12 Mistakes to Avoid When Writing Job Descriptions

Steven Lowenthal

Crafting effective job descriptions is crucial for attracting qualified candidates, and integrating skills into these descriptions is paramount. Let’s delve into 12 common but avoidable mistakes when writing job descriptions, emphasizing the importance of incorporating skills for a successful recruitment process

1. Being Vague or Ambiguous

Vague language in job descriptions can confuse candidates. Clearly outline the skills required for the role to ensure candidates understand the expectations.

2. Overemphasizing Requirements

While qualifications are important, overloading job descriptions with unnecessary requirements can deter qualified candidates. Prioritize essential skills over arbitrary qualifications.

3. Using Jargon or Insider Language

Avoid industry-specific jargon or acronyms that may alienate candidates. Use clear, accessible language to ensure all candidates understand the job requirements. Candidates should be able to read each sentence once and understand its meaning.

4. Ignoring Diversity and Inclusion

Inclusive language is crucial for attracting diverse candidates. Emphasize skills over traits like “rockstar” or “ninja” to create job descriptions that appeal to candidates of all backgrounds.

5. Neglecting to Highlight Company Culture

Job descriptions provide an opportunity to showcase company culture. Highlight skills that align with the organization’s values and mission to attract culturally fit candidates.

6. Providing Inadequate Details about the Role

Ensure job descriptions provide comprehensive details about the skills required for the role. Clearly define responsibilities and expectations to help candidates assess their fit accurately.

7. Omitting Salary Information

Including salary information is essential for managing candidates’ expectations. Integrate skills-based salary ranges or compensation packages to attract qualified applicants.

8. Using Biased Language

Avoid biased language that may exclude certain groups of candidates. Focus on skills rather than demographics to promote diversity and equality in the workplace.

9. Failing to Update Job Descriptions Regularly

Job roles evolve over time, and job descriptions should reflect these changes. Regularly update descriptions to ensure they accurately represent the skills needed for the role.

10. Not Engaging Current Employees in Description Creation

Current employees can provide valuable insight into the skills needed for a role. Involve them in the creation process to ensure job descriptions accurately reflect the demands of the position.

11. Neglecting to Seek Feedback from Candidates

Feedback from candidates can help improve job descriptions. Seek input from applicants to understand how well the description aligns with their expectations and experiences.

12. Focusing Solely on Technical Skills

While technical skills are important, soft skills (or Power Skills) are at least as valuable, if not more so. Include a balance of technical and soft skills in job descriptions to attract well-rounded candidates who can thrive in the role.


Avoiding these 12 common mistakes and prioritizing skills-based language in job descriptions is essential for attracting qualified candidates and fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace. By crafting clear, engaging descriptions that accurately reflect the skills needed for success, employers can set the stage for a successful recruitment process and build a strong, talented team.

Interested in more? Register for our 20th June Webinar: Creating Skills-based Job Descriptions: Why They Are Important and How to Get Them Right

You may also like

Competencies 101

Competencies can be a complex topic and elicit many divergent…

Learn more
Manage IT Skills With SFIA – Start here

The Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA) has been…

Learn more
5 Ways to Retain Your Employees

One of the biggest overheads for many organizations today is…

Learn more