Employees are the life force of any organization, investing their skills and energy to fulfill promises to clients. Yet, the challenge of finding the perfect candidate is growing due to factors like a lack of clear recruitment strategies and difficulty defining job descriptions. Clear and effective job descriptions are essential to sift through applicants, allowing employers to focus on candidates who align with their company’s values.
In this article, we’ll break down the concept of job descriptions, covering their meaning, and components, and offering guidelines on how to write one. We’ll also highlight common pitfalls to avoid during the writing process.
Also Read: How to write inclusive job descriptions?
What exactly is a job description?
A job description is a concise document outlining the responsibilities, qualifications, and skills required for a specific job. It essentially serves as a detailed advertisement for an open position, aiming to attract qualified candidates to your company. Beyond recruitment, the job description plays a crucial role in establishing clear expectations and guiding interviews, acting as a roadmap for both employers and potential employees.
What should be included in a job description?
A job description should strike a balance, being concise enough to captivate the candidate’s interest yet comprehensive enough to provide a clear understanding of the role and its expectations. Typically, job descriptions ranging from 300 to 660 words perform optimally on most job board search engines.
To be effective, your job description must be descriptive, enabling candidates to gauge their qualifications for the role. It should delve into the specific nature of the work, how it will be executed, the requisite skills, and the purpose of the work in alignment with the organization’s mission and goals.
What is the structure of a job description?
Now that you understand what a job description is and what it includes, let’s explore its structure:
This brief, one- to four-word description highlights the job’s content, purpose, and scope. Ensure it aligns with industry-standard titles for clarity.
A concise paragraph sheds light on your company’s mission, culture, benefits, and distinctive features. It also includes the title of the person to whom the position reports, offering insight into the organizational hierarchy.
This section provides a three- to four-sentence snapshot of the role, covering its overall scope, key responsibilities, location, and purpose—a quick overview for potential candidates.
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Differentiating from qualifications, this part delves into a detailed yet concise list of specific duties for the role. It may encompass supervisory or financial aspects, giving candidates a clear picture of what the job entails.
Bullet points outline the necessary hard and soft skills, education level, certifications, and past job experiences required for the position. It serves as a checklist for candidates to evaluate their suitability.
Compensation and Benefits
While not mandatory, candidates appreciate job descriptions that include a salary range and details about benefits. This information provides transparency and helps potential applicants assess the overall attractiveness of the position.
How to write a job description?
Here are the fundamental steps to follow when crafting a compelling job description that attracts the right candidates and effectively communicates your organization’s needs:
Creating an impactful job title involves using standard language that makes it easy for candidates to find your job and understand its level. Instead of using internal terms, opt for industry-standard job titles. For example, shift from “Level IV Software Developer” to “Senior Software Developer” and from “Genius” to “Technical Support Specialist” for clarity.
Offering a detailed company description goes beyond outlining the job. Candidates want to know about the work environment they’ll be part of. This section should delve into your company’s mission, culture, size, and unique aspects. Including the title of the person the position reports to adds transparency about the organizational structure.
The summary paragraph serves as a quick snapshot, providing potential candidates with an overview of their future responsibilities, the role’s place within the organization, growth opportunities, and key collaborations. This section combines brevity and informativeness, allowing candidates to quickly assess the role’s suitability.
Also Read: Benefits of Diversity in the Workplace
List of Responsibilities
Crafting a list of responsibilities involves two steps. First, jot down every duty associated with the role. Then, streamline the list to highlight seven to ten key responsibilities, ordering them by importance. Each responsibility should be accompanied by a clear explanation of its importance and how it will be executed.
List of Job Qualifications
Mentioning the qualifications of the ideal candidate requires a comprehensive approach. Covering skill requirements, educational background, previous job experience, certifications, and technical knowledge levels is crucial. Adding expected knowledge levels to technical skills sets clear expectations, and categorizing skills as must-have or nice-to-have provides a realistic view for potential applicants.
Compensation and Benefits
While optional, including compensation and benefits information significantly enhances the job description’s appeal. A salary range and details about perks and benefits contribute to transparency, valued by candidates. Top perks and benefits, like paid time off and career development opportunities, should be clearly outlined in a bulleted list.
This optional section allows for the inclusion of additional details above and beyond the standard outline. Briefly covering aspects like work environment, hazard exposure, physical requirements, shift expectations, travel requirements, and team-related details provides a more holistic view for potential candidates.
Edit Your Job Description
Before posting, meticulous editing is crucial. A thorough check for grammatical and spelling errors, simplification of sentences, and confirmation that all essential elements are included ensures that the job description is polished and effective. Taking the time for careful editing contributes to the overall professionalism and impact of the job posting.
What to avoid when writing a job description?
To ensure your job description resonates with qualified candidates, steer clear of these common pitfalls:
Steer clear of overwhelming candidates with dense content. Focus on essential tasks, excluding occasional or potential future duties. Keeping it concise ensures better candidate understanding and engagement, preventing them from leaving the page prematurely.
Eliminate ambiguity in your job description by using action verbs and providing details on how the position executes these actions. Instead of a vague “Assists marketing manager,” provide explicit details like “Collaborates with the marketing manager in content planning by researching keywords, monitoring blog performance, and scheduling topics.” This clarity attracts candidates who understand their role more precisely.
Steer Clear of Redundancy
Save time for both you and the candidates by removing repetitive content. After drafting, scan for repeated words or responsibilities. Grouping related tasks results in a more streamlined presentation, making it easier for candidates to grasp the key components of the role.
Opt for simplicity over complexity in your descriptions. Ensure the language is inclusive, avoiding gendered pronouns and internal company jargon. This makes your job description accessible to a broader audience, eliminating potential barriers to understanding.
Attract suitable candidates by listing only the minimum required skills. Unrealistic expectations may draw in overqualified candidates who might not be the right long-term fit. Providing clarity on the essential skills ensures that candidates align with the actual needs of the position.
Avoid Prohibited Language
Stay informed about guidelines from the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Before posting, ensure your job description avoids statements related to age, gender, religion, or marital status, aligning with legal requirements. This proactive approach maintains fairness and inclusivity and ensures a quality hiring process.
To sum it up, writing a good job description is vital to attract the right candidates. By avoiding common mistakes and keeping your descriptions clear and straightforward, you enhance transparency and inclusivity in your hiring process. To make your recruitment journey more efficient and fair, consider using technology like BarRaiser, an AI-powered video interview platform. Give BarRaiser a try today to simplify your search for the perfect candidates.