What is a job description?

A job description is a written explanation that outlines the essential responsibilities and requirements for a vacant position. Job descriptions should be thorough, clear, and concise and include: 

  • A brief introduction to the company and its mission
  • An overview of the job responsibilities  
  • The necessary skills, competence levels, knowledge, and qualifications
  • Testing that the company may require 
  • Environmental factors or strenuous components of the job
  • The type of employment—full-time, part-time, or independent contractor

Why should HR leaders care about job descriptions?

Job descriptions are an indispensable tool. A crystal-clear job description enables HR to:

  • Define the job and identify the type of candidate they’d like to hire
  • Perform salary benchmarking
  • Engage in effective succession planning
  • Run performance evaluations and training and development
  • Recruit and hire suitable candidates

Up-to-date and accurate job descriptions can also help employers avoid unforeseen legal complications and employment claims down the line.

Furthermore, job descriptions enable applicants to determine whether a job is a good fit. Communicating the duties and obligations is crucial if employers want new hires to fulfill work expectations. Candidates with disabilities, in particular, need to know the demands of a position so they can consider if the job could be suitable.

What can HR leaders do to create high-quality job descriptions?

HR professionals can incorporate these five tips to build job descriptions that attract suitable candidates:

  • Include the various essential sections.  A company overview, job summary, and an explanation of required responsibilities, skills, and qualifications enable candidates to determine if the position is appropriate for them. Specify the job’s benefits and perks as well—it can tip the scales for curious candidates. 
  • Make sure the descriptions are well-written. The quality of the job description reflects directly on the company ethos. An engaging, comprehensive, and concise job description demonstrates professionalism and trustworthiness.
  • Make it concise.  Ensure that the description is short—around 300 words—and to the point, as candidates will probably skip over a long-winded job description.
  • Keep the target audience in mind. Remember that the job description is intended for a living, breathing, thinking person. Use conversational, engaging language that aligns with the company brand. Depict the job accurately by including the expected duties, necessary soft skills, and perhaps explain what a day on the job entails.  
  • Update job descriptions regularly. Periodically review job descriptions to ensure they accurately reflect the role. If a position changes to include more responsibilities, update it. Proper job descriptions are essential for every single HR process to function smoothly.

Why should creating high-quality job descriptions be a part of modern HR strategy?

Job descriptions aren’t just a supplementary component of the HR strategy. Modern HR strategy needs job descriptions to be effective. Complete, well-written job descriptions enable HR to build a plan that drives successful employee recruitment, engagement, and retention.