A job description is a written document that clearly states the required duties and responsibilities of a specific role, including the essential skills, education and experience required of a successful candidate.
Writing a good job description can help streamline the recruitment process and increase the chances of attracting more suitable candidates. By keeping the description relevant and up-to-date, they can also be used to measure performance standards during performance appraisals.
As the first piece of information a potential candidate reads before they apply for a job, the job description must clearly describe everything the candidate wants to know in a few brief paragraphs.
First, let us take a look at the basic details you should include in your job description:
While it is important to include these details, they are not enough alone to write a convincing job description. Today’s job seekers have access to a range of online job platforms so they are able to access numerous available positions each week. For a successful recruitment process, the job description must go further and really sell the benefits of the position itself.
Describe in detail what it is like to work at your company and who would be suited for that role. Is the position suitable for someone wanting a fast-paced yet rewarding environment, or a self-motivated person who prefers working by themselves? By helping candidates draw a mental picture in their head, they can more easily decide if they want to apply for the position.
Aside from having a well-written job description, the role must be neatly summarised into a job title that clearly describes the position.
To make this process easy you can break down most job titles into two types: Titles that describe what the person does (e.g. mechanic, accountant or chef), and titles that describes the responsibilities of the role (e.g. executive, manager or director). In some cases a combination of both types is acceptable.
If you are unsure on how to title a certain role, look at similar roles in the industry and use these as a reference to create your own.
This section clearly explains the tasks, duties and responsibilities that come with a specific role.
When writing job duties, sure the tasks themselves are specific and relevant to the position. For example, instead of just saying one of the tasks is to ‘review financial records,’ say the job requires candidates to ‘analyse data collected from internal records and customer invoices to assess the company’s financial position.’
If the position is a managerial role, explain how much authority the employee has over their specific department or the company itself. Do they have to maintain work schedules? Are they responsible for the Health and Safety of a department? Be specific about these details.
For positions that are relatively new or niche, you may need to research online and seek out valuable insight from industry experts to learn about the kinds of tasks, duties and responsibilities that come with the role. After gaining this information you can personalise the job title and description to suit your specific business needs.
Also known as transferable or employability skills, general skills are the kind of skills that do not fall under a particular role or industry. Instead they are more general competencies that can be used to complement the role-specific skills you already possess.
Examples of general skills include communication, team work, problem solving, planning and organising, and self-management.
When writing a job description, you should specify what kind of general skills you are looking for. For example, if the job is for a retail position, you can specify that candidates must have strong communication skills and previous experience in customer service.
Each type of employment has different rates of pay and entitlements. The types of employees in the workplace you choose will depend on the needs of the business, the industry standards of that particular role, and your budget.
The most common types of employment include:
Regardless of which employment type you choose, the terms of the arrangement must be outlined in the job description.