A job description is a valuable communication tool between a company and job seekers. A good description helps sell your company and find the most qualified candidate based on job requirements and value alignment.
After reading your job description, a candidate should be able to tell whether they're a good fit for the role and your company.
Detailed but precise descriptions are easy to understand and more effective in attracting suitable candidates, which increases hiring efficiency.
According to Indeed, 52% of job seekers admit the quality of a job description influences their decision to apply for a position.
A good job description is not just an ad you put out whenever you're seeking to fill positions; it's a powerful tool you can package to link up with top talent to increase employee engagement and productivity and boost retention rates.
In this guide, we show you how to write a good job description to impress potential candidates and stand out from the competition.
What is a job description?
A job description outlines a role's responsibilities, skills, and qualifications. Besides the job requirements, a good job description also provides insight into what a candidate should expect when working for the company, including a summary of the company culture, salary, and benefits.
Some of the top benefits of a detailed and clear job description include the following:
- Attracts the right candidate – Outlining the job requirements clearly allows you to attract qualified job seekers.
- Boost engagement and retention – Specifying the skills, experience, and qualifications a role requires minimizes the chances of unsuitable candidates applying for the position.
A good job description also paints a picture of what working for the company feels like enabling you to attract candidates whose values and work ethics align with the company. This increases the chances of job satisfaction and can lead to higher engagement and retention.
- Training – Serves as a reference for training and development. You can consult the job description to identify areas where an employee requires additional training.
What to include in a job description?
Each component of the job description provides more insight into the role, enabling the applicant to understand what the job entails and whether they possess the qualities you're looking for. Some of the most important components to feature in a job description include:
The job title should be an easy-to-understand, short description of the role. It should be more specific and reflect the job accurately to attract candidates with the skills and qualifications you're targeting.
Most job seekers use a job title to search for opportunities, so the more specific the title is, the more you're likely to be discovered by ideal applicants.
Also, you should avoid job titles with internal abbreviations or non-traditional terms and instead go for universally known and clearer titles.
This should be a brief section providing an overview of the role. It lets the job seeker into the purpose of the job by explaining why the position exists.
A job summary provides an overview of the job expectations and how it aligns with your company goals. Here you introduce the company, providing a glimpse of your culture and why the candidate would enjoy working for you.
Keep it brief but also assume the candidate does not know anything about the company, so provide enough information to help them envision the experience of working for you. For instance, you can briefly discuss your vision, mission, or values.
Type of employment and location
Job location is crucial to job seekers when deciding the suitability of an advertised role. Adding the location also helps you with optimization, making it rank higher for location-specific searches.
Make it clear where the position is located and, if open to out-of-state candidates, whether it comes with a relocation package.
If it's a flexible position, specify your preferred candidate location and specific work arrangement (remote, telecommuting, etc.) You should also indicate whether it's a full-time or part-time position.
Job duties and responsibilities
In this section, describe the job functions, preferably in bullet point form. Some of the areas to cover may include:
- Core responsibilities for the position
- Day-to-day activities
- Supervisory responsibilities
- Any software or system the position holder will be working with
This section outlines a candidate's competencies to succeed in the role. Here you mention the preferred experience, skills, education, etc.
- Experience – State the relevant experience required for the position, but don't set it too high to avoid closing out upcoming and talented job seekers
- Education – Indicate the minimum educational qualifications the candidate must possess to qualify for the position. In addition, you could mention preferred qualifications, which are not mandatory but an added advantage.
- Skills – Include a list of skills required to succeed in the role, such as leadership, communication, problem-solving, etc.
Salary and benefits
According to statistics, 74% of job seekers expect to find salary details in a job description. Similarly, 61% expect details on the total benefits package.
This section provides a salary range to allow variation based on the candidate's education and experience. Use this to sell the company by highlighting the benefits of the position, such as medical insurance coverage, paid vacation days, housing benefits, flexible hours, retirement benefits, tuition reimbursement, etc.
Working hours requirements
With the increasing popularity of flexible working arrangements, many candidates expect employers to offer some form of job flexibility. If you allow flexible working, ensure you highlight that.
Provide details on the types of arrangements available (for example, part-time, compressed workweek, annualized hours, flex time, telecommuting, remote, etc.)
Research shows that 40% of job seekers expect to see the hiring manager's contact information on the job description. Provide an email address where candidates can send their applications or a phone number if they want to reach you for more details on the position.
Top tips for writing job descriptions
Speak to your candidates in their language
If you stick to the traditional manner descriptions that have been written for years, you’re likely going to create a bland ad.
You want to appeal to enthusiastic and dynamic members to add to your team, so speak like one.
That doesn’t mean you should try too hard. You can easily dig yourself into a hole with job roles candidates can’t clearly understand, or baffling hipster-speak that makes you sound like the employment-equivalent of an uncool dad.
These job descriptions by One Step GPS are a great example of how a company can portray an approachable employer brand and weave a positive tone of voice into every job opening. Potential employees are able to understand the job requirements clearly, but the potential employer is also talking to them in a friendly and inviting way.
Be concise, compelling, open, and human. That way, you will create a reflection of your company without having to spell out every last detail.
Use your brand voice but keep things industry-accurate
If you’re a professional service, be professional, yet friendly and approachable. If you work in entertainment or a specific culture-set, act as though you do.
You should know how to use relevant industry terminology and when you’ve gone over the top—baffling or boring your candidates.
If you aren’t quite sure if you’ve got it right, keep it simple, stick to the facts, and keep your candidates invested.
Sell the sizzle, not the sausage – show them how their new work-life could look
Describing a typical workday can paint a far better picture of what’s on offer over a typically bland job description.
Keep everything you say enthusiastic and encouraging.
Upsell the company culture and the security it provides. Show how the role will help create a better work/life balance for employees. Outline the health benefits.
If you introduce negative terms in your description, you’ll be opening the door to being perceived as a negative company. It might only settle in your applicants subconscious, but it can still do a lot of damage.
Stay gender neutral
Lose he/she and his/her terms and concentrate on their, your and any other neutral pronouns.
You don’t want to appear at any point that you’re short of an equal opportunity, open-minded and forward-thinking company.
How long should a job description be?
This can get tricky. You don’t want to ramble on so much that you put your applicants to sleep, but you don’t want to miss out on any important and relevant information.
We suggest it’s better to be a little bit too long than a bit too short.
If you think your first draft is too long, edit out the fluff and strip it down to the facts. Not only will it read better, but it will also be laden with plus points in every sentence.
Job description template
Before we wrap up the post, consider the following job description template for inspiration, or check out more role-specific templates here.
Welcome to Recruitee. We are looking for a dynamic and highly motivated HR professional to join our team. At Recruitee, we provide collaborative hiring software that empowers companies to build winning teams.
Working with us gives you a chance to be part of a strong community of like-minded people who love what they do and promote the freedom to thrive through flexible work arrangements.
A successful candidate will be required to:
- Perform administrative duties such as sorting emails for the department
- Maintain records of employee attendance and leaves
- Coordinate new employee training and orientation
- Assist HR manager in hiring, policy formulation, and salary administration
- Submit online job postings, shortlist applicants, and schedule interviews
What you’ll bring to the team
A successful candidate must have the following qualifications:
- Associate degree in HR or any other related field
- Bachelor's degree (preferred)
- Have strong communication and problem-solving skills
- Conversant with common HR applications
Why Recruitee 💙
- A chance to be part of and to shape one of the hottest, most ambitious scale-ups in Europe.
- € 1,500 annual training budget.
- 25 paid holiday days.
- Pension scheme & fitness subscription.
- Apple MacBook alongside a Home Office budget.
- Work from anywhere for 4 weeks/year.
- Annual travel budget to visit the team in Poland.
- An inclusive and international work environment with a lot of fun thrown in!
- Impactful role at one of the fastest-growing companies in Europe.
We’ll save you the startup pitch of Friday beers, and ping-pong. Visit our Instagram to check us out: https://www.instagram.com/recruitee
A cleverly written and well-crafted job description can lure more of the applicants you want and weed out the ones you don’t.
You can coax your ideal candidates with the right details and perhaps even seal the deal with the right voice and content.