How to Describe a Job Opening for an IT Specialist

Added: 26/08/2019

Candidates are willing to let it pass when you look for a ‘JS ninja’ or a ‘back-end god’. But they will hardly forgive you the same creative approach to a job description. DigitalHR founder Katerina Gavrilova shares some points to pay attention to when composing a job description for an IT specialist.



Technologies. Craving for detail

Let them know what they will have to deal with. It is not only about candidate requirements, for them to be able to cope with the tasks at hand, but also about them seeing the whole development picture from the beginning. For example, we were working on a job opening for a team lead/developer.

The requirements were as follows:

  1. Excellent knowledge of JavaScript and its peculiarities.

  2. Knowlgedge of JS frameworks/libraries. Preferably AngularJS, React.

  3. Excellent knowledge of OOD, programming templates.

  4. Node.js experience.

  5. Experience in using build tools (Grunt, Gulp, Webpack).

  6. Experience in optimizing rendering and page loading time.

However, additional information is also important: type of development approach used, additional tools. This job opening included the following:

  • technology stacks: React, Node.js, Webpack, ES6, Git;

  • development process based on Agile methodology;

  • tools facilitating our work: Jira, Jenkins, Graphite, Sentry, Slack.

As additional information, you may include the specialists it will be necessary to work with and their number. For example:

“We are looking for a team lead to join a team of four JS developers to create the most convenient portal together with desktop publishers, back-end developers, testers, product managers and designers.”


Tasks. What’s up with the code?

It seems, what else do you need, right? Look, we have mentioned all the necessary technologies and even more. And there’s only one task: coding, coding and more coding. But there are other important things to mention in your job description.

“Watch out, a great deal of legacy!”, “Being able to understand codes of others”, “Main task — refactoring of the year” — these are some ways of letting a candidate know they won’t work from scratch, but, more often than not, with a code written under several team leads’ supervision in a few years’ period. Now one may even come across a ten-year-old code in need of a rewrite. Not every developer would sign up for something like that.

A few words about testing. It is considered to be in good taste if a developer does unit testing of their code. But not all companies tend to do that as it takes up more time. Usually it occurs on big projects. While small companies and startups operate on the do-it-all-yourself principle. So, by all means, specify whether there’ll be testing and of what type.


Working conditions. ‘Flexible work schedule’ yet again.

Maybe you offer business trips to international events for outstanding employees? Or a possibility to attend conferences? Tell them about it.

A developer once left a comment under one of our articles about the following “very important questions companies don’t answer”:

  • Do they make employees work overtime?

  • Does senior management pressure about deadlines and workscope?

  • Is there a strict work schedule?

These are some tough questions not all companies are ready to answer. But there are ways of leaving a candidate with an answer and a company with an honest job offering.


Do they make employees work overtime?

If working overtime is frequent at your company, you should honestly say so in the working conditions. There is no point in hiding it even before the job interview, otherwise you and the candidates not ready for an 11-hour work day will waste time on unnecessary meetings. We know a company that mentions such tendency playfully: “Conditions. Flexible work schedule. Work as much as you like, be it 10 or 15 hours a day :)”


Does senior management pressure about deadlines and workscope?

What is the best way of answering this question? Writing at what stage the project is right now. If it is a growth stage, specify that you have strict deadlines, large workscope and frequent version testing. If your company is stable but facing major redesign, don’t hide it either. Candidates unable to spend a lot of time on the job will only waste their time coming to the office for an interview.


Is there a precise work schedule and how strict are they about its noncompliance?

The ‘flexible work schedule’ that companies love mentioning in working conditions often means different things: it is either a possibility to shift the beginning of work day as one pleases, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., to work from home, or it’s about “Doesn’t matter how long you have been at the office, the important thing is what you have done.” Be as precise with your choice of words as possible, avoid using clichés just for the sake of it.

If there is a need for a strict schedule, it’s important to justify it. For example, we are working on some job openings where it is necessary to work from 12 a.m. to 9 p.m. due to the work schedule of clients from countries with other time zones.


Point by point

What is the right way of composing a job description for an IT specialist, and what needs to be specified?

  1. Technologies used at the company.

  2. Project load (traffic volume, functionality, storage or database load).

  3. Development methodology: sometimes there can be divergences of principle on this one.

  4. Specialist tasks within the framework of product development plan — “writing a code” won’t do.

  5. Possibilities for professional growth: books, conferences (attending and independent speaking), courses.

  6. Team: number of people, specialization of each member, leader (and whether there is one).

  7. Level of project stability: duration, investments, links to interviews with investors and founders for the candidate to have a better picture.

  8. Working conditions: as they are. For the candidates to be ready for anything and not to leave the company after two days on the job. Cookies won’t keep them at the office.


Wishing you pleasant recruiting and easy hunting!


By Katerina Gavrilova for

Translation by Elena Shelenkova

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