Job Description

What is a job description?

A job description is a formal listing of an employee’s specific responsibilities and important details about the 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 important to get it right and to tailor it to attract qualified candidates.

A good job description will filter out applicants who aren’t qualified and discourage candidates who aren’t a good cultural fit. This 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, establish the basic information about the position. This is easy: company name, job location, and job title. Next, identify the specific skills and qualifications needed for this position.

Describing job skills can be challenging. 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 the job description brief but detailed enough to attract a good applicant pool. Make sure the description fits your company’s 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 overcomplicating job descriptions with acronyms, jargon, and creative 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, but don’t do it in a job description.

Benefits of a Well-Written 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 and supervisors in conducting performance reviews and identifying training needs
  • Prevent future legal problems with federal agencies in the event of a discrimination allegation

If a job description remains unchanged for a long time, it can become misleading and inaccurate. Flexible job descriptions keep employees informed about their duties and responsibilities, which makes them feel better about their jobs, as well as making them more productive. When writing a job description, you should make sure it is concise, clear and flexible enough to allow employees to grow within their positions and learn how to make larger contributions to your company. Reviewing your job descriptions periodically will ensure that they accurately reflect what each employee is doing and your expectations of results from that employee.

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Additional resources