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What Should a Job Description Contain – Best Practices

A Job Description is a statement that outlines the specifics of a job or position in the company. It should go into detail about the responsibilities and conditions that comes with the job. Companies usually do a Job Analysis that looks at the job in depth to create a comprehensive description of what the job entails.

For Employers, a job description defines the position available and the ideal candidate to fill it. It helps target recruitment to attract ideal candidates with a thorough and enticing description. Hiring managers later use it to sift through the candidates when choosing individuals for interviews.

In this article:

Why a Job Description is Important?

The HR department will also use the Job Description to implement and plan training. By referring to the description, they can identify the skills that the employee will need to excel in the job and can cover those specific skills in training. Later, it can be used in employee evaluations as supervisors can refer to the duties and responsibilities. This can determine how well the employee has been performing.

When Job Seekers look for employment, they probably spend a lot of time looking through many job descriptions. They use this when deciding if a potential job is interesting and will match their goals and interests. It can also give them an idea of what the company might expect and they will be able to decide if they fit the qualifications of the position. Most of them might even use the description when tailoring their application material to what the hiring manager wants. They might even refer to it when preparing for interviews.

Conducting a Job Analysis

Before writing a job description, it is always important to conduct a Job Analysis. You should understand how your competitors are advertising the same position, check for any new requirements for the position as well as learn any other details that are specific and crucial to accurately describing your open position in the description.

There are two ways to conduct a Job Analysis:

  • Talking to people who have and will work with the new hire for the position. People like superiors, coworkers and direct reports. They might have information that you have missed when preparing to write a job description.
  • Ask yourself these questions

  1. What was the pressure (external/internal) on your organization that caused the job opening?
  2. How has the demands of this position changed or advanced over the past 5 years within this company and industry?
  3. Look at job postings for the same position posted by the competitor. What are some of the differences?
  4. What is NOT the typical requirements of this position?
  5. How will this job help in supporting the other roles in the company?
  6. What skills will the new hire have to have in order to meet the demands of the job?
  7. How does the compensation you offer for the position fare in comparison to competitors?

Components of a Good Job Description

Job Titles

A Job Title is the first thing job seekers see when they look at your job description. Therefore, it is very important that you make your job title as specific as possible. Targeted job titles are more effective than generic ones so include key phrases are accurately describe the position. Avoid exaggerating the importance of the role. Make sure that it reflects the ranking order with the other jobs in the company. Lastly, ensure that you use terms that job seekers would understand.

Avoid using terms that only employees in your company would understand and do not use colourful words to make the title more creative and fun. While it would suggest a more laid back culture, you have to use a title that job seekers would actually search for. You have to step out of your company’s internal terminology.

Role Objective

This is not a full breakdown of the exact responsibilities that the role would have. This is just an overall summary of what the job will demand. Explain why your company is hiring someone for this position, what you expect the employee in this position to accomplish and how they are expected to reach these goals.

Role Responsibilities

This is the expansion of the Role Objectives. Now you go into depth on the duties of the job. Explain the day-to-day responsibilities in point form. List all the tasks that the employee will be doing so that the job seekers who have experience with these tasks might feel more confident. You should consult the hiring manager on the proper language to use so that the responsibilities of the job will be showcased properly.

Desired Experience

Necessary Skills and certificates required are easy to define. However, desired experience is not. It is the one thing that many companies tend to forget. Rather than guessing and throwing a random year range, discuss it with the hiring manager. It also helps to take the experience level of the other members currently on the team into consideration. This could help to see where the person in this role would fit in.

Company Description

Always tell the job seekers what your company does and what it would be like for them to be employees. Most job seekers want a job that they are qualified for in a company that matches their personality. Explain your company and its culture to help job seekers understand more about the company they might be applying for.

Salary Range

While many employers are unsure of just how much information about the salary should be disclosed, it is definitely a good idea to give the job seeker an idea so that their expectations will align with yours.

Work Hours

Job Seekers who are interested in a position in your company would want to know if they would be able to commit to the work hours required for this role. Provide as much information on the work hours and travel requirements.

Summary

When writing the summary of the job description, describe only the skills, duties and knowledge required of the position. State education, certification and experience only if you can demonstrate that they are needed to excel in the duties and responsibilities of the role or if they are required by law. List the general responsibilities and descriptions of key tasks and their purpose, relationship with customers, coworkers and others as well as the results expected of them. Use one to four sentences to describe the major functions and how it contributes to larger company objectives. Include the remuneration range and employee benefits that comes with the position.

Avoid using superlatives, modifiers and language that describes focus on a narrow set of abilities like “perfectionist” which might turn off high qualified talent that could excel in the position but either do not have those traits or do not identify with the terms used. Do not include opinions and recommendations. Instead, talk about what the jobholder would have to do rather than how it should be done or how difficult it would be.

Tips on Writing a Great Job Description

Collaborate with the Hiring Manager

The hiring manager should always be included in the process of writing the job description to ensure that the finished product portrays exactly what they will be looking for.

Use Gender-Neutral pronouns

Always use gender neutral pronouns and do not focus on a specific gender like “he/his” or “she/her” as that might imply that you only want to hire one gender and would probably make a bad impresion to the job seekers reading it.

Too much information is never enough

Do not worry about the length of your job description. It isn’t a bad thing that you should avoid! By including as many details as you possibly can, you increase your chances of attracting the perfect candidate.

For more great articles to improve your hiring process, check out GrabJobs

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