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).
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 it can help to protect the company legally.
How is a job description written?
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: in this section, you can write about the job title, a brief description of duties, its importance and where it fits into the organization. If possible, make this summary attention-grabbing. You can write about what makes the company and, by extension, this position unique and attractive.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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: last, 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!
- BONUS! 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.
- BONUS #2! 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.
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.
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