It’s my opinion that the fundamental reason why job descriptions and job ads suck is: Good writing is simply not valued.
At least not when it comes to recruiting.
More specifically, they (founders, hiring managers, recruiters) aren’t willing to:
a) do what it takes to become good writers themselves; and/or
b) invest in writing support and pay what highly-skilled writing is worth.
Here’s a little secret: Good writing is worth a lot—and it should be priced accordingly.
Instead, what’s most common are half-assed efforts that check the “anything is better than nothing” box. Because after all, using the ATS’s template instead of hiring a copywriter is faster, cheaper, and less work—for you.
These lazy efforts usually follow the SHOCK and dismissiveness about what it takes to write a really good job ad and job description.
To all the founders, hiring managers, and recruiters out there, writing a proper job ad and job description is a ton of work. Words don’t just appear on a page. It takes discovery to source information, establish context, and find nuances. It takes internal interviews with key stakeholders. It requires multiple rounds of edits and reviews. It involves your active participation. (Yeah, you have to do your part too.)
When it comes down to it, the value being placed on good writing just isn’t there. However, the complaining about how terrible job ads and job descriptions are certainly is. Which makes this all the more frustrating.
Lazy and cheap is not a winning formula. Add to this the complainers who aren’t willing to invest in fixing the problem and you’ll find the enablers of a system that doesn’t reward nor value creativity. And as the enablers, their complaints don’t count.
While most of us will agree that the current state of resumes and JDs suck—and are outdated ways for companies and candidates to meet—we need to acknowledge the real culprits here:
Jobs boards and LinkedIn.
Job boards and LinkedIn profit off the motion of resume + JD = apply now.
Follow the money trail and that’s what it boils down to.
So long as these two pieces of virtual paper continue spitting out piles of cash for the legacy recruiting platforms, they’re here to stay. And as a result, the recruiting process will continue to be fraught with friction.
FTR, I think that a well-written job ad and JD is a valuable part of the recruitment process. The transfer of this information feels relevant and necessary—at least for now. That said, evolution and modernization in this area are needed. And I tip my cap to those doing top-shelf work in this area.