How to Write a Job Description

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: 

  1. Summary of the role
  2. Detailed list of responsibilities
  3. List of relevant qualifications and skills
  4. Salary range, expected hours and location
  5. 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 for hiring candidates

After you’ve done a proper job analysis it’s time to create your job description. Using the five components of a job description listed above, you can craft your job template, in that order. Learn more about the essential elements of a job description and details to include within each below.

Job Title

In a job description, the job title is like a headline: clear, engaging, and informative. It's the first thing that catches a candidate's eye and sets the stage for what they can expect from the role.

To craft a title that draws in the right candidates, focus on clarity and appeal. Avoid vague or generic titles; instead, choose ones that clearly reflect the role's responsibilities and level. Ditch the internal jargon or acronyms – they can confuse candidates who aren't already part of your team. Keep it straightforward and aligned with what job seekers are looking for. Remember, a well-chosen job title is your first chance to make a great impression on potential talent.

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.

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 jon search results and 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. Adding a location not only benefits candidates by giving them a clear idea of where they might be working or the region they'll be collaborating with but also helps recruiters and hiring managers target and reach the right audience. It can also attract local talent or those interested in relocating to the specified area, ensuring a better match between the job and the applicant's preferences.

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 of the job description, 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 skill 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! This 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.

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. 

Employment policy

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 job description examples and templates

Great job descriptions are just the beginning of identifying and hiring your top candidates. While elements like company summary, perks, and benefits, as well as employment policies, can often be replicated across various job descriptions within a company, it's crucial to remember that the role responsibilities and requirements need to be tailored to each unique position. This is where Hireguide’s job description templates can be useful for your hiring team.

Hireguide offers an array of job description templates, tailored to the unique needs and expectations of roles you might be hiring for. Using these templates saves time and ensures consistency in the quality of job descriptions across different roles within the company.

Here’s a few of Hireguide’s job description templates:

Take a look at our full list of job description templates.

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