Tips for Creating Effective Job Descriptions
The length and amount of detail included on a job description will vary depending on the specific job, level of responsibility, and size and type of organization. In general, job descriptions should be concise and only list the primary tasks and qualifications.
More detailed information about duties and procedures can be described in a company manual. The manual provides in-depth detail on company policies, expectations, and job requirements, whereas a job description used for attracting candidates should be relatively brief. Smaller companies may need to list more responsibilities in a job description, as having fewer employees often means that individual roles take on a wider range of tasks.
The process of creating or updating job descriptions often starts with a brainstorming session, and may include input from employees on how to define their own positions. Once a role has been clearly defined, a job description can be created that breaks down the position into duties and objectives, needed skills and qualifications, physical demands of the role, benefits and salary, and other information.
When completed, you will have a document that serves as a tool for measuring performance, planning career progression and succession, and managing the many roles that exist within a company. For job descriptions that will be posted online, use keywords to help qualified applicants find the position.
In addition to keeping job descriptions brief, increase efficiency by limiting the number of unique descriptions for roles that are similar. For example, a large company with many employees in similar positions may create one job description for a general type of position and then include a section listing differences based on level of seniority or authority. If you need inspiration or guidance in writing different descriptions, you can search online for examples or check with trade associations to see if they have sample job descriptions available.
For all job descriptions, be sure to follow anti-discrimination laws to support a positive company culture from the onset of hiring, and to avoid potential lawsuits. If you’re unsure about the legal wording for stating anti-discrimination policies as an equal opportunity employer, consult with an attorney or the EEOC (U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission).
What to Include in a Job Description
Job descriptions are shaped by company policies, industry standards, and other factors. For example, corporate recruiting efforts may call for a different style of job description than positions in nonprofit or governmental agencies. Differences aside, here are some common elements to be included in a job description:
- Company Information: Offering candidates a glimpse inside a company and its culture provides a view of what applicants could be a part of and how the position supports company goals.
- Position Overview: A job summary highlights important details and provides a broad overview of the role and its associated responsibilities.
- Responsibilities: Duties can be listed with bullet points for easier reading, but as mentioned earlier, try to keep this section concise by grouping responsibilities into main categories rather than listing every task with exact detail. For management roles, you may add a separate section that lists which positions will report to them.
- Primary Objectives: The clearer these are, the more likely it is that goals will be reached. Plus, having clearly defined objectives provides a concrete way to measure employee performance.
- Required Qualifications: Listing the knowledge, skills, and experience or education required for a position makes it clear to candidates whether they have the necessary qualifications for a position.
- Work Environment: Depending on the role, you may include information about the environment where people work and the physical demands of a job so that expectations are clear upfront.
- Call to Action: When a job description is used to advertise an open position, a call to action makes it clear how to apply, including who to contact and where to send application materials.
Job descriptions may also include a salary structure and information about other benefits. No matter what details you choose to include, aim for clear, concise language to avoid misunderstandings. To learn more about recruiting and writing effective job descriptions, check out this article.
Job Description Form
This form template provides a basic layout with sections for position description, requirements and qualifications, and other details about a job. Easily customize this template for an expanded job description if additional sections are required. However, keeping it to a one-page form provides simplicity and brevity for both employers and prospective candidates.
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Comprehensive Job Description Template
Use this employee job description template to create a thorough outline that covers essential job details, measurements for success, and desired qualifications. Creating a comprehensive job description allows you to include information about the company’s organizational structure and how the job fits in, functional relationships that are connected to the position, and performance expectations. Utilize bullet points and concise language to make the document thorough yet easy to read.
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Blank Job Description Template
This blank template is ready for you to fill in with job description details. Whether you’re hiring for an entry level position or more advanced role, use this template as a guide for outlining a job description. Include a summary of the job, essential functions, required qualifications, and more. If needed, include a section to record when the job description has been reviewed and approved to track updates.
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Intern Job Description Template
Create an internship job description template for your organization to attract qualified candidates. The format and content of an internship description is similar to other job descriptions but may include information about learning opportunities and other benefits. Include the duration and location of the internship, requirements for applying, any compensation provided, intern responsibilities, and an overview of your organization.
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Simple Job Description Template
This simple template for job descriptions provides a generic layout that is easy to use and looks professional. It includes typical details such as job purpose, expectations for training or education, primary responsibilities, and who the job reports to. You can customize the template by adding a company logo and editing the content to match a specific job.
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Writing clear and accurate job descriptions is essential to your ability to effectively hire and retain top talent. Once you’ve written a top-notch description, you need a collaborative work management solution to help manage candidate details and hiring process in general.
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