A great job description tells a job seeker what the job entails, outlining job responsibilities and duties. Job descriptions are typically used for advertising a job posting and attracting suitable candidates. However, effective job descriptions can be used outside the hiring process, for assessing an employee’s job performance and creating training and development plans.
Writing job descriptions is often a collaborative effort within an organisation, with input from line managers, HR departments, and internal or external hiring managers.
In this article, we explore everything from what they are to how to write a job description, including:
- Why are job descriptions important?
- Job description objectives
- What is included in a job description?
- The structure of job descriptions
- How to write a compelling job description
- What are job description examples?
- What is a job description template?
Why Are Job Descriptions Important?
A job description is a crucial part of the recruitment process and must provide job seekers with the correct information. When a job description describes a role accurately, it attracts qualified candidates who have been able to judge if they want a specific job and have the skills required to meet the role’s main objectives.
HR professionals must ensure the job description is well-written to appeal to the best talent, but must also accurately reflect required duties and essential responsibilities to ensure job applicants are from the precise target audience.
An effective job description will streamline the candidate selection process, help formulate questions for the interview process, and select the best new hires.
Job Description Objectives
The objectives of job descriptions include the following:
- To give a candidate a clear picture of business expectations
- To give potential candidates enough detail to self-assess their suitability
- To help HR professionals select candidates for interviews
- To help employers write interview questions for a specific role
- To formulate training and career development plans
- To set performance targets and goals and later evaluate employee performance against them
- To help create a legally binding contract for the successful person
What Is Included In A Job Description?
Effective job descriptions will incorporate the role’s purpose, major responsibilities and accountabilities, duties, and tasks. The job description will include a job title, company overview, and to whom the position reports.
The job description should also portray a person specification, including skill set, qualifications, personality traits, achievements, and professional experience.
Including a salary range helps candidates making a job search determine if their financial needs can be met, and benefits, such as flexible working, may help employers attract the ideal candidate. Important company details, location, shift pattern, and part-time or full-time work hours should also form part of the job posting.
The crucial job description elements include:
- Job title
- Job summary
- Responsibilities and duties
- Education and qualifications
- Soft skills
- Work environment (office-based)
- Physical demands
- Reporting structure
- Company culture, background, mission, and values
The Structure Of Job Descriptions
When advertising a new job to job seekers, the structure of job descriptions should be as follows:
- Job title
- Salary range
- Job purpose (one or two sentences)
- Job responsibilities and tasks
- Criteria (qualifications, soft skills)
- Company/business overview
- Application details
How To Write A Compelling Job Description
We recommend reading our guide on How To Write A Job Description and What To Include In A Job Description to gain a foundation of knowledge to help you write a job description that is compelling, engaging, avoids internal jargon, and encourages your ideal job seeker to apply for an open position. You can take the effort out of writing job descriptions and create AI-powered job descriptions here.
What Are Job Description Examples?
Job description examples are sample job descriptions that include a comprehensive job specification for similar jobs. You can use sample job descriptions as a basis for your job description, adding unique detail of your business, job responsibilities, preferred qualifications, and employee benefits. For example, your business can download our Switchboard Operator job description or Credit Specialist job description.
What Is A Job Description Template?
A template job description is a form that sets out the structure for job descriptions. You can use template job descriptions to organise and fill out the detail of your vacant jobs, under sections such as responsibilities, skills, and qualifications.
Job Description FAQS
Here we answer your questions on what are job descriptions and how they can be used to attract a prospective employee.
A job description is a document that gives job seekers enough detail about a role for them to assess if they are suitable candidates.
A typical job description includes a job title, salary range and benefits, location, job summary, position responsibilities, duties, skills, and education.
The purpose of job descriptions is to help a candidate assess if the position fits their skills and experience. The many benefits for employers include ensuring candidates who apply are qualified and able to complete the job responsibilities. Further benefits include using job descriptions as the foundation for interviewing and assessing performance and training needs.