Great Resignation, etc.). Now more than ever it’s important to attract the right people to your company. People who will stay for the long haul through thick and thin. A great job description is the fastest, easiest, and cheapest way to attract these kinds of people.
How do you write a great job description?
You focus on what applicants care about. Put yourself in their shoes. If you were applying for a job, you would want to know that there’s a good salary, a decent work/life balance, a company culture that aligns with your values, opportunities for growth, and an open line of communication with the team and managers.
Below we’ll discuss the most important sections of the ideal remote job posting and how to make your job opening stand out to job seekers. The sections include:
- Job Title
- Company Description
- Role Description
- Application Process
The simplest, most straightforward part of a job description.
Or is it?
Just kidding, it is. 😮💨
The job title is a shortcut for job seekers. Is this person supposed to manage your eshop and develop new avenues for you to sell online? Then call them your Ecommerce Manager or Ecommerce Project Manager. Save your energy for the hard parts.
Don’t get carried away with your job titles. Keep it simple. You want to pique the job seeker's interest. You don’t want to push away potential applicants by confusing them or leading them to think they’re unqualified before they even read the job description.
(We’re looking at you, Rockstar Super Duper Experienced Human Resource Manager at the Most Amazing Startup That’s Ever Existed.🤨)
This is the most important section if you’re hiring remote workers. A properly written location description will filter out roughly 90% of unqualified applicants (this number is completely made up but we stick by it ✊). No matter how impressive a candidate’s resume/CV is, if they don’t fall within your company’s geographical scope, you don’t want them to apply.
Be as specific as you can be. Don’t say “can work from anywhere” when you mean “can work anywhere in North America, by that we mean Canada and the USA, but only the 50 continental U.S States.” If you’re not careful, you’ll end up processing a lot of good applications for people you can’t hire.
“But we really are open to people working anywhere in the world!”
Great! You’re going to make a lot of applicants happy. 😁
If you say worldwide, you have to mean it. Worldwide means anywhere on planet Earth, any timezone. However, if your company prefers to work synchronously or your team needs a little overlap in working hours, then you should interview candidates who can work within specific time zones. Better to say this now than go through the hassle of interviewing multiple candidates who can’t work when you need them.
Whether or not to include salary in your job descriptions is a hot topic. Based on our observation, the answer is simple. You should absolutely include a salary in your job posting.
Not including a salary range is a huge red flag for job seekers. It implies that the salary is really low (meaning below market rate) or that you’re going to lowball them during salary negotiations. Including a salary range shows you respect the applicants’ needs and that you’re willing to be transparent about what the company can and can’t offer. Honesty is very attractive in a future employer.
This is your opportunity to talk about company culture. While the entire job posting should represent your company culture in terms of tone, style, and vibe, this is your chance to be explicit. Share your company's values.
(Remember, these are not potential customers. They are potential employees. Mention your company's product but don’t focus on it.)
Tell potential applicants what kind of people work at your company. Are you a fun-loving group of 20 Star Trek nerds? Or an ambitious troop who believes efficiency is king?
You also want to describe what kind of environment your people work in. Are you fully remote, hybrid, or something in between? (Is there an in-between?)
What digital tools do you use: Asana, Trello, Microsoft Office, Google Workplace, Slack? Is there a fixed schedule or flexible working hours? Are you Async or Insync? (Are you a boy band or a workforce? 🤔)
It should sound like you’re describing your company to a friend. Make it clear what kind of company it is and why someone would want to work there.
Take this description of Remotive for example:
Who we are
Hi there! Have you met Remotive?
Our mission is to help tech professionals go remote. We do that by connecting hiring managers to remote job seekers through our virtual job board. And we practice what we preach: the Remotive team is entirely remote. No office in sight!
The team currently consists of 5 remote work lifers who believe in family first and work…eh maybe fourth on the list—we put mental health and fun overwork, don’t you?
We’re bonded over a shared love of work/life balance and travel. We live and work all over the world and communicate asynchronously through Loom, Slack (#TeamSlack all day every day!), and Google Workplace. We manage our operations, customer service, and website through our Dogeboard in Odoo.
Occasionally, we need to discuss work (or socialize) in real-time so we schedule one on one Google Hangout sessions. We rarely get together in person but we have a blast when we do! Check out the photos from our first company retreat in 2022!
Ah, the meat and potatoes of your job posting.
The reason we are all gathered here today: The open position on your team.
The company description sparks a job seeker’s interest in joining the company, the role description takes it a step further. This is your chance to sell them on the job. The potential applicant needs to picture themselves working at your company.
Give them a reason to clock in every day. What problem will this person solve for the company? Why should they care?
Describe what the day-to-day is like for this role. What are their main tasks? Are they expected to work alone, or is the role highly collaborative? Is it part-time or full-time?
Once you’ve covered the basics, paint a picture of what this person will do in the 1st, 3rd, and 6th months. Will they be learning how to use your in-house systems for the first month or do you expect them to hit the ground running? Are they expected to develop and launch a whole new project by month 6?
Let’s pretend Remotive is looking for an iOS App Developer, we might say something like this:
What we’re looking for
We’re looking for a passionate iOS App Developer to help us create a remote job board app for Apple devices. We want to make it easier for job seekers to find and apply for remote jobs, and we need your help to do it. (Please help us! We don’t know the first thing about creating an app.😅)
Your main tasks include:
- Designing the app with our CTO, Adrien, and Founder, Rodolphe
- Building the app from scratch
- Maintaining and updating the app after launch
A typical day might look like this:
- Wake up whenever you want 🌞
- Grab a cup of coffee or tea ☕
- Go for a walk, do some yoga, have breakfast, read a chapter of your book, take your kids to school, etc.
- Log in to Slack and Gmail to answer any urgent messages, and exchange greetings with your favorite team members 💬
- Complete the amount of coding/work you planned for the day
- Don’t forget to take a lunch break, maybe go for a walk
- Answer any non-urgent messages at the end of your workday
- Go eat dinner, watch a movie, play with your dog 🐕, whatever makes you happy
- Go to sleep 😴
What we hope you’ll accomplish in the first few months:
- Meet the Remotive team 👋
- Get acquainted with Remotive’s business practices and clientele
- Research similar iOS applications on the market
- Brainstorm app features with Adrien, CTO and Rodolphe, founder
- Have a set plan of action for the app development
- Spend most of your time building the app
- Have the basic framework of the app built
- Launch app and everybody loves it! Yay! 🥳
- Start troubleshooting any issues that come up
What skills do we want this person to bring to the table?
Remember: We want to encourage people—not resumes—to apply.
You may have a long list of skills you’d like the applicant to have but you’re unlikely to find someone that embodies everything you’re looking for. You’re not going to find a Rockstar Ruby on Rails Developer or the Perfect Operations Manager. Nobody is perfect. By using that kind of language, you’ll alienate a lot of great candidates who are more than capable of doing the job.
Stick to the qualifications and experience the person needs in order to be successful in this role. Be open to investing in a candidate's potential for greatness.
You can split the requirements into categories: ‘Must Have' skills and ‘Cool to Have But Can Learn on the Job’ skills. The ‘Cool to Have’ skills give applicants an idea of how they can grow at your company if they don't already have those skills.
The Benefits section should build on what the company description started. It should reiterate and expand on why someone would want to work at this company. What do you offer in exchange for people’s time and energy?
While it’s important to state the traditional benefits you offer—salary, healthcare, pension, etc.—, don't forget to include the nontraditional benefits you offer.
Are you remote-first? Do you reimburse workers for home office setups, coworking, or gym memberships? Do you throw events from time to time, pay employees to go to networking events, or host a company retreat once a year?
Anything can be a benefit if it makes someone happy to work at your company. 😊
This section has two main purposes. First, it tells applicants what they can expect from the selection process. How many interviews there will be, if there’s an assessment test, if you’ll contact everybody who applied or only people you will interview, if you’re accepting applications up to a certain date or until the position is filled, etc.
Second, it acts as the last filter between you, the hiring manager, and a potential applicant who isn’t serious about working for your company.
Any application process involves commitment on both ends. You want potential applicants to know what they’re getting themselves into if they apply. This will help weed out applicants who are interested in your job opening but won’t put in the effort to prove they are the best candidate. You only want people who are invested to apply.
The last section of this article should be the first section of our job description. Funny how that worked out, huh?
The summary is a concise preview of your job description. It addresses your ideal candidate’s main concerns, such as: Is it remote? How remote is it? Does my location qualify? Does it pay well? The idea to include a summary in your job posting is inspired by Whereby’s remote job descriptions.
This is a good idea because it acknowledges the questions that distract most job seekers. The summary helps stressed-out job seekers quickly decide if their interests align with the job opening. As a result, they'll proceed with confidence that the position is suitable for them and they for it. This is good for you because it means you’ll receive fewer applications that are a bad fit for your company.
You made it to the end. Yay! 🙌
When crafting the ideal remote job description, it’s important to put yourself in the applicant’s shoes. Show your humanity. It doesn’t need to be witty or clever, but it should feel like a real person wrote it, not an AI—unless you have a super duper advanced AI that can mimic your tone perfectly, then go for it!
As long as you keep in mind the things job applicants are looking for—good salary, work/life balance, intentional company culture, growth, and communication—you can’t go wrong. Happy Hiring!
If you follow our recommendations, the ideal remote job posting will look something like this.