The job description plays a significant role in the hiring process; from the moment it is created, to its approval within an organization, to being posted, to sharing with candidates, to when it’s used as an interview tool. It will be seen by many, many people and really becomes part of your organization’s reputation. We see a lot of job descriptions in our office and this week I asked our team to share their opinions on what makes a good job description.
Job descriptions should be easy to read, not generic and no longer than one or two pages. Too much detail can make it seem that there are far too many responsibilities for one person to handle. On the other hand, too brief a description might not offer enough insight into the role.
The document should be typo-free, well written, and consistent because there is a lot of copying and pasting in creating a job description. While salient information may appear more than once, be wary of repetitive and overwrought language. Jargon, acronyms and internal lingo can be confusing and unhelpful.
The description should accurately represent the duties and responsibilities. It is possible to write a compelling, honest job description that can attract the exact kinds of candidates you are seeking.
It can be helpful to organize the role by responsibilities and capabilities. Other vital information such as the location of the company and travel expectations should be included. It is great to get a sense of the company’s corporate culture and why someone would like to join. How do you distinguish your company from others in your industry? The reporting structure should also be made clear in the job description.
Also, setting applicants expectations early on in the process is important and the job description is a great tool for achieving that. You might even include a sentence at the end indicating what will happen when they apply and possible next steps.
An accurate job description makes for a more streamlined, effective and focused search.
Remember that the goal of the job description is to attract the right candidate and, at the same time, to convey what the hiring manager or organization really wants, and what kind of person they will hire. Keep the audience in mind. A job description for a pre-qualified group of candidates may be more nuanced than one written for general distribution, and there may be another more detailed version given to a new hire.
Chaloner, founded in 1979 as Chaloner Associates, is a national executive search firm that focuses on recruiting mid- to senior-level communications, public relations, marketing and investor relations professionals.