With billions of job listings available online at any given moment, standing out from the crowd can be a considerable challenge. Simply put, it starts with a stellar job description. An effective description toes the line between providing enough details to be comprehensive and being concise enough that candidates can quickly understand the role and your company at the same time.
Unless your company is widely known, it’s very likely that a potential candidate will be unaware of your organization and what you’re looking for when they first encounter your listing. Remember that it’s critical to understand the job seeker’s perspective before even considering how to write a job description. Typically, when a prospect looks at your job description, they take note of the following:
- Job requirements
- Salary (if mentioned)
- Company information
Your prospect is looking for answers to two basic questions: first, ‘would I be a candidate for consideration?’; and second, ‘what are the financial incentives for pursuing this job?’. With a limited amount of time to capture and keep the prospect’s attention, it’s critical to address these questions head-on, and quickly.
Crafting a job description that grabs your prospect’s attention is no easy feat. Neither is it impossible, however. Consider the following as a best practice:
Table of Contents
1: Conduct a Job Analysis
Even if you have previously hired for the job you’ve posted, you should still conduct a job analysis as a matter of course. All of the best staffing agencies likewise recommend this practice. Knowing with certainty what the role entails, what personality traits might ensure its successful execution, and how to define successful input and output enables you to paint a clear and concise picture, both for the organization as a whole and the job seekers you’re hoping to target in particular.
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Start a job analysis by talking to people who will be working most closely with the new hire(s). Soliciting their input and guidance will increase the chances of identifying a slam-dunk hire. This essential first step will also enable you to fine tune the job description and make note of any essential non-negotiables or prerequisites, including experience requirements and/or desired technical competencies.
2: Writing the Description
When writing a job description, the vocabulary and language chosen will impart a considerable impact on the applicant. How to utilize verbiage to your benefit depends on your approach.
Consider the anatomy of a good job description:
It goes without saying – every job description needs a job title. This is the fastest and most efficient way to describe the position with an economy of words. Is it a senior position or entry-level? Contract, contract-to-hire, or an opportunity for immediate full-time employment?
Avoid using internal language that might confuse the candidate. Use standard job titles only.
Focus on making all content as readable as possible. Limited wordiness. Instead of burying information within heavy paragraphs, choose bullets to highlight key job requirements.
Requirement vs Preference
Readily distinguish between the “nice-to-have” skills and “must-have” skills. Be clear and leave some room for flexibility where possible. Avoid using strict language that might make your company seem authoritative.
Share Your Vision and Mission
Every employer wants to find candidates in sync with their culture and the mission of the organization at-large.
Sharing this information makes your motives clear. It also makes it easier to find applicants with the same motivations as your own.
List the Responsibilities and Qualifications
In many job descriptions, this section can quickly become a generic boilerplate. That is exactly what you must avoid. It can be a challenge to differentiate the role from others like it, but it’s imperative to be informational and engaging all at once.
It’s a best practice to start with the highest level of responsibilities. Try not to get too technical here. Every role has unique responsibilities. Make sure you mention them in the list.
Highlight the day-to-day activities related to the position. This will help the candidate understand both the work environment and the daily requisites. This information will also help the candidate in determining whether or not they are a suitable fit for the role.
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Another key point that most employers ignore is painting a picture of how the role might impact the larger business. This can be a compelling and empowering piece of information. Use the responsibilities section to illustrate how the position might impact the company’s success.
This section includes all necessary educational requirements, technical competencies, and a list of the hard and soft skills for the position.
Be clear and specify the education, job experience, certifications, and other skills required. If soft skills such as problem-solving are critical to the role, mention them.
Be concise with the list. You might be tempted to outline out every requirement you envision for the ideal candidate but too much information can easily become a deterrent.
It’s always a good idea to mention the monthly salary or hourly rate for the role. Some organizations pitch creative staffing agencies to hunt prospects. In that case, it’s best to communicate the remuneration associated with the position to avoid future misunderstandings. If you can’t mention the exact figure, work out a salary range.
3: Edit Before Posting
Once the job description is ready, before posting it, edit it thoroughly. Don’t shy away from making the necessary edits. This also applies to job descriptions that were created years ago. Before reaching out to finance temp agencies and handing them over the job description, ensure that all details and copy are up-to-date. Roles evolve over time and their associated job responsibilities do as well. Use this step to revise the description if necessary.
Here are some tips that will help you in the editing process:
- Evaluate the description of each section. Everything must make sense.
- Have different people in your team read the job description. They will be able to quickly determine if the description passes the credibility test.
- Take the opportunity to re-shape sentences that are uninteresting, vague or unnecessary.
- Use apps like Grammarly for identifying typos and making the description more readable.
Crafting and publishing a credible job description is a painstaking process, but it’s an essential part of scaling your business. As you stick to writing job descriptions best practices, you will attract ideal candidates with greater ease. Take the time necessary to craft a job description and make the process easier for yourself and potential candidates.
Frequently Asked Questions
Follow along to unlock answers to FAQs about writing a job description:
Why Is Writing A Job Description Important?
It’s a critical part of the job application process. With the right information, the applicant can determine whether the said role aligns with their experience, qualifications, and skill set.
How Do You Attract The Best Talents With Your Job Description?
Focus on perks like work autonomy and career advancement opportunities. Craft a compelling description that gives the impression that you are interested in a long-term cultural and professional investment in your employees.
How Do You Make A Job Description More Appealing?
- Use a clear job title
- Clearly outline requisite responsibilities and tasks
- Prioritize what’s most important to you
- Provide a brief overview of your company, your mission, and vision
Who Is The Best Person To Write A Job Description?
This varies from organization to organization. It’s widely held that managers should write the description since they manage the team and know exactly what skills and qualifications are needed. Job analysts might also write the description.
How Detailed Should A Job Description Be?
It must include important details about the role, responsibilities, qualifications and some company details (mission, culture and job benefits). An effective job description is the one that provides enough details to the job seeker to determine if he or she is qualified for the position in question.
What Are The Components Of A Job Description?
Job title, job summary, pay grade or salary range, reporting relationship, hours/shift, qualifications, job duties, and special demands if any.
What Should Not Be Included In A Job Description?
Negative, unclear statements, instructions about how to do the job, technical terms, abbreviations, occasional duties, and future duties.