How to Write Effective Job Descriptions: A Guide for Employers

How to Write Effective Job Descriptions: A Guide for Employers

Job descriptions can be a valuable asset for both employers and job seekers. By writing effective job descriptions, employers can attract the best talent to their company while also giving potential employees a clear understanding of what the role entails. Job seekers, in turn, can use job descriptions to determine if a position is a good fit for them and to learn more about the company they might potentially work for. But crafting an effective job description isn’t always easy – it takes time, effort, and careful thought. In this article, we’ll provide you with all the information you need  on how to write effective job descriptions that will benefit everyone involved!

What is a Job Description

A job description is a document that outlines the essential duties and responsibilities of a specific job. It can be used by employers to attract talented candidates and by job seekers to determine if a position is a good fit for them. Job descriptions should be clear and concise, while still providing enough information to give potential employees a good understanding of what the role entails.

Depending on the size of the company there are many people who are involved in writing a job description. Most notably is an HR professional who would take the lead. They would be tasked to coordinate the writing and perform their hiring duties. The direct supervisor or manager might also be involved to ensure the correct job recruitments and duties are written. The entire process usually requires some input from all levels of the company hierarchy.

How to Write an Effective Job Description

Write for your target audience

When writing a job description, it’s important to keep in mind who you are targeting it for. The best job descriptions are tailored to the specific audience they are meant for. For example, if you are targeting recent graduates, you might want to focus on describing the company culture and the opportunity for growth. If you are targeting experienced professionals, you might want to focus on the business impact and career development opportunities.

Identify and prioritize key duties and responsibilities

It’s important when writing a job description to identify and rank the most important duties and responsibilities of the position. It can be tempting, especially in larger companies, to list every single duty under the sun. But this will not attract the best applicants.

Be clear about company culture

It’s important when writing a job description to be upfront about your company’s corporate culture. For example, does the company have an emphasis on work-life balance? Is it important to show up early and leave late? Does your company embrace creativity and self-direction, or are you more focused on structure and deadlines? Again – this is especially important for recent graduates applying for their first jobs. If you’re company’s social media showcases your culture make sure to link it so applicants can get a sense of what to expect.

Leave room for growth

If applicable, job descriptions should also mention the opportunity that exists for growth within the company. The best applicants are not only looking to get a job right now, but also to move up in their career at some point. Some companies even include milestones in their job descriptions, which give employees an idea of where they need to be in order to apply for certain positions down the road.

List the starting salary and any compensation

It’s always a good idea to list the salary range of the positions. Start with the starting salary and list any compensation (bonus, commission, benefits) right next to it. This helps applicants figure out if they are able to afford to live in your city or not before applying for a job.

Examples of Good and Bad Job Descriptions

Good Example: University of Toronto – Foundations Coordinator

how to write effective job descriptionshow to write effective job descriptions

This job description hits all the bullets listed above. It lays out the department, the job opportunity, responsibilities, qualifications and pay scale and talks about the school’s culture. An applicant has all the information they need to determine if this job is the right fit for them.

Bad Example: White Rose Medical Centre – Nurse Practitioner

how to write effective job descriptions

On the other hand, this job description for a nurse practitioner is bad because the only thing listed is “experience in family medicine would be an advantage”. There is no description of the company, its culture, job duties and requirements or pay scale. Applicants looking at this would disregard it as it provides no information to them.

Job descriptions can be a powerful tool for employers and job seekers alike. By tailoring your job description to your specific audience, you can attract the best candidates for the position. It’s important to prioritize key duties and responsibilities, be clear about company culture, list the starting salary and any compensation, and leave room for growth. Hopefully these tips showed you how to write effective job descriptions.

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