How important are your requirements in a job description?

Your job advert is the first chance to impress candidates, your requirements are vital to attracting top talent to your roles. 

How important are your requirements in a job description? Feature

How important are your requirements in a job description?

In this candidate-led market, your job advert is the first chance you have to attract candidates to your company. The contents of your advert need to appeal to candidates with enough information to make them want to apply.

Contained within your advert needs to be your requirements. Requirements are a way for you to outline the qualities and qualifications you are looking for in an ideal candidate - they can be broken down into ‘Must have’ and ‘Nice to have’ so candidates can identify what is essential.  

Your requirements are the area a candidate will focus on once they’ve decided they like the look of the role therefore, how you present them is vital – they need to be appealing, concise and specific. So, how should you go about writing what attributes and skills you require your candidates to possess?

When writing a job advert, you need to understand the role in-depth, including what duties they'll perform alongside any daily tasks and responsibilities. To ensure what's written is accurate, it's best to work with the hiring manager to identify the skills and experience they're looking for – they will know better than anyone else what is needed to succeed in the role!

Once you've identified your requirements, it is time to include them within your advert. There are five key areas to think about when writing your requirements. Let’s look at them closer.


You may find that you have a long list of requirements, but if you include them all within your advert, you risk putting off many suitable candidates who find the list overwhelming. It is best to go through your list and identify the most important requirements that you expect candidates to possess – the ideal number is between eight and ten.

Some areas that you can cover in your requirements include,
- Specific knowledge
- Program experience
- Qualifications
- Soft skills

When writing your requirements, it's best to be specific about what you are looking for. For example, if you're advertising for a software developer, then say ‘You must have five years experience as a software developer’ instead of ‘You must have five years experience in the I.T industry’. By being specific you're eliminating applications from someone who has worked within the industry but not as a software developer.

The requirements you include will be the difference between a candidate applying or not!


It’s easy to write at length about what you would like from your ideal candidate but, writing long-winded paragraphs will see them swiftly skipping on to the next advert and passing on yours.

Candidates want to know what is expected of them in as few sentences as possible in a way that is easy to understand. The best way to present this is by using bullet points so candidates can digest them quicker and refer to specific ones when writing their application.


As discussed you don’t need to include every requirement in your advert, just the ones you deem the most important. If you find that you have a list longer than ten, then it’s worth separating them into ‘Must have’ and ‘Nice to have’ so candidates can see the difference.

Keep what you’re saying as short as possible without it being detrimental to the information. By being brief, you are likely to keep the candidate’s attention while they’re reading through the advert.


Once you have ranked your requirements by their importance, separate them into ‘Must have’ and ‘Nice to have’ lists – this lets the candidate compare themselves against the requirements and see if it is worth them applying.

Your ‘Must have’ criteria are the essential requirements that a candidate must possess to succeed in the role, whereas your ‘Nice to have’ criteria are qualities and attributes that a candidate has, but they can still operate in the role without them.

For example a ‘Must have’ requirement is you're experienced using AutoCAD, whereas a ‘Nice to have’ requirement is the ability to lead projects. You may find you have a candidate that has vast experience using AutoCAD, but they haven’t had the opportunity to lead a project despite feeling capable – by taking a chance on them, you're giving them the room to grow within the company.

Be realistic in your expectations when setting your requirements. You’re unlikely to have many candidates who tick every requirement but if they're close, it is worth considering them.


The language you use in your job advert needs to represent the company and follow your brand guidelines while avoiding complex jargon that confuses candidates.

Inclusivity is a key area to monitor in candidate attraction, without realising it you could be using language that alienates part of your candidate pool, therefore, reducing your hiring options. You may not realise it, but words such as ninja and rockstar can alienate women from applying, as they're words typically associated with men so take the time to read over your advert text before publishing to see if you identify any gender bias words.

By following these five areas when writing your adverts, you should be attracting top-quality candidates to each role as candidates can determine whether they are suitable or not based on the information provided by you.

Candidates can tailor their applications based on what your requirements are, they can talk about their relevant experiences and highlight any areas where they may fall short but are committed to learning.
With comprehensive requirements and only suitable candidates applying for the role, you will be able to shortlist candidates and move them through the recruitment process efficiently and effectively saving you both time and money.

Through using our Reach Online advertising service, we will work with you to get the best out of your adverts ensuring that you are attracting top-quality candidates to your roles. Call 01527 574408 to speak to our advertising team.


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