A job description is a detailed summary of a role, where an employer describes the responsibilities, tasks, qualifications, and requirements needed for that position.
Job descriptions are most often used during the hiring process and are common human resources tools. They're often included on job boards and as part of job postings to give potential applicants a detailed description of the position they're interested in.
Sounds handy, right? Right! Effective job descriptions are incredibly useful, but notoriously tricky to put together.
Pro Tip: Job descriptions aren't only about describing available positions. Companies also use them to sell themselves and attract top talent.
Of course, the definition of a great job description is highly subjective. Nevertheless, there are a few key elements that will make your job descriptions stand out and be well-received every time.
This is a big one. Unfortunately, a lot of companies put vague and misleading job descriptions out there. Just take a browse through LinkedIn and you’ll see what we mean.
This is the wrong approach to take if you want to attract your ideal candidate. Make sure you are honest and transparent through your entire job description.
What do we mean by that? Well, first things first, specify the position’s level of seniority and salary. It’s just not transparent to be vague about compensation. If you want to provide a salary range, that’s fine, but it doesn’t come off well if you don’t say anything. It makes it seem like you want to pay your employees as little as possible or just don’t care enough to give them an idea of what they’ll be earning in the position.
In the same vein, you should be honest about what’ll be expected of your new employee. That means working hours, vacation schedules, benefits, work environment, the works. There’s no use in telling prospective employees they can work from home on occasion, when in reality you want them to come into the office every day.
If you’re not going to sell your prospective employee on an open position in your company, who will? Be sure to get a good writer who can use captivating, intriguing language to put together your job description.
This doesn’t only make a good impression and pique prospective employees’ interest. It also acts as an introduction to your company culture, atmosphere, and attitude. The way companies express themselves in job descriptions says a lot about them. A friendly, modern, and approachable job description says that applicants can expect a similar vibe at your company.
Most of the time, job applicants are sifting through hundreds of job descriptions while looking for the right position. That means that they might not have the time or attention span to read each one from beginning to end. If they think they’d be a good fit for the role or see something that catches their attention, they’ll stop and read it more thoroughly.
For this reason, it’s a great idea to write a well-organized job description that makes use of headings and subheadings. That way, it’ll be easy for applicants to find the information they need at a glance. In the long run, you’ll get more applicants that way.
Although it’s a good idea to be specific in your job description, don’t be too specific. Being too narrow-minded about the kind of candidate you want might limit the applications you receive.
Use neutral language and be flexible in the kind of experience and background you’re looking for. You’ll attract much more diverse applicants that way, which will add strength and varied perspectives to your team.
Job descriptions vary between companies and industries, but their main contents are pretty consistent across the board. They often include the following:
This includes information related to the hiring company, company culture, and job title.
Here, the company provides a general description of the position available as well as its associated job responsibilities.
These are often listed in order of importance and describe what the successful candidate would do on a day-to-day basis working in the position.
These points focus less on tasks and more on what a person working in a position would actually achieve within a company.
Although we've started ditching resumes in our hiring process, most of companies will provide expected degrees, certifications, qualifications, and experience.
This section typically doesn't focus on concrete achievements like degrees or work experience, but rather on skills and abilities.
This varies from industry to industry, but if your open position involves working conditions that are physically demanding or particular, this is where they should be made clear.
Make a list of the benefits you can offer and all the awesome things your company has with a call to action to apply. Acquiring great candidates is hard, most companies try to offer extended perks!
"Send us your application"
Above, we worked with the example position of Director of Engineering. Here are a few more popular job descriptions if you need help getting started:
Description: Is developing and carrying out excellent, unique, and high quality marketing strategies your passion? If it is, this job is for you. We’re looking for a dynamic, experienced marketing manager to lead our marketing team and take our brand identity to new heights.
Description: We’re looking for a mid-level full stack developer to add to our dynamic software development team. If you’re experienced, flexible, are looking for a new challenge, and want to join a passionate team of software developers, this position is for you.
Ready to go? Start putting together your job description template by:
Don't skip this step! Brainstorming and bullet points are how great job descriptions come together. Make sure to involve people who are familiar with the open position and ideally, people who have held the position in the past.
Check out sample job descriptions from companies you admire or read through job descriptions that your company has used in the past. Take note of what you like and don't like about them. This will help you find the right voice for your job description.
Avoid vague language and be as specific as possible when it comes to job requirements and expectations. This will help attract top talent and avoid confusion later down the road. If the open position carries specific expectations with it, make sure you state them clearly.
Ask yourself: "What do I expect a successful candidate to accomplish in this position within 3 months? A year? 3 years?"
If your company's a great place to work, now's the time to say so! Make sure to capture your company's spirit and culture in your job description, especially in the introduction. Make sure top talent knows why they should be working with you!
...there you have it! We can't wait to see the top talent your attract for your next open position!
You might already have written a job description or are working off an existing template. Nevertheless, you can still likely make some edits and improve the quality of your job description overall. Here are a few easy steps that will take your job description to the next level.
If you want to jazz up your job description a little bit, why not try something different? There’s no need to stick to plain old words and text. If you use a content management system like Slite, it’s easy to integrate a wide variety of media into your documents. Think images, videos, infographics, tables, and more.
As discussed earlier, applicants often have tons of job descriptions to look through. In order to make sure job searchers find the information they need as quickly as possible, it’s a great idea to provide an overview or quick summary of the position available at the beginning of your job description.
Tips: if you use a Slite document to publish your job description, you can add a table of content by typing the /command. Or just record yourself in a Video Cover to walk the candidates through your document.
Be sure to include the job title and seniority level, as well as the fundamentals about required qualifications and responsibilities. If the reader thinks the job could be a good fit for them, they’ll keep reading for the finer details.
If it isn’t already, try and make your job description as visually appealing as possible. It should look organized, professional, sleek, and reflect your brand.
The easiest way to do this is by using a ready-made template like ours, hint hint.
Job descriptions are tricky because you need to include all the most essential information, but you also don’t want to go overboard with details. If your job description is pages long and takes a long time to read through, you’ll not only lose applicants, but people will also get bogged down with details and miss key information.
Be sure to review your job description and ensure that it strikes the right balance between including all the most important information without being too long winded.
By now you might be asking yourself why you should put time into writing an effective job description. Well, job descriptions...
Tip: Job descriptions can also be used as benchmarks for compensation, career planning, promotions, discipline, job evaluations, and professional development.
Hiring processes can be overwhelming, so many human resources managers have trouble finding the time to put together effective job descriptions.
That's where Slite comes in. Duplicate our template and start writing your own.
Slite is a great tool for your hiring team and managers to put together great job descriptions, in a deep, thoughtful and collaborative way. We're here to make your recruitment process a breeze.