Crafting a compelling job description is essential to helping you attract the most qualified candidates for your job. With more than thousands of job listing in one job portal, a great job description can help your jobs stand out from the rest. Your job descriptions are where you start marketing your company and your job to your future hire.
The key to writing effective job descriptions is to find the perfect balance between providing enough detail so candidates understand the role and your company while keeping your description concise. We’ve found that job descriptions between 700 and 1,100 words see an average 24% increase in apply rate.
The job description is a critical document for every position. A good job description performs a number of important functions:
- It describes the skills and competencies that are needed to perform the role;
- It defines where the job fits within the overall company hierarchy;
- It is used as the basis for the employment contract; and
- It is a valuable performance management tool.
This article outlines how to write a job description that is clear, concise and accurately defines the role – in 5 simple steps.
1. Job Title
Make your job titles specific. Targeted job titles are more effective than generic ones, so be precise by including key phrases that accurately describe the role.
Avoid internal lingo that may confuse the job seeker. Stick to standard experience levels like “Senior” rather than “VI” or other terms people are less likely to look for.
Keep the job title concise. Our data shows job titles that are 80 characters or less receive more clicks.
Outline the core responsibilities of the position. Make sure your list of responsibilities is detailed but concise. Also emphasize the duties that may be unique to your organization. For example, if you are hiring for an “Event Management” role and the position requires social media expertise to promote events, include this detail to ensure candidates understand the requirements and can determine if they’re qualified.
The list of duties and responsibilities will vary in length, but as a rule, should be as short as possible, otherwise the document becomes an operational manual rather than a job description.
Highlight the day-to-day activities of the position. This will help candidates understand the work environment and the activities they will be exposed to on a daily basis. This level of detail will help the candidate determine if the role and company are a right fit, helping you attract the best candidates for your position.
Specify how the position fits into the organization. Indicate who the job reports to and how the person will function within your organization, helping candidates see the bigger picture and understand how the role impacts the business.
Roles in smaller companies (eg. office manager) may have more tasks associated with them, due to their ‘all rounder’ nature, but you should still aim to keep your list to around fifteen tasks and preferably less.
3. Qualifications & Skills
Include a list of hard and soft skills. Of course, the job description should specify education, previous job experience, certifications and technical skills required for the role. You may also include soft skills, like communication and problem solving, as well as personality traits that you envision for a successful hire.
Keep your list concise. While you may be tempted to list out every requirement you envision for your ideal hire, including too many qualifications and skills could dissuade potential candidates.
It is important to include reporting lines and working relationships in your job description.
Reporting lines clarify the responsibilities of the position by showing who the candidate reports to and who reports to them. This is important, not only in relation to compliance issues, but also to give the candidate an insight into the hierarchical structure of the organisation and how their position fits into it.
Working relationships are the people and departments the position requires the candidate to work closely with. It is a good idea to give an indication of the size of such departments and the extent of interaction.
An organisational chart is a good way to represent relationships in a job description, with vertical lines between boxes demonstrating reporting lines and horizontal lines showing working relationships.
Include competive salary range. Rather than assigning a particular salary to the position, work out a salary range to include in the job description that is competitive with similar positions in other organisations and allows for variations in education and experience.
Obviously, this would need to be updated from time to time, in line with changing pay scales.
A good job description is much more than a laundry list of tasks and responsibilities.
If well written, it gives the reader a sense of the priorities involved. It not only provides a clear picture of the position for potential candidates, but is also a useful tool for measuring performance and a vital reference in the event of disputes or disciplinary issues.
So, the more accurate you can make a job description upfront, the more useful it will become in the future.
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