Writing an Effective Job Description – A Refresher
An often underappreciated task by employers, equally as important as a detailed and impressive cover letter for job seekers, is developing and advertising the perfect job description. A job description should be viewed as an introduction to potential employees, one that will make a lasting impression, and can either drive further interest or propel great candidates away.
An ideal job description should be both broad in outlining essential functions and objectives of each position; and specific, from the job title, to the tasks required of employees. And most importantly, it should reinforce your brand and the benefits of candidates in joining your team; a major element of any recruiting strategy.
Here are three basic principles you should consider to help craft an effective job description.
Cover the basics. First and foremost, job seekers must know what he or she is getting into. A job title is of course necessary, but employers should also make it a point to include a brief, but detailed, list of objectives, level, and the general nature of the job. Other basic elements include listing location, salary, physical requirements (if applicable), as well as the relationships potential candidates will have with other employees, and standards and requirements for the position.
Addressing all these details in the beginning of your job description will allow job seekers to see a broad overview of the job, and significantly reduce any ambiguity in regards to the fundamental aspects of the position.
Add more details. Next, you may want to extrapolate upon the more specific details of the job in question. Now is the time to inform job seekers of each individual task and responsibility that the position requires for success, beginning with the most significant and ending with the least significant.
Format this section as a list for the sake of the seeker; putting it in paragraph form might overwhelm the reader, presenting too much information at once. Another key point is to avoid using words that may be vague or open to multiple interpretations, such as "complex" or "occasional."
The more specific you are the better able you will be to target the right candidates for each position. Vet job descriptions with hiring managers to ensure that you are including the appropriate roles and responsibilities for each job function. For instance, if travel is required, this should be listed.
Sell your brand. Make your job description flexible, noting opportunities for growth and upward movement in your company. This will encourage prospective employees to see the big picture, and want to contribute to your company as a whole, rather than just focusing on their specific position. Furthermore, discuss the specific opportunities for growth, as well as the ways in which employees can go above and beyond their requirements in order to advance opportunities.
A job description must be more than a simple list of tasks. Detailing the requirements and responsibilities will remove any doubt from potential employees concerning their duties. In addition, making candidates aware of future opportunities that may eventually be available to him or her will arouse morale, making employees more likely to go above and beyond their basic tasks.
For more advice on writing effective job descriptions, read our more employer articles.