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How to Write a Good Job Description

Writing a Job Description

Writing a good job description will help you connect with high-quality candidates and provoke interest in the position. That’s the first step toward hiring good employees and improving your staff.

A well-written job description can be useful for more than just recruiting, too. They’re also handy for:

  • Establishing the responsibilities of an employee
  • Setting clear expectations for an employee’s abilities and contributions
  • Guiding performance review standards
  • Justifying disciplinary action
  • Protecting against lawsuits from disgruntled candidates or employees

With so many potential benefits, it’s worth getting right. Here’s how to write an effective job description.

1. Give the Right Information

If you’ve ever wracked your brain about what to include when writing a job description, we’re here to help. These are the main elements you’ll want to include:

  1. Job title
  2. Department
  3. Who the candidate would report to
  4. Salary range
  5. Expected work hours and shifts
  6. Location of the organization
  7. Summary of the position
  8. Description of the job duties and responsibilities
  9. Required skills, education, and experience
  10. Preferred skills, education, and experience
  11. General company info

If that seems like a lot, don’t worry. None of those bullets should take up much space. When writing a job description, less is more.

2. Be Transparent and Precise

This isn’t the time for mystique. Don’t save any information for an interview that might be useful for screening out unqualified or uninterested candidates upfront. Paint a clear picture of what working for your company would look like and what the employee would be expected to do. By leaving as little room for misunderstandings as possible, you’ll save yourself time and energy in the long run.

3. Use a Conversational Tone

High-Five

Even though you’re writing a job description for a professional audience, there’s no need to be overly cold or rigid. Write conversationally, as if you were speaking directly to the reader. Read it out loud, too. Would you say it the same way in person? If not, tweak it until it feels natural.

Here’s a free tip: say “you” instead of “the ideal candidate.” Really try to connect with prospects.

This personal, friendly approach will attract more job hunters and put them at ease about applying. Adding a dash of character is also a great way to set your company apart from the competition.

4. Make Your Job Description Readable

Job hunters often skim countless ads before they settle on what they’re looking for. That can get tiring fast. Pretty soon, all those job posts start to blend together.

Stand out from the crowd by making your job description as visually appealing and easily digestible as possible. Break up walls of text with bullet points, headers, and plenty of spacing to keep prospects’ eyes from glazing over.

Watch out for those typos, too. You’re trying to present yourself as a serious business, and nothing screams unprofessional like grammatical errors and sloppy writing.

5. Get the Length Right

How long should a job description be? That can depend on the details of your company, but 300-700 words is a good ballpark figure.

Generally, you want to keep things short and sweet. Again, job hunters are probably looking at a lot of options. You need to hook them and make your case in as brief a package as possible.

You can go too short, though, so make sure you include all the important pieces of information. That means “Need help, software company” just won’t cut it.

6. Skip the Jargon

Every industry has its own terms and acronyms. It can almost become a new language. Your target audience may be familiar with this language, but using too much jargon when writing a job description can still confuse them.

Once again, remember to make it easily digestible. Focus on clarity, and be careful to avoid too many acronyms or shorthand industry-speak.

7. Be Open About Your Company’s Culture

teamwork

Skills, education, and experience are only one part of what makes a good employee. Another major factor is how well they mesh with the culture of your company.

A good way to screen out the candidates who might not be a good fit is to establish your company’s culture and vision from the start. You want readers to ask themselves, “Would I really enjoy working at this company? Does it align with my priorities?”

As is often the case, honesty is the best policy here. You want to know if a candidate is going to be a good fit before you’ve spent (and potentially wasted) any time interviewing or onboarding them.

8. Sell Your Company

If you want to reach higher tiers of talent, you’ll need to offer compelling reasons for them to join your company. In-demand candidates will always have the option to be picky.

Describe the benefits and perks that your staff enjoy. These might include:

  • Free meals
  • High-end workstations
  • Cool gadgets
  • An on-site gym or recreation room
  • Flexible schedules
  • Remote options
  • Happy hours
  • Hawaiian shirt Friday
  • A ping pong table

Whatever your selling points are, sell them.

Ping Pong

Of course, all of these details may not necessarily be practical for the 300-700 words you’ll want to stick to when writing a job description. Linking to a good careers page is a great way to get these selling points in front of interested parties.

Another good way to sell your company is to link to a public organizational chart. Showing off your great staff can go a long way in making candidates want to join the team. Plus, with a diagram of how your company is structured in front of them, they can visualize a roadmap for how they might advance their career.

Put your emphasis on the reader’s preferences and ambitions, and you’ll give quality candidates a reason to pursue this job.

You Can Attract the Talent Your Company Needs

Armed with these tips and templates, you’re already on the right path to finding high-quality employees. Just put together your winning job description, pick the best places to post it, and keep an eye open for that perfect candidate.

If you’d like to include a public organizational chart in your hiring strategy, we can help. Org charts are a fantastic way to demonstrate meaningful transparency and reach in-demand job seekers. Sign up here to see the difference it can make.

Bonus: Good Job Description Examples

Corporate Employee

One of the easiest ways to learn how to do something is to see it done well. That’s why we put together a couple of job description examples for you. (These can also serve as effective job description templates.)


1. HR Manager Job Description Template

  • Job Title: HR Manager
  • Department: Human Resources
  • Reports to: John Smith, HR Director
  • Salary: $90,000–$120,000
  • Position Type: Full-time
  • Location: 1234 Fake St., New York, NY

Summary:

We are looking for an HR Manager to help us grow and strengthen our teams. You will play an essential role in finding, reviewing, and hiring candidates who align with our company’s culture and goals. As a trusted figure in a managing role, you will have the opportunity to plan and drive the direction of our hiring strategies. Your thorough experience in full-cycle recruiting will be essential for growing, training, and mentoring our high-performing employee base as our company develops.

Responsibilities:

Lead a cohesive recruiting team that can scale to the dynamic demands of our growing company Manage the recruitment process Establish consistent hiring metrics based on solid data Develop and monitor sound HR strategies Collaborate with various members of the company to improve our recruiting and onboarding process Drive the long-term success of our company by hiring and assisting passionate, skilled employees Keep up with the latest recruitment trends in order to stay ahead in a competitive hiring market Nurture a positive work environment for everyone Address and arbitrate requests, complaints, and other issues when necessary Assess the performance of employees and find ways to foster greater productivity

Requirements:

  • A degree in Human Resources or a related category
  • A proven track record as an HR professional
  • Strong management skills
  • Experience defining and optimizing metrics for hiring and assessing employees
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, including communication, negotiation, and conflict resolution
  • A love for people
  • In-depth knowledge of HR best practices and labor laws

Preferred Qualifications:

  • 5+ years of HR experience
  • Minimum 4-year degree
  • Familiarity with the following tools: {Insert any software or other tools you’d prefer your HR Manager to have experience with}

About Us

We are an {industry} company passionate about helping our customers {solve a problem or accomplish goals}. You can check out our careers page to learn more about how we operate.


2. Account Representative Job Description Template

  • Job Title: Account Representative
  • Department: Sales
  • Reports to: Jane Doe, Sales Director
  • Salary: $50,000–$60,000
  • Position Type: Full-time
  • Location: 4321 Fictional Ave., Los Angeles, CA

Summary:

We need a skilled Account Representative with experience selling technology {and/or other services} over the phone and through email. Beyond pursuing sales leads, your primary responsibility will be to manage a growing client book. You will field complaints or requests from clients and work with internal management to resolve any problems. You will also reach out to clients proactively, ensuring their ongoing satisfaction and retention.

Responsibilities:

  • Identify new opportunities for acquiring clients
  • Reach out to prospects and generate interest
  • Guide contacts through an effective sales funnel
  • Close new business and grow existing accounts
  • Negotiate contracts and manage paperwork
  • Reach or exceed sales quotas
  • Be the main point of contact for your client book
  • Respond promptly and professionally to any queries or complaints
  • Follow up with clients to guarantee continued satisfaction
  • Maintain reports on sales and account details

Requirements:

  • Experience finding prospects, closing sales, and managing accounts
  • A history of consistently hitting sales quotas and growing existing accounts
  • Excellent communication and people skills
  • Previous training in value-based selling
  • Tech-savvy nature and familiarity with our industry
  • Proficiency with Salesforce.com

Preferred Qualifications:

  • 3+ years of sales experience
  • A 4-year degree minimum
  • Familiarity with:
  • PowerPoint
  • Microsoft Office
  • {etc.}

About Us

We are an {industry} company designed to improve the lives of our customers through {solving a problem or accomplishing goals}. If you’d like to know more about how we work, please check out our careers page.


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