The modern job description template

Last updated:
December 16, 2020
December 22, 2021
min read
Adrie Smith
Table of contents

Everyone likes saving time, especially in recruitment. Saving time means fewer resources are spent, and you have more time to focus on the things that matter! But doesn’t recruitment matter? It’s hard to pin down the ideal time to spend on recruitment, unless you have tracked data in your ATS and analyzed the gaps in your process that can be sped up without sacrificing quality. This isn’t always the easiest task. Good things take time, right?

The reality is that it depends! There are some shortcuts that can be taken in recruitment without decreasing the quality of your process or hires. One such shortcut is the modern job description template. Well-crafted and carefully selected templates can improve upon your recruitment speed tremendously.

We took to the #TAinnovators chat on November 7th, 2018 to ask you just how job descriptions impact your recruitment process. Check it out:

Q1. The age-old question about job descriptions: to include salary or not to include salary?


A modern job description template likely won’t include a salary or salary range for you. It’s well-known that pay ranges fluctuate dependent on many things. While it’s not okay to use prejudicial factors when determining salary offered, it may be impacted by the individual candidate due to other aspects of their situation. This can vary from the specific job duties to the candidate’s prior experience. “Now with [g]igs, it’s Job Time Compensation… But with other jobs, it can vary depending on skills, as 1 person often takes over 2-3 positions” (@BrainBlenderTec).

It’s obvious that the job market is changing. Salaries are no longer cut and dry. However, some job descriptions still explicitly state the salary range. Does this help increase viewers and bring in top talent? Or does it decrease the quality of candidates or lead to false impressions? In most cases, it’s best to “only include the salary (or salary range) if it differs from the average drastically AND you can guarantee to offer at least the minimum. It’s not necessary (and sometimes looks too good to be true!)” (@TAinnovatorBeth).

On the other hand, employers often ask candidates to define their required salary. “If the job poster requests it, [the candidates] need to have something. Some online applications’ salary field is a text box. So you can say something like, “While my range is x$ – y $, I’m interested in a [package] that’s in line w/ the role and the value I bring to the role” (@AndiCale). Is it fair to ask this of candidates when you don’t specify what salary range you are ready to offer?

@JKatzaman proposes the perfect compromise: “There ought to at least be a job salary range with the proviso[n] that final offers depend on experience and demonstrated performance.” All in all, a modern job description template won’t require or provide a salary for you. However, if others in your location and field are including it, it may help to do so. If it’s too complicated, add a clause explaining that it may fluctuate, or nix it altogether. Take our #TAinnovators’ advice, and use your judgment!

Q2. How does a bad job description negatively impact your recruitment process?


Another characteristic of the modern job description template should be that it is accurate and optimized with relevant keywords. If the template is poorly constructed in the first place, it may do more harm than good for your talent acquisition. “It can cause an influx of the wrong candidates, wasting time for everyone. It can also set up false expectations that are shattered once talent is hired. SEO can also be affected, leading to less applicants” (@TAinnovatorBeth).

This can obviously also be caused by a job description that is poorly written (without using a template). Your best bet is to start with a modern job description template and tweak it to your needs. If not, the #TAinnovators know that these negative effects may come about during your recruitment:

  • Low search engine ranking
  • Less views on job postings
  • False/broken expectations
  • Unqualified applicants
  • Too-high expectations (job requirements and duties) that scare off top talent (@JKatzaman)
  • Negative candidate reviews, impacting employer branding (@AndiCale)
  • Overwhelming candidates leading to a longer selection process (@BrainBlenderTec)

From employer branding to not being seen by top talent, a bad job description can cause all sorts of issues that negate the hard work you are putting into your recruitment process. Worst case scenario, “you won’t receive any applications!” (@RGCclarke). Don’t let that happen to you. Be prepared!

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Q3. What job description have you had the most trouble writing in the past?


There are most definitely some horror stories about job descriptions out there. We wanted to know yours so that other #TAinnovators can learn from our mistakes! Here are some of the most difficult job descriptions to write, according to our community:

  • Government Advancement Liaison
  • Why? There are different requirements and expectations dependent on the situation and skillset.
  • Anything remote
  • Why? Remote hires are a specific kind of person. The wording needs to be different to cater to these individuals and find the right remote talent.
  • Job descriptions that require subjective factors
  • Why? Qualitative metrics are more difficult (but important!). However, there is a lot left open to interpretation. A collaborative hiring process (and modern job description template) are crucial here.
  • Any time when hiring managers don’t know what they want
  • Why? It creates a lengthy process with a lot of rewrites. Nip that in the bud by breaking the traditional hiring manager relationship.

Although some job descriptions are difficult to write, they still need to get done. And they need to be done well. As you’ve learned in question 2, bad job descriptions can cause a slew of problems for your recruitment. Nab a modern job description template and tweak it with your whole team’s input.

Q4. Do you use job description templates? Why or why not?


Getting down to the nitty-gritty, we wanted to know if you already implement job description templates into your day-to-day recruitment.

Wendy (@WendyMSHRMPHR) offered a resounding:

“Yes, it helps us keep things consistent.”

while Rebecca (@RGCclarke) qualified that a bit more:

“Templates are definitely handy to use, but you do need to invest the time up front to customise them. If you’re hiring often for a single role, get your hiring manager involved as well- they’ll know the kind of language your target audience responds to!”

The overall consensus of the #TAinnovators chat aligned with Rebecca’s thoughts. Knowledgeable recruiters and employers know that to correctly utilize a modern job description template, you must not just copy and paste. Take your time. Do your research. Pick the right job description template as a starting point, and get input from everyone on your team when adding the appropriate adjustments.

And guess what? You’re in luck! We have 200 “right” job description templates ready for you to download for free! If you’re not ready to download that whopper, start by reading these 20 modern job description template examples.

Join us on Wednesdays at 11 a.m. ET by following #TAinnovators!

#TAinnovators is a live chat that delves into the talent acquisition world and encourages discussion of trending recruitment topics. Check out our
last recap, and follow @Recruitee on Twitter for updates.

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