Job Descriptions vs. Job Advertisements: The Art of Selling the Job

A common pitfall in the recruitment process is treating job descriptions and job advertisements as the same thing. While these terms are often used interchangeably, they serve distinctly different purposes. A job description is a practical, detailed account of a role’s tasks, responsibilities, and requirements. Conversely, a job advertisement is a marketing tool to attract top-tier talent. Understanding and applying this distinction can significantly improve a company’s hiring outcomes.

Job Descriptions: The Basics and Beyond

Job descriptions outline a role’s requirements, responsibilities, skills, and qualifications necessary for success. These descriptions are critical for aligning expectations between employers and employees and serve as a reference point for performance assessments.


However, when used as job advertisements, these descriptions often fall flat. They may be full of jargon, overly detailed, or focused too heavily on the company’s needs, neglecting what potential candidates might be looking for. The result is a dull, uninspiring post that fails to engage or attract A-players.

Job Advertisements: More Than Just a List of Duties

In contrast to job descriptions, job advertisements should entice potential candidates. They are an opportunity to sell the role and the company itself, emphasizing aspects such as company culture, growth opportunities, and benefits.


A compelling job advertisement doesn’t just list the tasks a candidate will perform. Instead, it paints a picture of what working in the role and the company is like. It highlights the potential for professional growth, the candidate’s impact, and the unique perks and benefits of the job. It shows the candidates why they should choose your company over others.

Transforming Job Descriptions into Job Advertisements

Several steps can be taken to turn a job description into an effective job advertisement.


Firstly, the language should be engaging and focused on the candidate’s perspective. Instead of just listing duties, discuss what the candidate will learn, accomplish, and contribute. Highlight opportunities for career progression, training, and development. This approach will help candidates visualize themselves in the role and understand its potential impact on their careers.


Secondly, company culture should be a prominent feature of the job advertisement. Prospective employees want to understand your organization’s work environment, values, and ethos. 


Showcasing your company culture can help attract candidates who align with your values and will likely thrive in your environment.

Lastly, linking the role to the bigger picture can help attract high-quality candidates. If possible, describe how the position contributes to the company’s overall mission or goals. This gives candidates a sense of purpose and shows them that their work will have a meaningful impact.

A Word on Compensation

An aspect that is often glossed over or entirely omitted in job descriptions, yet is critical in job advertisements, is compensation. While it’s not always appropriate to include specific salary figures in a job posting, providing an idea of the compensation range and other benefits can attract candidates. This transparency can save employers and prospective candidates time by ensuring applicants have realistic salary expectations.

Crafting Advertisements that Attract A-Players

Job advertisements are a critical tool for attracting A-players to your organization. They should go beyond the practical details of a job description and sell the role and the company to prospective candidates. By focusing on what the candidate stands to gain and achieve, showcasing your company culture, and being transparent about compensation, you can create job advertisements that stand out and attract top-tier talent.


Remember, your job advertisement is often the first interaction a potential candidate has with your organization. Making it engaging, insightful, and informative will set the stage for a positive candidate experience, increasing your chances of attracting and hiring the best talent.


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