Talent Acquisition

How to Write Job Requirements That Attract Top Candidates

Job seekers are on the lookout for roles that make them shout, “Yes! This is the perfect job!” after reading the job requirements. That’s why writing them well is so essential. They play a significant role in attracting the right people who will drive your company’s success.

Takeaways

  • Well-crafted job requirements will increase the number of qualified, enthusiastic applicants for your openings.
  • Writing thoughtful job requirements can enhance workforce efficiency and strengthen company culture.
  • To attract qualified candidates and deter unsuitable applicants, prioritize your top requirements.

What Are Job Requirements?

Job requirements outline the essential qualifications that candidates must possess for a specific role. These include everything from experience and education to the fundamental skills and interpersonal abilities required to thrive in the position.

Typically, job requirements are categorized into must-haves and nice-to-haves, with the latter being the lower priority. Clear and well-written job requirements help to keep unqualified candidates from applying while attracting those who are the best fit.

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Differentiating Job Requirements From Job Descriptions

Both are key components of a job post. However, job requirements help separate qualified candidates from those who might not be the right fit.

From the candidate’s perspective, job requirements serve as a guidepost, helping a job-seeker assess their fit for a role and decide whether to apply.

These requirements go beyond the basic job description, which outlines daily tasks and responsibilities, by specifying the necessary skills, attributes, and qualifications to perform the role effectively.

This clarity helps candidates understand their suitability for the job and ensures that you attract the most capable applicants.

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Five Categories to Include in Job Requirements

Well-written job requirements consider five specific categories.

1. Company Culture

When hiring, many companies prioritize cultural fit to avoid the pitfalls of a ‘Toxic Genius’—someone highly skilled but who negatively impacts the workplace. So, it’s important to reflect your company’s personality and values in your job postings to attract the right candidates.

 For instance, if your team values compassion, you might highlight the need for “strong communication skills and experience working across teams with a proactive and supportive mindset” as a job requirement. 

Similarly, if your workplace thrives on humor and enthusiasm, include requirements that call for a “positive attitude and the ability to inject fun and energy into team interactions.” This approach helps ensure new hires enhance rather than disrupt your workplace environment.

2. Hard Skills

Hard skills, or “technical skills,” are essential competencies gained through education, training, or hands-on experience. For example, working knowledge of project management and design platforms or fluency in specific spoken languages are valuable hard skills in many professional settings.

Another way to think about hard skills is that they are not generic but rather industry-specific job requirements. 

For example, a medical writer holds a bachelor’s degree in a scientific field, has a comprehensive understanding of pharmaceutical terminology, and is familiar with regulatory requirements such as FDA regulations. These specific and required skills are essential for success in this particular profession.

3. Soft Skills

Also known as interpersonal skills, soft skills are non-technical abilities that help individuals effectively communicate and interact in the workplace.

These skills, rooted in emotional intelligence, are essential for nurturing collaboration, teamwork, problem-solving, and leadership across all job roles and industries.

Top soft skills include clear and effective verbal and written communication, ensuring that ideas are well-understood and executed.

Additionally, the ability to work well with others towards shared goals promotes teamwork, while solid leadership skills inspire and motivate teams to achieve objectives. These essential qualities are invaluable in creating a productive and harmonious work environment.

4. Experience and Education

Experience and education are foundational to job requirements because they provide a snapshot of a candidate’s capability and background. 

Experience in a particular industry or role provides tangible evidence that the candidate has successfully tackled similar challenges before.

This practical understanding of the field, gained through hands-on work, equips them with specific skills and knowledge that can be immediately applied, potentially enabling them to hit the ground running.

Education, on the other hand, demonstrates a candidate’s theoretical knowledge. Degrees, certifications, and licenses indicate a candidate’s training; it is a legal requirement for many positions, such as medical or legal roles.

5. Lifestyle Requirements

When drafting job requirements, include any lifestyle demands associated with the role. If the job involves travel, physical labor, or availability on evenings and weekends, be clear about these expectations upfront. 

Being transparent about such requirements not only sets clear expectations but also helps attract applicants who are genuinely ready and able to meet these aspects of the role.

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Distinguishing Must-Haves From Nice-to-Haves

Your must-haves are the essential skills that candidates need to bring to the table —they will only advance to a phone screening or interview with these skills.

On the other hand, your nice-to-haves add extra value. These skills are preferred but optional, so missing them won’t automatically disqualify a candidate. Differentiate between must-haves and nice-to-haves in your job description using bold headings.

To help you decide what your must-have requirements ask yourself these questions:

  • Whose soft skills would you clone from your current team?
  • What skills are currently missing on your team?
  • What is needed to enhance team dynamics?
  • Which skills, licenses, and educational background are necessary?

For your nice-to-have list, any job requirements that did not neatly fit within these categories can likely be added.

Wize Words

By understanding the nuances of writing job requirements, you can attract top talent that drives organizational success and growth. This approach might lead to a pleasant challenge: attracting so many highly qualified and enthusiastic candidates that it becomes difficult to narrow down your list of applicants.

Author

  • Jocelyn Baker

    Jocelyn Baker is a freelance writer, an editor, and a former political reporter who specializes in business management. She has written thousands of articles and edited dozens of books about recruitment, leadership, and governance. She focuses on simplifying complex topics into implementable strategies.

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The article was reviewed by Deirdre Sullivan

Jocelyn Baker

Jocelyn Baker is a freelance writer, an editor, and a former political reporter who specializes in business management. She has written thousands of articles and edited dozens of books about recruitment, leadership, and governance. She focuses on simplifying complex topics into implementable strategies.

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