Job Descriptions

Special from RecruitCon Road Trip East: Storytelling Job Postings Attract the People You Want

Standard-formula job descriptions don’t attract, says Skill Scout, Inc., CEO Elena Valentine; try storytelling to get the response you want. Valentine’s tips came at BLR’s RecruitCon Road Trip East, held recently in Boston.

We all know the standard formula for job descriptions, says Valentine: Title, Organizational Setting, Responsibilities, Competencies, Education, Work Experience, etc. All too often that won’t cut it for posting.

Job Descriptions that Fail to Tell a Story

Valentine shared common ways that job descriptions may not be as good as they could be.

  • Too long
  • Looking for that darn purple squirrel!
  • No personality
  • Too many buzzwords
  • Unrealistic
  • Vague

To attract the people we want, Valentine says, we need to be storytellers.

Triple A’s of Storytelling

We’re wired to respond to storytelling, Valentine says. When we hear a good story, we envision ourselves in it. She offers the “Three A’s” that good stories should address:

  • These are the facts: who, what, where, etc. Most organizations do this one well.
  • What are applicants’ concerns? Worries? That are their priorities in life and in work? How are we addressing their concerns?
  • What do they want? What are they striving for? How can we help them get there?

For more details, Valentine describes the three A’s with additional questions:


  • What is my job title?
  • Where will I be working?
  • How much does it pay?
  • How long is my shift?
  • What department do I report to?
  • Does my role come with benefits?


  • What will I be doing?
  • Who will I be working with?
  • What kinds of tools will I be using?
  • What kinds of projects will I be working on?
  • What’s challenging about this role?
  • What’s the work pace?
  • Why might someone quit?


  • How can I grow into this role?
  • How does my role impact other roles or departments?
  • How does my role fit into the company’s overall mission?
  • How might this role/company make me more awesome?!

What’s Your Elevator Pitch?

Do you have an elevator pitch for a job opening (Can you capture it in a few words?). Answer these three questions:

  • What am I doing?
  • Why am I doing this?
  • Where do I fit in?

Farmer’s Fridge

Valentine points to this Farmer’s Fridge posting as a great example:

Operations Director

Oh, and also, you love fresh food and are demonstrably passionate about our mission to improve people’s lives through 24/7 access to food you can trust!

What you are not:

  • Afraid of a fast-paced, sometimes undefined structure
  • Interested in a deep dive in just one function
  • Interested in only manufacturing operations

This role is technically in operations, but that is a very broad department at Farmer’s Fridge (food production, logistics, delivery, supply chain), and this is an extremely cross-functional position.

*RecruitCon Road Trip West is November 29 in San Francisco. Details at