A job description is a vital part of any job application process. The job description helps to ensure that a company receives applications from strong matches for the required role and assists applicants in applying for the position. Here are eight concise steps to help you define the process:
- Make the job description easy to read. This will give the reader a clear view of the responsibilities involved, and the order of their priority. The best job descriptions are neither too descriptive nor too vague, but use clear language that describes the role and represents the character of the company
- Describe the position, making sure to include a proper job title. The job title, whatever it is, is the main keyword for which applicants will search. It should accurately reflect the nature of the position
- Summarise the role and responsibilities, listing the key elements of the role. Be open about the frequency of the duties to be performed or the percentage of time that will be spent on each task. This helps applicants form an idea of what a typical day may entail
- Skills and qualifications are important. What are the activities you expect the candidate to perform in the job? Also think about competencies such as teamwork, flexibility and communication skills. Qualifications should include relevant certifications, licences, education level and necessary technical proficiencies. Specify the type of experience involved.
- In the company overview, include information about the company’s direction, goals, industry, location and size. It may also be useful to include reporting lines and working relationships in your job description. An organisational chart is a good way to represent this.
- Salary and benefits, according to the company’s policy. It is important to be transparent about salary, from an equal opportunities point of view. This may be a single rate or a range that reflects internal relativities and is competitive with pay for similar roles in other organisations and allows for variations in experience, education and skills
- Type of employment. Be clear about whether the position is full or part-time and the hours to be worked. Say if flexibility is allowed, as this can be a real enticement to some applicants
- Contact details. While this final point may seem obvious, include contact information so that potential applicants can apply and ask relevant questions.
A good job description is more than a list of tasks and responsibilities. It should provide a clear picture of the vacancy for potential candidates and is a chance to ‘advertise’ your organisation. The more accurate you can be in the job description, the more beneficial it will be in setting out your current skill needs, and it may also help guide future ones too.