Guide to writing effective job descriptions [With Template]
When it comes to attracting the best talent to your organization, one of the most important tools you have at your disposal is an effective job description. A well-crafted employee job description not only provides a clear understanding of the responsibilities and qualifications for a particular position but also sets expectations for potential candidates. And if that doesn’t convince you of the importance of a killer job description, consider that according to an Indeed survey, 52% of job seekers said the quality of a job description was extremely influential in their decision to apply.
However, creating a concise, engaging job description that captures necessary information, and the attention of the best talent out there can be challenging. After all, the job description has to do more than just tell someone what their duties might be in a role. It also needs to sell the candidate on your company. After all, it really is all about marketing your company to your next best hire.
Fortunately, with the right strategy and the helpful template we’ll share later in this guide, you’ll be crafting job descriptions that bring all the right talent to your door! But it starts with truly understanding the role you’re hiring for.
Understand the role and what it requires
Before you start writing a job description, it’s essential to have a clear understanding of the job specific requirements, responsibilities, and skills required for the role. Take the time to collaborate with your internal team and identify the tasks and responsibilities involved with performing the job, as well as the qualifications, experience, and skills needed to complete those tasks effectively. Make sure that the job description is detailed – without being over-detailed, and that it accurately reflects the job requirements.
When you’re very clear on what you’re looking for in a candidate for the role, you can create a job description that truly reflects the position and attracts the employee you want to attract. This will save you time in the hiring process, and ultimately – lead to a better match between your company and the candidate. The next step to creating an effective job description is to come up with the perfect job title.
Title the job description appropriately
Since the title of the job description is the first thing a potential employee will see, it’s important to have a job description title that clearly identifies the role. Job seekers are typically searching for a role by a specific title, so be sure your description encapsulates what the role is. It can be tempting to throw in some attention-grabbing headlines like – marketing ninja or brand evangelist, but you may want to forego those kinds of descriptors and stick to simplicity. After all, the clearer your title is, the more likely you are to attract applicants who are qualified for that exact role.
So, what makes a good job title? Here are some tips
- Be specific: Instead of using generic job titles like “Account Manager” or “Marketing Specialist,” be more specific. For example, “Digital Marketing Manager” or “Social Media Strategist” will attract candidates who have experience in those areas.
- Highlight the most important aspect of the job: If there’s a specific aspect of the job that’s particularly interesting or unique, highlight it in the title. For example, if the job involves working for a well-known brand, include that in the title.
- Make it action-oriented: Use active verbs to make the title more engaging. For example, “Lead Generation Specialist” sounds more active than “Lead Generation Coordinator.”
- Keep it short and sweet: One study of 400,000 job seekers found that shorter job titles (50 to 60 characters) were clicked on by as much as 30 – 40% more than longer titles. So, try to keep the title to no more than six words. This makes it easier for candidates to scan and understand quickly.
Use Simple Language
When it comes to job description writing, it’s important to keep things simple. Your job description example should be easy for candidates to understand without any confusion or misunderstandings. Using complex language, industry jargon or acronyms, can deter candidates from applying for the position.
Keep in mind that not everyone may have the same level of familiarity with the industry or specific job requirements. Here’s an example of how you can simplify a job description:
Complex language: “This role requires extensive utilization of software programs for statistical analysis and data mining, with the ability to navigate and interpret results with ease.”
Simplified language: “The successful candidate will be able to analyze data and draw conclusions using software programs.”
Using simple language doesn’t mean that you should sacrifice detail or key requirements of the position. Instead, focus on explaining the responsibilities and requirements in a way that is easily digestible for anyone reading the job description.
In addition to being clear and concise, simple language also ensures that you don’t come across as pretentious or intimidating.
Speaking of language – keep it neutral
Avoid language that speaks to a particular gender or demographic. Let’s face it, top talent comes in all shapes, sizes, genders and ethnicities. So, keep your language inclusive and about the role, and avoid inadvertently appealing to any one group. It’s also a better way to attract Gen Z talent, who are more concerned with diversity and inclusion than any previous generation.
Keep it short
Thomas Jefferson had it right when he said, “The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.” Words to live by no matter what you’re writing! But especially important for writing job descriptions – keep it brief, less is more. You get the picture. While you may be tempted to include every detail about the position, a lengthy job description can actually turn off potential candidates and make the position seem overwhelming.
Instead, focus on the key responsibilities and requirements of the job. This will help keep the job description concise and to the point. It also allows candidates to quickly understand what the position entails and whether they’re a good fit or not.
Make it mobile friendly
Keeping it short is important and using bullet points to list the requirements is a great way to organize a job description for brevity. But it’s also helpful for mobile viewers. Research shows that 50% of job seekers use their mobile devices to apply for jobs. So, making sure a job descriptions is mobile-friendly is also critical. Consider bolding the important points and be sure to check how the job description looks on a mobile device prior to posting it.
Incorporating keywords into a job description can be a powerful tool for attracting the most compatible candidates. By using specific keywords related to the skills, qualifications, and job responsibilities required, you increase the chances of your posting showing up in search results for job seekers searching for the role you’re sourcing.
However, be careful to weave keywords into the job description naturally. It’s important not to overuse them or make the job posting sound like a list of keywords strung together. Using relevant keywords throughout the job description increases your chances of attracting qualified candidates who possess the specific skills and experience needed for the position. Plus, you’re making it easier for them to find your posting when they search.
Give job seekers what they want
By providing the most important information up front in the job description. And what candidates most want to see quickly – is the compensation and benefits, with the job qualifications making the top 3 most important things to job seekers. It’s great to include some brief snippets about the company culture and mission, but keep it at a minimum and save your word count for the words that count!
Use a job description template
When it comes to writing effective job descriptions, using a template can be a lifesaver. Not only does it streamline the process, but it also ensures that you don’t miss any important details.
To create a job description template, start by listing out the essential sections that you need to include in every job description. These may include job title, company overview, job summary, responsibilities, qualifications, benefits, and application instructions.
Once you have your sections identified, create a document template with placeholders for each section.
Having a template will save you time and ensure that every job description you create follows a consistent format. It can also be useful if you have multiple positions to fill, as you can simply modify the template for each job rather than starting from scratch every time. The Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM) recommends following a job description template such as the one below.
Job description template:
Job Title: Department:
Reports to: Effective Date:
Example: The Customer Service Supervisor will oversee and assist customer service employees in the performance of their job duties such as responding to customer inquiries and resolving issues or complaints.
- Recruits, interviews, hires, and trains new staff.
- Oversees the daily workflow of the department.
- Provides constructive and timely performance evaluations.
- Handles discipline and termination of employees in accordance with company policy.
- Performs other related duties as assigned.
List the essential job duties that are specific to the position.
- Excellent verbal and written communication skills.
- Excellent interpersonal and customer service skills.
- Excellent sales and customer service skills.
- Excellent organizational skills and attention to detail.
- Excellent time management skills with a proven ability to meet deadlines.
- Strong analytical and problem-solving skills.
- Strong supervisory and leadership skills.
- Ability to prioritize tasks and to delegate them when appropriate.
- Ability to function well in a high-paced and at times stressful environment.
- Proficient with Microsoft Office Suite or related software.
Education and Experience:
- High school diploma or equivalent.
- At least two years related experience required.
- Current human resources and/or compensation credentials or certification preferred.
- Prolonged periods of sitting at a desk and working on a computer.
- Must be able to lift up to 15 pounds at times.
Ultimately, the type of candidates you attract are going to be a direct reflection of how effective your job description is. Including relevant information, setting clear expectations, and making job descriptions reader-friendly are certainly steps in the right direction. However, make sure you incorporate enough of a human touch so that you connect with candidates in a human way. A balanced approach is going to get you the best results, and the top talent you need to make your organization thrive!
But if you’re among the recruiters and hiring teams facing the unprecedented workforce challenges of today’s turbulent market, and sourcing top talent is a struggle – you don’t have to go it alone. With the largest talent database in the industry of 850M+ local and global candidates, and AI-powered talent scoring and ranking, Arya can help you close your sourcing gaps quickly with quality candidates most likely to succeed in every open role. Book your demo of Arya today and see for yourself what the power of AI can do for your organization.
What should I include in a job description?
You should include job title, job summary, key responsibilities, qualifications and requirements, salary range, and any other relevant details about the position.
How long should a job description be?
Ideally, a job description should be no more than two pages long.
Should I use technical jargon in the job description?
No, it is important to use simple language that everyone can understand.
How can I make the job description stand out?
Use an attention-grabbing title, highlight unique aspects of the position, and use keywords that will attract the right candidates.
Should I list all of the required skills in the job description?
It is important to list the required skills, but don’t list too many. Focus on the most important skills for the job.
Can I use bullet points in the job description?
Yes, bullet points are a great way to make the job description easier to read and highlight important information.
Where should I post the job description?
Post the job description on your company website, job boards, and social media channels. You can also reach out to industry-specific organizations or publications to post the job description.
Do I need to include the salary range in the job description?
It is highly recommended to include the salary range in the job description to manage candidates’ expectations and prevent wasted time during the interview process.