GlossaryHR

The Essential List of Human Resource Definitions You Need to Know

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Job Description

What is a job description?

A job description is a formal listing of the specific responsibilities and important details about an employment position.

A good job description will:

  • Define the job responsibilities
  • Reduce the applicant pool to those who qualify
  • Introduce the applicant to the company and its culture

Creating a job description is the first step in the hiring process. It’s critical to get it right. The job description is your first opportunity to attract qualified candidates.

It’s also the first step in your filtering process. A good job description will filter out applicants who aren’t qualified. It should also discourage candidates who aren’t a good cultural fit. That way, you won’t waste any time on unqualified applicants. And poor-fit job seekers won’t waste time applying.

How do you write a job description?

First, define the basic information about the position. This is easy: company name, job location, and job title. Next, identify the specific skills and qualifications the position requires.

Describing job skills isn’t always straightforward. You can get ideas by searching the web for examples. LinkedIn, JuJu and CareerBuilder are all good places to see how other companies are doing it.

Keep it simple and to the point. Include enough detail to attract a good applicant pool. Make sure the description fits your company personality.

Here are the elements:

  1. Job location
  2. Job title
  3. List of job responsibilities
  4. List of candidate requirements
  5. List of desired candidate credentials
  6. Statement about company and benefits
  7. EEOC statement

Avoid acronyms, jargon, and overly-creative job titles. Be clear and concise. Don’t make it difficult for applicants to know if they want to apply. You might call your website manager a Digital Alchemist. Don’t do it in a job description.

What are the benefits of writing a good job description?

A well written job description will:

  • Help attract the right candidates
  • Be a template for writing outside job postings and advertisements
  • Serve as a guide for formulating your interview questions and candidate evaluation
  • Set realistic expectations for the new hire (jobs in a small to medium size company can shift depending on your growth and direction)
  • Assist managers/supervisors in conducting performance reviews and identifying areas for training or development
  • Prevent future legal problems with federal agencies in the event of a discrimination allegation

Jobs are subject to change due either to personal growth, organizational development, and/or the evolution of new technologies. Flexible job descriptions will encourage your employees to grow within their positions and learn how to make larger contributions to your company. Your organization’s job descriptions should be concise, clear, but also flexible. When writing a job description, keep in mind that the job description will serve as a major basis for outlining job training or conducting future job evaluations. It is good practice to review your job descriptions periodically to make sure they accurately reflect what the employee is doing and your expectations of results from the employee.

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