How To Write a Job Description and Job Description Examples
Job descriptions are the cornerstone of the recruiting process. They set expectations for qualified candidates and inform prospects about the role and company. While writing accurate and compelling job descriptions can be frustrating, finding the time and resources to do so is well worth your while.
No matter how many job descriptions you write, they never seem to get any easier, especially if you are writing them for roles you know little about. We’re here to help. For starters, let’s discuss the importance of job descriptions, and then we’ll tackle how to write them.
Job descriptions are helpful for both prospective candidates and employers. Here’s why:
Attract prospective candidates. A concise and compelling job description will play a major role in attracting qualified candidates. With resources like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and email, the ability to post and share jobs is instantaneous and has exponential reachability.
Set expectations. A clear job description will set everyone up for success. Prospects will understand what is expected of them, more qualified candidates will apply, under qualified applicants will move on and you will save loads of time sifting through applications and communicating with potential candidates.
Prepare for interviews. A well-crafted job description can help both applicants and interviewers prep for the big day. Applicants will be able to prepare for likely topics of conversation and interview teams will be equipped to ask questions that will accurately gauge the candidate’s qualifications.
Make a stellar first impression. Job descriptions are often the first point of contact candidates will have with your company and can shape their first impression. Just like resumes and CVs, any jargon or grammatical errors will turn a candidate off and leave a lasting negative impression.
Simplify the search. Searching for jobs is incredibly time consuming, especially for the 73% of candidates who are passive and currently employed. Clear and concise job descriptions help prospects compare salaries, benefits, perks and even company culture to determine what roles are worth applying to.
Establish a baseline. Once a candidate is hired, the job description will stand as a baseline to measure growth, reference during performance reviews and consider future training opportunities.
Great job descriptions are thorough yet concise. They use specific terms and keep a professional tone. It’s ok to be a little quirky, but don't overdo it. If you don’t take the job description seriously, top candidates will move on to other opportunities.
Here’s an outline of the main sections every job description should include.
Job Title. Make the job title clear and concise. People will be searching terms they know, so don’t stray from the standard industry language of common job titles. Be sure to include specific terms, like the programs required for the role. The title Lead Front End AngularJS Engineer is much more descriptive than Developer and will attract more qualified candidates.
Company Mission. Most companies have a lengthy mission statement with core values and a culture code. Slim that down to about two to four sentences. For candidates looking at multiple companies and open roles, the missions start to sound the same, and they can read about the company’s full profile on the website if they decide to pursue the position.
Role Summary. Write a brief three to five sentence summary about what the candidate will do in their role, who they’ll work with and any general qualities your team is looking for in the individual.
Job Function. Give five to 10 bullet points on what the candidate can expect to do in the role. Here are a few tips:
- Write in complete sentences.
- Be thorough. Candidates will be better prepared for the interview and role if they know what exactly is expected of them.
- Don’t be excessive. You don’t need to include transporting a three pound laptop to and from meetings in the description. Candidates will become annoyed and stop reading.
Must Have Skills. List five to seven bullet points that are absolutely necessary for a candidate to be successful in the role they are applying to.
- Include quantities when applicable, like years of experience.
- Be sure to clarify what the application requires, like a portfolio, writing sample, video recording, resume, CV, cover letter, etc.
- Other important information includes education, experience, certifications and knowledge of specific platforms.
Nice to Have Skills. If there are any other qualities that are nice to have, include those here. Don’t feel like you have to include this section, but it may help candidates know what to include in the application or interview to stand out.
Compensation. 61% of job seekers consider compensation information to be the most important part of a job description. Many companies still refuse to provide this information in job descriptions, but it's time to get over your discomfort.
Time. It’s best to be upfront about the time frame you need employees to work. Flexible work hours are more common for full time employees, time zones may play a role, and certain industries and markets work around different schedules.
Location. Candidates will consider commute time or relocation efforts in their employment decision, so help them determine fit before they embark on the application process. Embedding a Google Map onto your website is really quite simple and can be done with this guide.
Working Conditions. People want to know what to expect in their future work environment. Are there any physical requirements for the role? What is the expected dress code?
Call To Action. Make sure it is blatantly obvious where a candidate is supposed to apply. Do not make it complicated or frustrating to apply because that’s just going to reduce your applicant pool for the wrong reasons.
Disclaimer Statements. Most companies include an equal opportunity employer statement and that the employee may be required to perform additional job functions beyond the description. Do your research because disclaimers can help companies prevent messy lawsuits.
These days, more companies are including details that help differentiate them from other employers. There’s certainly a balance between writing a thorough job description and being excessive, and that’s up to your team to decide. Here are a few additional sections to consider including in your job description.
Benefits. Non-financial benefits are often a deciding factor for prospective candidates. Things to include are your company’s…
- Health insurance & wellness plans
- Retirement and stock options offerings
- Childcare and parental leave options
- Vacation and PTO policies
Perks. Remember that perks are not the same thing as benefits. Perks are nice add ons the company offers its employees to improve work-life balance and help them live happier, more productive lives.
Company Culture. Sure, it’s a buzzword, but the people have spoken and the best candidates expect a strong company culture. In fact, 47% of them say that company culture is the main reason they’re searching for new opportunities. Need help building great company culture? We’ve got your back.