If you are looking for an employee to work for your company, you need to attract potential candidates to hear about the job. Not just acknowledge the vacancy, but also, learn about the requirements of the specific role in the company. That's when you need a job description. Before we move to how to write an effective job description, let's learn about what a job description is, and how important it is to the company.
As the name suggests, a job description is a document that describes the job in a detailed manner consisting of the core responsibilities and qualities expected in an ideal candidate. This helps in measuring the success that is later used in performance evaluations. It is also known as job specifications, job profiles, JD's, and position descriptions.
To ease your work, we have attached some templates and examples at the end. Samples give you a better understanding to write your job description.
Importance of Job Description
Now that we are clear with what exactly is the job description, let's understand why it is important for a compelling job description in every company, besides the legal reasons, the job description is considered to be a helpful tool for many reasons. We bring to you four reasons how this tool can help simplify the job search.
1. Communication Tool
There were times when job seekers applied for a job by the walk-in method, introduced themselves, and scheduled an interview. How did that happen before the internet? Take a guess, newspaper, word-of-mouth marketing? This way, the word traveled to the target audience who were on a job search. Years later, we have job descriptions to communicate the news. A job description clearly instructs the performance standards, rules, and regulations for the particular job.
2. Identify the right employees for a job
A good job description informs the applicants what essential responsibilities are involved. An applicant is then expected to decide by themselves if he/she is a good fit for the position in terms of the job description. A qualified candidate with the ideal skills required will be the right match for the job profile.
The job description puts light on various aspects of the company. The reader must know the company culture, salary range, job location, and job specification. This transparency helps the employee gain confidence and removes doubts from the minds of the reader.
4. Describe Minimum Qualifications
We will start by giving an example here. Let's just say, you are a hiring manager working for a company that helps people improve their mental health. Here, for this specific job role, an ideal employee must be qualified with certain education and certification i.e psychology. The minimum qualification must be included in the job description. Moreover, if any candidate does not possess the required qualifications, you need not worry you can simply reject the candidate for the job role. Also, it makes it easy for the qualified applicant to decide whether or not he/she is the right fit for the position.
Benefits of a Well-Written Job Description
1. Easy Recruitment Process
As we already know, a perfectly elaborated job description works as an amazing communication tool as it bridges the gap between the applicant and the company. Once the requirements and duties are communicated well, it gets easy to find the best talent for the role. The employee expectations are aligned with the business goals and the recruitment process is worked out smoothly.
2. Better Compensation Data
Usually, the hiring department doesn't add direct compensation to the job description. This takes a lot of research of the market value of the role which thereby, allows HR to decide the salary pay structure suitable for the job role. If done well, it no doubt would create any inequity or issues during the induction program and further processes.
3. Legal Benefits
Yes, that's right! You must be wondering how a job description is related to law and order. It is and always gives the employees benefits with various existing employments law marked in the rule book. There are acts specifically for the employees, here are some - Fair Labor Standards Act (Classification of roles as exempt or non-exempt), Equal Pay Act (Abolish gender bias), occupational Safety and Health Act (Mention the working conditions), Age Discrimination in Employment Act (No discrimination on basis of age), etc.
4. Performance Evaluation
People planning is important for the company and it is advised to be included in the business plan. Components such as training and performance evaluation programs can be added to the description to recognize the areas where the applicant can be trained. Also, future planning helps in the headcount of the current employees to understand what roles are needed to be filled in the future hire.
How to write a Job Description
1. Job Title
The job title is the first and foremost line that the reader would notice and hence, make sure it is specific. It must describe the position and the level of the job. Don't forget to mention the basic terms - Senior or Junior; if the job profile doesn't include these two designations, you are free to cut it out.
2. Job Summary
Your summary must be strong enough to grab eyeballs and make the reader attentive till the end. Provide the main points in the summary, for example - an overview of the company, company details, company mission, and its goals, vision, for the future, and expectations for the position.
The main aim of the summary is to give out details about the company. Use a specific tone while writing some interesting facts about the company. Keep it interesting so that the reader is well invested in the company description. Give them a good reason why joining your company is their best career decision.
3. Responsibilities and Duties
This is where the reader strikes a chord with the company when he gets aware of the list of responsibilities and duties he has to cover. While you should outline the major duties expected from this role, don't forget to emphasize if he is expected to deliver extra work from different functional areas. For example, if your job title says, "Content Writer" but you hope the employee is well-versed with social media expertise, mention that you expect a few digital marketing skills as well, in the description to avoid confusion.
Also, include the day-to-day activities so that the candidate understands the work environment. If the assigned responsibilities are fluctuating, meaning it might change after a couple of months according to their work and growth; add that to the list too.
4. Qualifications and Skills
This goes without saying, that your detailed job description must contain a list of qualifications and skills required for the job role. Specify the type of education, previous job experience, certifications; soft skills, or technical skills that are needed. This filters the list of candidates applied and makes it easy for HR while plan the interview session.
You may also include the personality traits that your company is looking for in a candidate to make it a successful hire.
Provide the exact job location for a good search result. Candidates have their preferences for the job location. Some might choose a remote location wherein they work from home, while some opt for work from office opportunities, irrespective of the location. However, it is best to include the exact job location details in the job description whether or not you want the employee to join the team in the office or online.
6. Call to Action
Call to action, or what we call CTA, is written at the end that mentions an activity for the candidate. For example, if you need the candidate to mail their resume on a certain mail id or send it through message, mention the action. This will help the reader to understand what he is supposed to do for applying for the job. If calls are strictly prohibited, say so in the job description. Do not forget to mention the phone number or mail id the candidate is asked to send the resume to.
Having a job description of every job role will help a company understand their expectations for the role and requirements for the best potential candidate. This also helps ease the hiring process and builds a common understanding between the employer and the employee you applied for the job. The entire process enhances the success of the company.
The candidate understands what is expected from his side and thereby prepares for the further rounds of the interview. He understands what to bring to the table. If you are an employee who wishes to apply for the job, read the description thoroughly and match your strengths and weakness with the role requirements.
Are you the right candidate? The job description will have all the answers to your questions.
1. Why should my company have a Job Description?
A job description has a larger impact on the job seeker as it not only states the requirements of a candidate for the job but also reflects the work culture of the organization. The job description indicates a message and ensures that the expectations of the company are met.
2. Do job descriptions need to be updated?
Yes, you have to review and update the job description on a daily basis. The latest list of job responsibilities can help the employees to keep a check on their job profile, working hours and compensation, etc. When can you update the descriptions? If you ask us, frequent small changes in the company make it important to update it regularly. Changes like - Work groups, new assignments, additional skills, etc.
3. Should job descriptions include the physical demands and work environment?
If the job requires a physical approach to work, then it is essential to mention the requirements in the job description. According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), manual effort, climbing, lifting, reaching, exposure to any dangerous chemicals, such important physical demands must be included in the description to avoid any kind of misunderstanding for the candidate. Also, include the work environment details too.
4. Is a job advertisement the same as a job description?
An effective job advertisement includes a brief description of the job and an introduction to the company. It can be said that job ads take certain elements of the job description, mainly essential functions and qualifications. A job ad aims at attracting candidates for the job.
5. How long should a job description be?
A job description shouldn't make the candidate tedious. It should be short and informative which keeps the attention of the candidate. The answer to this question is 300 to 600 words should be the length of the description.