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The trick to hiring the right remote employee starts with your job description. A compelling job description attracts the right candidates, whereas a subpar one could mean your business misses out on top talent.
And since you’re offering a remote work arrangement, your description needs to go beyond the summary you’d use for a traditional in-office position.
To help you craft an effective posting, we’ve created a guide on how to write a job description that will connect you with top remote job seekers.
Writing remote job descriptions: Best practices
Read on to learn how to write a job description for a remote role in nine easy steps.
1. Write a crystal clear job title
First off, make sure to provide a clear title for the position. A title like “Word Wizard” might be creative and funny, but it doesn’t clearly define the rule. Nor will it help your job posting show up in search results.
Candidates are searching for common keywords and phrases such as “copywriter,” “content writer, and “marketing assistant,” so overly unusual titles could cause you to miss out on qualified applicants.
2. Describe the good, the bad, and the ugly of the job
When writing job specifications, make sure to include short-term and long-term expectations for the role, as well as its day-to-day responsibilities. And be transparent about all the great parts — and the not so great parts — of the job.
You wouldn’t want someone to join your team only to find out they were misinformed by the job posting and give their notice after a month. By being honest about the position, you can make sure to attract candidates who have a clear and accurate understanding of what it entails.
3. Include your must-have qualifications and skills
Take time to figure out who your ideal candidate is, and share those expectations for skills and experiences in your job description. At the same time, be careful about overwhelming readers with requirements. You don’t necessarily want to demand 10 years of experience in a field when someone with five years would do just as well.
Overdoing it in this section could also bias your job posting toward male candidates. A Hewlett Packard report found that male candidates will apply to a job as long as they meet 60% of required skills, whereas many female candidates don’t apply unless they meet 100%.
If you’re listing qualifications that you don’t actually think are essential, you could be accidentally turning away great candidates or even reducing the number of women who apply. So make sure to present the criteria that’s most important, while leaving out that which has more flexibility.
4. Shine a light on company benefits
Now for the fun stuff — employee benefits. Here you can illustrate all the great perks you have for employees, from health insurance to 401(k) matching to a health and wellness reimbursement.
This is your opportunity to sell yourself to prospective candidates. Explain how your company supports employees and just how much their life could be enhanced by joining your awesome team.
You might also choose to include a salary range so that job seekers have a sense of what compensation you’ll offer for the role.
5. Avoid biased or alienating language
Although you might think including words like “rockstar” and “ninja” make you come off as relaxed and fun, words like these have actually been shown to alienate female candidates.
And since there’s already a huge shortage of women in tech roles, be careful not to use language that could turn away certain groups or contain bias, however unintentional.
6. Define exactly how remote the position is
Remote work goes by many names, such as “remote-friendly,” “flexible work,” and “telecommuting,” but each term implies varying levels of flexibility.
For example, “remote-only” means the job is 100% remote, whereas “flexible work” could mean 100% remote, 50% remote, or working from home only once or twice a week.
When writing your job description, clearly communicate whether the employee is expected to work on-site part of the week, work from a certain time zone, or have the freedom to work from anywhere.
6. Explain what equipment an employee would need
If you require certain equipment to get the job done, make sure to state that clearly in your job description. This could include computers, phones, or a certain internet speed, for instance. Some companies supply a computer or provide a home office stipend, while others expect employees to use their personal devices.
Determine what your expectations are and outline them explicitly in your job posting. If you do offer a home office stipend or new computer for employees, that could be a major draw for candidates. You might also consider creating a work-policy page on your website and link directly to it in the job description.
7. Be transparent about schedule requirements
Even if you let employees work from anywhere, you might still need your team on-call for weekly meetings or biannual retreats. Or you might expect people to be online during certain work hours, regardless of where they’re living.
In your job description, make sure to set expectations regarding schedules, time commitments, and communication frequency. Some examples of this are:
- Flying in everyone once a quarter for a sales meeting
- Expecting remote employees to be online and available between 9 AM and 5 PM ET
- Mandatory Monday morning video chats
Make sure the job description accurately communicates your expectations to ensure only candidates who can meet those demands will apply.
8. Include the right keywords
To boost the chance that qualified applicants will find your job posting, make sure to include common keywords for the role. Not only should you use a straightforward job title and keywords in your description, but include a description of the role as remote.
Some keywords to include could be,
- Remote job
- Work remotely
- Virtual job
- Work from home
These keywords will ensure your job posting appears for job seekers who are prioritizing the ability to work from home in their job search.
That said, if you’re posting on a remote job board like Remote Bliss, you’ll already be connecting with candidates who are looking for a work-from-home role.
9. Discuss your team’s communication process
One of the top challenges for remote companies is communication, yet many companies overlook the importance of establishing communication expectations right out of the gate.
Include high-level details on how your team stays in sync, whether it be through phone calls, video chats, messaging apps, or project management tools.
Experienced remote workers are most likely tuned into what their preferred method of communication is and will gravitate towards positions that are suited to their needs.
Take time to craft a thoughtful job posting to attract the right candidates
By taking time to craft a thoughtful job description, you can filter out candidates who aren’t right for the role and attract the ones who are. Allow your company personality to shine through but remain clear and succinct in the way you describe the job and its requirements.
If you already have employees in that role, it could help to interview them about their experience of the job. Based on their firsthand insight, you can craft a job description that’s accurate and transparent about the role you’re trying to fill.
Job descriptions are a crucial part of the hiring process and finding new team members who will drive your organization forward. By following these best practices for how to write a job description, you can attract talented candidates who are eager to join your business.
Rebecca Safier also contributed to this article.