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How to Write a Developer Job Description

Published by JD Review on

Welcome to the inaugural post of the Job Description Review Blog: You're Not Changing the World. When the most sought-after software developers read a job description, they often laugh. They roll their eyes. They squint at the combinations of tech buzzwords that don't make sense together. And then they close the tab and move on.

But you don't want your carefully crafted job descriptions to suffer the same fate! You want your JDs to stand out from the crowd, to clearly articulate what's compelling about the position and the company. And to give the candidate a sense of what the role actually involves so they're enticed to apply.

Well, you've come to the right place. Read on for the most important tips when writing any JD for a developer position.

Say what the company or product does!

You'd think this would be the easy part! But so many JDs waste space going on about a "nexus of technology and entertainment" or "using organizational structure and intrinsic business knowledge". Instead, you should be opening with a compelling and succinct hook describing the offering in terms that anyone can understand. Even if they're not steeped in the intricacies of that industry.

Example: "Our product analyzes shopping cart data to pinpoint conversion problems during checkout." Boom! Obvious and to the point. Perhaps not the most exciting opening, but at least it's clear which end is up. Once you have that orientation in place, you can go on with additional details like how the tech fits in or how the particular role helps the business.

Show, don't tell

So many JDs include meaningless phrases like "world-class code". Well, anyone can say that. But what does "world-class code" actually mean to you and your organization? Does it mean you focus on high test coverage? Does it means you use CI with extensive code reviews? Be specific. Developers are not dumb, and they'll see right through claims not backed up by evidence.

Moreover, try to avoid phrases like "compelling", "cutting-edge", "highly collaborative", etc. Instead, unpack each of those phrases and show what you mean. How are your consumer experiences compelling? What makes your tech stack cutting-edge? What specific collaboration goes on in your highly collaborative environment?

Make your tech make sense

Developers are highly attuned to detail — an occupational hazard. That means if the tech stack detailed in your JD is not 100% on point, it'll make the company sound like it doesn't know what it's doing. For instance, it could be as simple as accidentally including an all-caps "DOCKER". (Hint: it's actually "Docker".) Or as nuanced as claiming that the role uses both microservices and Django in the same application. (Conceivable, but unlikely.)

What you get out of it

Following these tips when writing can help your JD pass the "eye roll test". And that can make the high-quality candidates you're looking for more likely to apply, and get excited about the position!

Want more help with your JD?

Job Description Review is here to help!

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