How to Create a Job Description
When you are writing job descriptions, it is important to be concise but still include all detailed, relevant information. An easy way to do this is to find a template online to follow or sample job descriptions. You can also follow the pillars that we’ve listed below to make sure you are not leaving out any pertinent information– this will help to ensure that you are receiving applications for candidates who are a good fit for the position!
First things first, you will want to have a job title for your job posting. Make sure it is not vague but is as specific as necessary. After all, this is one of the first things that jumps out at potential applicants, and if the title is inaccurate to the job, it may turn away qualified candidates. Think of it as your first impression, or your hook to get candidates to continue reading. Your job title should be 1-5 words and should encompass the content, purpose, and scope of the job. It should also be similar to other job titles of similar roles.
Next is the job purpose– this provides a quick job summary or overview of the job that you are looking to fill. This should not be too long but should be concise and easy for applicants to read quickly so that they get a good understanding of the position. Try to keep your job purpose writeup between 3-4 sentences long.
Job Duties and Responsibilities
The job duties and responsibilities section of your job listing will go into greater detail of what will be required of applicants if they get the job. These are also referred to as the essential functions of the position, describing the fundamentals of the job that will take up most of the applicant’s time. For instance, include phrasing that explains how and when specific duties are performed, and details the areas of direct and indirect responsibility.
If there are supervisory responsibilities in this particular position, those are important to go into detail about as well. For example, discuss how those in this position are expected to hire, discipline, train, or lead and delegate to other employees. This can either be listed as separate job duties or can be noted under other job duties as it applies.
Keep in mind that, when listing the various job duties of the position, you should list them by levels of frequency or importance, so that the more common and important tasks are at the beginning of the list. Usually, in a job listing, all of these responsibilities will be in the list or bulleted format.
The required qualifications section of your job listing will explore the required amounts of knowledge and experience for the position. It should focus on the minimum that is required to do the job, as every job will still need some on-the-job training to get new employees up to speed.
For required education, you will want to identify the educational degrees or qualifications that are necessary to successfully complete job responsibilities. For instance, describe these qualifications in terms of areas of study, type of degree, or type of concentration that would give the candidate the knowledge needed for entry into the position.
Experience is also an important qualification that you will need to outline. You’ll need to not only detail the amount of experience– typically, this should be measured in years– but also detail what types of experience qualify for the position. The different types of experience include prior work experience, internships, and graduate assistantships, and will need to be specifically called out in the job description.
Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities
When discussing qualifications, another important factor here is the knowledge that is required to enter into the position! That knowledge can be measured in a few ways– by skills, certifications, and abilities. You will want to list specific skills and abilities that potential employees will need to have in their arsenal to do the job properly. This may include any pertinent licenses or certifications, especially in regard to trade jobs. List these requirements under the tenets of working knowledge, general knowledge, thorough knowledge, and comprehensive knowledge. This section may also explore the technical skills that are necessary to the success of the potential candidates in this position.
The most qualified candidates should be able to check almost all the boxes in this portion of a clear job description.
A job candidate will also want to have an understanding of the company before they apply, in order to determine whether or not it is in line with what they want. This is why it is important to be clear about the working conditions of the position when writing up the job description and include a brief company description. The physical demands of the job are especially important to outline here. For instance, if the job will require heavy lifting or working outside in the elements, make this clear in this section. Detail the type of conditions, the frequency, and the duration of the physical or mental capabilities that are required. Travel requirements are another important working condition that does not fall under mental or physical conditions.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you write the duties and responsibilities of a job description?
When you are writing the duties and responsibilities part of a job description, you should be thorough and precise so that applicants are able to determine whether they would be a good fit for the position. Use strong verbs that inspire excitement and promise, and also be sure to outline what software, applications, or projects that applicants would be working on.
What is not included in a job description?
You will want to be detailed and thorough when you write a job posting. There are some things that you will not want to include in a job description, though. You do not want to include things such as a vague job title, redundant information, or discriminatory language. Business or technical jargon is something you should stay away from as well.
What should be included in a job description?
A job description should include the job title, job purpose, duties and responsibilities, and required or preferred qualifications. The working conditions and expectations are also important to include in a job description.
Importance of a Job Description
We all know what job descriptions are, but how much importance do we actually give them? In addition to providing a road map for potential and current employees, job descriptions are indispensable for both employers and employees.
The Human Resources Focus
Job descriptions are used for different purposes by the employee and the Human Resources (HR) department. An HR office uses job descriptions for the following purposes.
- As a definition of the functions and responsibilities of a job
- As a mechanism for recruitment
- For employee training and development (establishing and updating performance standards)
- For succession planning or organizational development (for example, what additional tasks can be applied for the growth of the organization as a whole)
- For assigning jobs
- To benchmark the company’s positions against those described in salary surveys.
Used as a Mechanism for Recruitment
Starting a recruitment campaign with a comprehensive job description means the recruiter can develop selection criteria and use it as a benchmark to identify candidates. When areas of a job description are well thought out (key objectives; tasks & responsibilities), the recruiter can identify the best applicants against these criteria.
The Employee Focus
When looking for a job, a candidate can request a copy of the job description at the interview. The candidate can then do research to benchmark the position against its placement in the market, in order to participate in an informed negotiation process. At the very least, a new employee should receive a copy of the job description within the first week on the job.
An employee’s job description should be reviewed at performance review time to make sure it accurately reflects the employee’s current job responsibilities. It should be used by both the employee and manager as a tool for establishing development goals.
The Basic Elements of a Job Description
A job is a collection of tasks, duties, or responsibilities assigned to an individual. A job exists regardless of who performs the functions. Even when no one occupies the job, it still exists.
A job description simply describes the job. It should not have language or technical jargon that is difficult to understand. Every job description should include the following.
- The job title
- The location of the job
- A position summary describing the purpose of the job
- Major responsibilities, describing the job as it currently exists and including the essential duties. These are tasks for which the employee is evaluated.
- Job qualifications, describing the minimum education, experience, and skills necessary to perform the job. Working conditions, describing work-related hazards and environmental conditions that occur while performing the job.
The job description is not meant to include any judgments. It should not state what is expected in the future, and it should not discuss how well the job is being performed. It may be used as a tool for measuring and establishing further career development, but this should be addressed in the employee’s performance management plan.