BLOG: LET'S TALK TECH & TALENT

job ad vs job description - What's the difference?

June 26, 2020 | Joveo | Blogs

Job Ad vs Job Description: What’s the Difference?












By Jenn Terry, Brand Evangelist, Joveo

A recruiter, a marketer, and a compensation professional all walk into a room…No, this is not the start of a crazy HR joke, it is the origin story of the fabulous piece of work known as your…..

See, that? I don’t know what to call it… Job ad or job description? 

For the sake of our conversation, here is how we’ll differentiate:

  • Job Ad = a really short summary of the role and key benefits with the intention of attracting aligned talent
  • Job description = a collection of knowledge, skills, responsibilities, level of proficiency, and benefits. Typically used to inform candidates about the role, pay, job level, and employment status

You might have noticed I didn’t jazz that up at all. I am sure over time we will talk through all the ways to make a job ad great, but this is not that time. This is the time to explore the freedom of not being bound to one or the other. 

Often when I talk with colleagues that come from a marketing background, they talk about how poorly written job descriptions are. They muse about how the primary reason they exist is to convince candidates to apply to a job.

Then I have a similar conversation with colleagues in compensation or compliance and they are all about crossing the “t” and dotting the “i”. The job description is the backbone for their pricing, job grouping, employment status… the list is long.

How do we get the best of both worlds?

If your applicant tracking system allows for multiple descriptions, this is pretty simple. Just use two. If it doesn’t, then you may have to get creative.

Here are some ideas:

  • Combine into a single document with compelling language up top and the legal language below – not a huge fan of this, but it is better than nothing.
  • Use a job advertisement online then include the job description as an addendum to the offer letter – better, but still sort of feels like red tape.
  • Send the job description after the candidate applies online- thumbs up (ish), as long as you explain why in the email.

Technology that allows you to advertise something different than what is actually in your ATS – solid thumbs up.

If there isn’t a workable solution for your situation or budget and you must use the exact same thing for both a job ad and job description, you may have a more difficult task, but it is not impossible. 

Here are things you can do:

  • Add context around the requirements – We are looking for advanced knowledge of…
  • Create a bulleted list.
  • Provide more information. Even if this is just a link, it’s better than nothing. 

If you can liberate your job advertisement from the job description, you have expanded your potential. You may have also increased your risk, probability for error, and inadvertently introduced an opportunity for bias. 

Let’s explore these topics together. If you have experience (good or bad) let me know! I would love to include your experience here.

If you are interested in learning how Joveo can advertise multiple descriptions, titles, and even application processes for jobs without changing what is in your ATS, reach out here. I would love to chat.