How to Write a Job Description

Instructor: Rana Abourizk

Rana has a Masters Degree in Business Administration and is pursuing a Doctorial Degree. She has been teaching online for over a year. She has a strong business background.

Many recruiters and human resource associates have the task of writing job descriptions. It's important for them to know how to write a good job description. Learn how to write a job description and study an example.

The Importance of Writing a Good Description

Steve is a recruiter for a financial institution. Recently he posted a couple of job descriptions because he was in need of hiring a sales person. Among other elements, his post included some key pieces of information:

  • Position title
  • Location and branch where the job needs to be filled
  • The manager and management in the branch
  • The complete job duties and requirements
  • The job benefits and working hours
  • Qualifications needed to apply for the job

Steve made the right hire thanks to his job posting.

Steve received many applicants and was able to pick out the five best applicants for an interview. The management team liked them all, so two were put in the branch that was hiring and the other three were given offers in nearby branches. Because Steve did such a great job with posting the job description and being very precise, the applicants knew that this was the exact job they wanted, they knew all the tasks and requirements, and he was able to find good applicants. Let's look more carefully at how you can do exactly what Steve did.

Writing a Job Description

It's important to put complete information into your posting. The basic elements of a job description that gives detail to a possible new hire include:

  • Job title
  • Location where employees are expected to work.
  • Type of employment, such as contract, full-time, part-time, or seasonal/temporary work. This should indicate the number of hours someone in this position will work.
  • Benefits that the position offers, such as vacation or healthcare.
  • Salary, if known, though many will say ''TBD'', ''depends on experience'', or ''negotiable'' if it will be a discussion between employer and applicant.

The type of employment and salary are often key considerations for applicants. Take care to make sure this is accurate information. Contract workers, for example, will expect a hire pay rate and flexibility for working time, but are afforded no benefits. Full-time employees and part-time employees will also have different expectations and it is your job to explain this information.

Next, you want to clearly communicate about the role and the company. This part should include:

  • Job requirements, such as odd hours expectations, travel, physical requirements, typical tasks that will be done in the job, specific responsibilities, etc.
  • Company mission and any other company information that can help candidates decide if they fit.
  • Desired qualifications of a candidate, including education, past experience, certifications, etc.
  • A profile of the desired candidate can help narrow the field by asking for certain qualities.

These elements really explain what the company is like and what type of person the company wants to hire. The most thorough and honest job descriptions are the ones that are able to find the best fit for any position. Make sure that this section is handled with care and complete information.

Finally, there are some elements of the job posting that can help keep things organized and make the application process smooth, such as:

  • Post date and deadline for job posting so applicants know when it was released and for how long hiring will continue.
  • Job number can be useful for internal referencing and keeping track of positions.
  • Manager/Supervisor name so that applicants know whose name should appear on documents like cover letters.
  • Instructions on how to apply for the position, whether by link to an application, email, phone number, or sending documents by mail or in person.

These housekeeping elements can make the process much easier if used effectively, and candidates will have an easier time through the process of applying if the instructions and details are clear.

All of these important aspects of a job description do not necessarily occur in the order discussed. Consider this example as one of many ways to present job information.

Example Job Description

Title: Personal Banker

Location: Boston, MA

Type of Employment: Part-time

Date of Post: 12/24/2015

Closing Post date: 02/02/2016

Job Number: 02-201602

Salary: Negotiable

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