How to Write a Job Description to Get The Most Out of Your Applicant Tracking System

Handy tips on crafting a highly effective job description for your ATS

Carly Chalmers

A modern applicant tracking system (ATS) can help hiring teams manage and simplify every aspect of hiring and recruiting so that they’ll find the ideal candidates. However, to get the most out of an ATS, you need to make sure you put in relevant information and a good job description.

Our advice to job seekers is to craft an ATS-friendly resume that’ll make it through the system and into the hiring manager’s hands. And one way to optimize the resume is to target the job ad’s style and phrasing. But for this to be effective, it’s equally important that your job ad covers precisely what you’re looking for. Getting the job description spot on for the applicant tracking system is crucial for finding a recruitment match.

In this article, we’ll give you a few handy tips on crafting a highly effective job description to bring suitable candidates to your door.

Make sure your job description demonstrates what you’re looking for

Our first advice may seem obvious, but these details are easy to overlook, particularly if you’re using similar job ads as a template. You might fall into the trap of using industry jargon instead of getting clear on what you’re looking for from an ideal candidate. Words like ‘results-driven’ and ‘proactive’ are often overused but not very descriptive. Remember, clarity is key when it comes to writing job descriptions, especially for applicant tracking systems.

That’s why you should also avoid using vague descriptions, such as ‘ninja’ or ‘rockstar’. Your job description should explain the role and convey what you’re looking for without the fluff.

By sticking to straightforward and clear writing, you’ll not only attract better candidates, but it will also help you rank higher on Indeed. Want some more tips on how to get it done? Check out our guide on writing an effective Indeed job description.

One job description, multiple job sites

The good news here is that in most applicant tracking systems, you only need to write a single job description. An efficient ATS will allow you to input your single job description then post and manage that same description across every site they integrate with.

This saves you a lot of time and effort, just make sure you get that one description exactly right before posting!

Double check you’re asking the right questions

Another major advantage of an ATS is that, on most platforms, you won’t receive old-fashioned cover letters and resumes. Instead, applicants will be guided through a custom set of screening questions with multiple-choice answers.

Since these screening questions are how candidates will be evaluated throughout the process, it’s important you make the most of them. To be most effective, these screening questions should be short, simple to understand and relevant to their application.

Although there’s nothing wrong with asking a range of questions, it’s best if you keep the application process as simple as practical. Making applicants spend 90 minutes applying for a job gives the wrong impression of your brand and also leads to high candidate drop-off.

Outline your required availability clearly as well

Availability is another factor that will influence an applicant’s score in your ATS. When applying, candidates will select their availability time(s). How well it matches up with your requirements will alter their overall score.

Whatever the time slots you need filled, it’s a good idea to mention this in your job description as well. Not only does this give a clearer picture of the position, it’ll also cut down on the number of irrelevant applications you receive.