Before a candidate interviews with you, they’ll likely be looking at your job description post on any given job board. There are thousands of job descriptions on these platforms, and it’s important to make sure your job description stands out and attracts the right candidates. This can be difficult - there is a fine line between giving a clear depiction of the responsibilities of the position, whilst also enticing potential candidates. In this post, we’ll outline exactly what a job description is, why a job description is important and how to write one.
What is a job description?
A job description is a document or online post that tells a candidate what they need to know about a role to assess if they should apply or not.
A good job description has five main parts:
- summary of the role
- detailed list of responsibilities
- list of relevant qualifications and skills
- salary range, expected hours and location
- summary about the company itself
In addition to these five key components of a job description, some descriptions also include a section about job perks that might entice a candidate to apply, as well as a section about their hiring policy (it often refers to being an equal opportunity employer).
How to write a great job description
After you’ve done a proper job analysis it’s time to write your job description. Using the five parts of a job description listed above, you can craft your job template, in that order.
Summary of the role
The summary of the role will likely be the first part of the job description that a candidate looks at. It's important that in this section, you write about what would make a candidate want to be a part of your company. The summary is where many job descriptions like to mention company culture. Start with a brief summary of the company, what it does and what's unique about it.
As you go into more detail, be sure to outline: the job title, a brief description of duties, its importance, and where it fits into the organization.
To help your job description rank higher in search engine results, mention an exact location. Even if the position is remote, it's still helpful to include a location, like the headquarters of the company, or cities from which you're interested in hiring.
Remember, your goal with the summary is to make the company and the role stand out, while also being clear about expectations.
A list of responsibilities and duties
In this element of the job description, it’s important to include a detailed list of overall responsibilities as well as how they may translate into day-to-day duties. This can be in bullet form.
This section is an opportunity to get granular and be very clear about what the role entails. This will help you find the best candidates who really align with the role and it's duties. Being very detailed in this section will also help you attract the most qualified candidates, because they'll be able to connect their past work experience with the role.
In the "responsibilities and duties" section, it's also integral to include how the role operates in the organization and who the candidate would be reporting to. This helps the candidate understand where they fit in the organization. It will be their responsibility to update, inform, report to, listen to and learn from their manager, so this person should be mentioned up front.
A list of relevant qualifications and skills
Include relevant hard and soft skills here in bullet form. If there are specific certifications or courses that are requirements or assets, they should be included here as well.
It may be tempting here to include a long list of qualifications and skills but in fact, this may turn away potential candidates as they may feel they don't possess every single qualification or skills mentioned. Instead, be concise and specific. If you've done a proper job analysis, this should be easy.
Be clear about what specific skills are needed or "must-haves", and which are "nice-to-have". This lets your candidate know that there's room for growth in the position and that they can gain more skills on the job.
Salary range, expected hours and location
Once the summaries and lists are finished it’s time to move into more specific and technical details. Include a salary range (this will help you stand out as most job descriptions don’t include them), the expected hours (are they full-time or part-time?) and the location. Location details are very important post-pandemic as most companies offer remote work or a hybrid model.
Summary of the company
If you’d like you can include a more detailed description of the company, its mission statement, vision etc. This is your last opportunity to make the candidate want to be a part of your organization, so make it count!
Perks and benefits
Some companies like to include a list of perks and/or benefits that the job offers to entice candidates to apply and help to stand out against the competition.
Many companies have started including an Equal Opportunity Employment clause in their job descriptions. This is important to some candidates as they like to ensure that they are applying to work in an inclusive environment.
Why are job descriptions important?
A well-written job description is integral to your hiring process - it’s a reflection of your company’s mission and purpose, and it demonstrates how much you care about attracting the right talent. From an HR perspective, job descriptions are also important as they serve as a starting point for an employee’s goals, ensure consistency across employees and departments, maintain boundaries for current employees, and justify an employee’s pay. It’s a natural progression from a job analysis and, similarly, writing an inclusive job description can help to protect the company legally.
A great job description is the very first thing a candidate sees - their first point of contact attracting them to your company. Don’t miss this opportunity to impress them and get the right candidates applying for open positions. If you have current job openings, ensure you’re updating job descriptions with new information to help keep them accurate and enticing for potential candidates.
Improve your hiring success with AI-powered tools
Great job descriptions are just the beginning of identifying and hiring your top candidates. Hireguide has built tools to help you interview, assess, and hire the candidates that you need. Take a look at our educational Resources and sign up for our free Interview Transcription tool to hire faster, more confidently, and with less bias.