Writing Better Junior Developer Job Descriptions
Mentoring

Writing Better Junior Developer Job Descriptions

Tessa Kriesel
Tessa Kriesel

Have you ever taken the time to search junior web developer job postings? Don't do it. It's depressing. In case you are like me and need the facts, you can review Indeed. Anyways, in my research I found that of the 100 job descriptions I looked at, 60% required more than 2 years of experience. Not only is that a decent amount of experience in our industry, in those two years everything has likely changed, twice. Sure, the years of required experience in an always-changing industry was upsetting, but the skills they were asking for was outright ridiculous. Let's review a job description below (yes, this is a REAL job description).

So a few things I noticed right off the bat, there is no way they learned all these skills in the 1-2 years of experience they are asking for. How does someone know the importance of design AND become knowledgeable on the latest Javascript frameworks? Actually, how is someone with that little of experience even familiar with the latest Javascript frameworks?! They are basically asking for a designer, a mobile developer, a Javascript developer, a Scrum Master & a Full Stack Developer all in one job. Sure, we can all learn these things, over time, but they are not going to find a junior developer with the confidence to apply for this job, at least not one they will want to hire anyways. So let's talk about how to write a better job description.

Red-bull is not a benefit

All job descriptions should start with a brief introduction of your company. Explain why your company is a great place for a junior developer to kick off their career. Don't ramble on about all the "perks" like free Red-bull and office snacks, be candid about your actual company and the technology your applicants could be a part of.

Next, include examples of tasks they will complete in your role. Indeed suggests this as a possible task, Develop and implement new software programs, which just makes me laugh. Talk about a generic task. What language is this software? What does it do? Be better than that. If your role is hiring for a junior front end developer, include a task such as, Write semantic, well-commented HTML & CSS.

You may not know all the tasks that your new hire will end up doing, especially since you are unsure of their skill set yet, but be as realistic as possible.

Create a plan

Add a section that you do not see very often, a career path. If you know which goals and hurdles you want your new hire to achieve, be open about it. Maybe the first 6 months will be spent on bug fixes and working directly with a senior developer, with the next 6 months spent on building out new website themes with assistance as necessary. Whatever that looks like for your role, the more a junior developer knows, the more comfortable they will feel about applying.

Focus less on skills and more on people

We would all love to find that special unicorn that can do ALL-THE-THINGS but it's not realistic. Instead of focusing on all the skill sets and experience we want, let's focus on the people. What type of personality traits are important to you? Which ones fit in your company culture? Keywords that stick out for me include organized, detail oriented, willingness to learn new things, excited about new technology, attention to detail, team player, enthusiastic & goal-orientated. Finding great people is hard enough, find the right person and provide them the tools to learn the skill sets you need.

People Operations Shouldn't Write Developer Job Descriptions

Don't get me wrong, I love people operation folks. They handle an incredible amount of logistics and are the first people to go to bat for you when you have a problem, but they are not developers. Don't be the company that has a job posting for a front end developer that is asking for Java experience. (If you don't know why that is bad, seek help from your developers immediately.)

Attract the right people

Detailed, organized people will not apply for a position they do not feel qualified for. If your job descriptions are vague and require an overwhelming number of skill sets or years of experience, you are only going to get applicants that are willing to take risks and look past details.

Ever read a job description that made you laugh out loud? Share about it in the comments below, I like a good laugh.