How to Write a Rocking Job Description for Recruitment

Nov 29, 2013
This article is part of a series called Opinion.

The best and most effective job descriptions give people a sense of what it’s like to be a part of the company. Don’t assume that everyone knows about your company. A small blurb describing the company is good practice and helps potential candidates build a mental image of what it might be like e to work there. Personality and culture should either be directly described or be reflected in the structure and wording of the description.

Airbnb does this in a really nice simplistic way:

Internationalization Engineer

Why are Internationalization Engineers important at Airbnb?

To connect people worldwide with unique travel experiences, Airbnb needs to be global and radically local at the same time. Simple translation is just not good enough. As an Internationalization Engineer, you set new quality standards and connect people around the world with a native user experience.

We are looking for talented, driven, and entrepreneurial engineers to lead our localization team in this effort. The ideal candidates are intensely curious about globalization, hospitality, cultures around the world, mobile and web technology, exhibit a can-do attitude, and approach their work with vigor and determination. Candidates should have demonstrated the ability to learn quickly and work effectively in a fast-paced, rapidly changing environment, and be excellent at multi-tasking.

Currently, about two-thirds of trips on Airbnb cross a country border, and that number grows every day. We strive to offer a native, local experience in all 192 countries where we have listings. For us, internationalization isn’t optional.

Some examples of our Internationalization Engineers’ work so far:

  • 25 languages supported by desktop site, mobile site, iPhone app, Android app
  • In-house, web-based translation tool with some especially nifty features:
    • Translators can click on any phrase on the site to suggest a better translation, and changes go live immediately
    • Every new phrase is automatically screenshot and shown to translators for context
    • British English and Traditional Chinese sites are generated automatically from the American English and Simplified Chinese sites, with additional tweaks by our London and Singapore offices
    • Phrases are prioritized for localization based on how many impressions they got in the last week
    • We hire translators from our community; 94 translators contributed to Airbnb in June.

Airbnb does an excellent job of describing the company and the role. You get a glimpse of what kind of work culture it has by the way it outlines the type of candidates it’s looking for. Including examples of work completed by this class of employees is also a fantastic way of showcasing what a prospective candidate can look forward to.

A not-so-good example is Shangri-La:

Shangri-La hotel, Toronto


  • With high integrity, leads Associates in providing SLa hospitality from caring people according to the restaurant philosophy, ensuring that guests experience the highest quality food, service and entertainment
  • Interact with guests to regularly review and evaluate the degree of satisfaction with the restaurant; recommend and implement new initiatives when necessary to keep up with demand and market changes; investigate and resolve food quality and service complaints, ultimately maximize profits through outstanding customer service
  • Through personal presence, inspire a passion for food, wine and service amongst the restaurant team, through a genuine personal commitment to service excellence and an emotional sense of gracious hospitality
  • Participate in recruitment, lead Associates and effectively coach, motivate, communicate, recognize, schedule, provide performance feedback, maintain high levels of team spirit and conduct performance correction as required
  • Lead the day-to-day restaurant operation through hands-on personal involvement,  provide input and implement strategies to effectively manage productivity, labour, beverage and food costs to maximize restaurant GOP
  • Constantly evaluate restaurant profitability and assist with the development and implementation of cost controls and profit enhancement measures
  • Supervise restaurant ambiance, music, lighting, settings, style and overall presentation
  • Maintain very good knowledge of wines and other beverages and up-to-date knowledge of food trends and industry practices
  • Ensure a high standard of cleanliness, maintenance and presentation plus safety of the restaurant through inspections and ensures areas of deficiency are resolved to achieve service expectations
  • Direct communication process within the department, ensuring effective communication amongst Associates and suppliers; attend meetings and ensure that reports are completed accurately, on-time
  • Assist with the establishment of an annual promotion and menu plan with the F&B management team, including concepts for annual entertainment, festive season(s) and promotions
  • Maintain appropriate par levels for the restaurant, tablewares and adequate controls over labour costs, requisitions, purchase orders, receipt of goods and inventory
  • Undertake other ad hoc related responsibilities, as required


  • Drives results — Passion for food and strives to exceed expectations for service excellence with demonstrated understanding of international fine dining, wine and service standards commensurate the leading hotels in high profile cities in the world
  • Customer Service Excellence — People focused and totally guest centered
  • Detail oriented — Strong organization skills, ability to prioritize workload, multi-task in a calm manner, with exceptional attention to detail
  • Financial competence — Demonstrates knowledge of budgeting, forecasting, productivity analysis and labour costing, inventory management/controls techniques, SLa operational elements, and operates within established hotel practices, policies and core practices
  • Communication — Excellent communication skills, 100 percent fluency in English with added ability to be an effective role model in standards of conduct and grooming
  • Innovation, creativity, decision making and problem solving — Proven innovator, responds promptly and reasonably when making decisions, ultimately ensuring successful problem resolution
  • Safety Focus — Demonstrates safe work practices and looks for ways to minimize workplace injuries
  • Exceptional leadership — Inspires employee commitment, loyalty and motivation though progressive workplace practices that foster teamwork, open communication, safety, respect, sincerity, helpfulness, courtesy and humility
  • Coaches and mentors — Fosters a climate of continuous learning, growth and improvement, with a strong commitment to the career development of others
  • Emotional maturity — Internally proud, outwardly gracious and humble with demonstrated ability to maintain professional composure under pressure
  • Ethical conduct and responsibility — Sets a positive example and fulfills responsibilities with the highest integrity, ethics and professionalism
  • Technology proficiency — Operates and maintains all departmental equipment, fully competent with POS, current Windows based programs (Word, Excel, MS Outlook)
  • Minimum 3 years experience
  • Minimum 2 year previous work experience in a similar capacity with an outstanding restaurant, mandatory
  • Comparable experience with key competitor, preferred
  • Degree or diploma in Food and Beverage/Hospitality Management
  • Will be required to work nights, weekends, and/or holidays

Shangri-La’s job postings give no indication of what the company stands for. It provides a laundry list of duties and qualifications that any other hotel could have written up.

Know Your Audience

If you want to capture top talent, you have to write a compelling job description that attracts them. The key to doing that is by identifying and knowing the people you want to target. For example, a job description for a technical role at your company should be different from a job description for a sales role.

Take into account what other companies in your industry are doing, the industry norms and culture, and expectations of the demographic group you are targeting. You should also tie it back your organization — if you’re looking for a specific type of person who fits your culture, write it up so that you and your colleagues love it so much that you would have applied for it!

Identifying industry specific trends and keywords are also excellent ways to cater your job description to a specific demographic. However, take care to not overdo it with the industry jargon. When writing up your job description, ask yourself this: “what is the value proposition of this role for the type of person I want to hire?”

Some really good examples of targeted job descriptions:


HootSuite Media Inc

Intermediate Software Engineer, Front End

Development – Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada – Full Time

Join 2012’s Best Company to Work for in BC!

As an Intermediate Software Engineer, Front End at HootSuite you’ll build rich and intuitive interfaces that make our customer’s happy because you make it easy for them to manage and measure their social networks. You’ll also tackle challenges related to performance and contribute to our technical roadmap.

Read about some of the things we’re doing here:


  • Work with a small team to understand our business initiatives and turn those into shippable experiments on our products
  • Contribute to our technical evolution by sharing your knowledge and research with our Engineering teams
  • Contribute your Engineering knowledge within HootSuite and the broader technical community
  • Nurture the development of more junior Engineers

Required Skills & Experience:

  • Intermediate knowledge of JavaScript and JavaScript frameworks (backbone.js, etc)
  • Intermediate knowledge of HTML/CSS and CSS pre-processors
  • Experience with PHP or other server-side scripting language
  • Passion for automation including writing unit and integration tests
  • Passion for performance debugging and benchmarking
  • B.S. Computer Science or related field or related experience

Bonus Assets: 

  • Experience building applications for the mobile web
  • Familiarity or working knowledge of Selenium, Casper.js or Jasmine

About You:

  • You have a sizeable portfolio of ‘Difficult problems… solved’
  • You like to ship things you design and build
  • You like to move fast
  • You like to make decisions
  • You like to take calculated risks
  • You have a github account with public projects, not just forks

About Us:

  • We like to learn
  • We like to work in small, rapid iterations
  • We like to automate mundane tasks
  • We like to make things visible so others can understand them, challenge them, solve them
  • We get things done

Positions available:

Full time and Contract


Vancouver, BC, Canada

How to apply:

Impress us with your passion and your dedication. Send more than just a resume.



Why join Westport?
Westport Power is the global leader in natural gas engines and holds the industry’s most comprehensive patent portfolio of robust, reliable, clean and efficient engine technologies. Our extensive market and industry knowledge includes high performance gaseous-fuelled vehicles, engine development, fuel tanks and on-vehicle system engineering, fuel stations, service and support. Westport currently has strategic alliances with three of the world’s top four engine producers and suppliers, six of the world’s top ten truck producers and seven of the world’s top ten automotive OEMs.

Come join the team that is changing the future in the clean energy vehicle industry!

What can you expect in the Fuel Systems Test Technician position?

As a Fuel Systems Test Technologist, you will help support the Development Engineering team with performance verification of Westport’s fuel supply components for our latest natural gas engines. By applying your engineering technologist education and hands-on skills, you will support the product throughout the development cycle. This will include, but is not limited to:

  • Inspecting, assembling and testing prototype and failed fuel system components
  • Planning and implementing of verification plans and test specifications
  • Acquiring, processing, and analyzing test data
  • Reporting and presenting test data
  • Designing test and assembly jigs
  • Troubleshooting and maintaining high pressure hydraulic and gas test equipment
  • Documenting assembly and test procedures
  • Interfacing with internal customers
  • Managing parallel tasks and providing status updates
  • Sorting and sustaining lab organization (5S)

What background will make you successful?

  • The ideal candidate possesses a Mechanical Technologist diploma with two to five years’ of Testing experience.
  • In-lieu of testing experience, candidates with automotive, hydraulics, machining, and fabricating work experience may also be considered.
  • To be successful in this role, you will develop into a fuel system specialist and apply this knowledge to execute and report on performance tests as well as improve test methods and equipment.
  • The candidate must be proficient with Microsoft Office (excel and word) and possess strong analytical, written and oral communication skills.
  • In addition, design (Pro-Engineer), programming (visual basic, Labview), database, and data acquisition software knowledge would be an asset.
  • Must be a strong team player. The ability to succeed in a dynamic work environment is crucial.

How to submit your interest?

To apply for this exciting opportunity at Westport, please submit your resume and cover letter to our Corporate Recruitment team in confidence by clicking the “Apply” link above. While we thank you in advance for your interest and application, please be advised that we will only be responding to candidates selected for further consideration.

Know Your Job

Not knowing what you are looking for will set you and your candidate up for disaster. You have to have a clear idea of the purpose of the role, how the role aligns with your organization’s strategic objectives, and what the role entails.

This is vital in setting up the proper expectations of your future employee and ensuring that the employment relationship is off to a good start. One of the worst things a recruiter or hiring manager can do is lie on a job description or make a fundamental error on the job expectations. It damages the employer brand and ends up badly for everyone.

The above example job descriptions from HootSuite, Airbnb, and Westport are all very clear on what they are hiring for is. Expectations on duties and a glimpse of the working environment will drive transparent and engaging hiring conversations with prospective employees.

This article is part of a series called Opinion.
Get articles like this
in your inbox
Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting articles about talent acquisition emailed weekly!