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How to create the perfect job description

Looking for the best new talent for your company? Start your recruitment process in the right way by following these steps to creating the perfect job description.

An effective job description is the first step in finding the right talent for your company. Not only will it help you sell the role to prospective candidates, it will also allow you to make informed hiring decisions that meet the needs of your business.

But how do you craft a great job description? To help, follow our step-by-step guide.

1. Job title

The first thing candidates will read is the job title so make sure they can immediately gauge what the job entails from that alone. Avoid using any language or acronyms that are specific to the internal structure of the company as it may put off external candidates.

Make sure you are as clear and concise as possible to ensure the role is targeted to the right audience and avoid any confusion over what the role actually entails.

2. Company description

If you’re trying to attract the best talent, you need to sell your company and give candidates a clear understanding of what your business stands for, where it wants to go and what makes it unique. Job descriptions should start with a clear breakdown of what the company can offer candidates and how its distinctive culture enables employees to grow and develop their careers.

Working for a company with values that align with your own is becoming increasingly important to candidates, so opening with a stand-out company description which includes the organisation’s values can help grab attention and encourage a candidate to continue reading.

3. Job summary

After describing the company, provide a brief summary of the role. You should keep the language simple and avoid any company-specific jargon. However, this description needs to get the candidate excited about the role. Line managers may not have the skillset needed to produce a stirring job summary, so consider speaking to your marketing department or a copywriter to add that all-important flair to your job description.

4. Role requirements

As well as summarising the role, effective job descriptions should include a list of the critical skills required for the role. Any specific expertise needed to carry out the day-to-day responsibilities, such as programming language or knowledge of a particular software, should be included to ensure candidates are able to hit the ground running from the moment they start. 

5. 'Nice-to-haves'

Alongside the minimum skills and knowledge required for the role, you may wish to include a few desired qualities you’d like to see in the ideal candidate, whether technical knowledge or soft skills. However, be careful of including more than five ‘nice-to-have’ qualities as this could end up disincentivising candidates from applying in the first place.

Including too many requirements, even if they are only desired qualities, could make candidates feel disqualified from the role, meaning you miss out on the best available talent.

6. Salary information 

The decision to include the salary in a job description will largely depend on the role being advertised, but you should always think carefully before including it. Some companies view salary information as a way to help candidates gauge the level of the role, but others want to avoid such sensitive information from being visible.

Including salary information can even deter candidates from applying – whether it’s too high or too low – so defer talking about compensation or provide a broad range to attract a broader pool of talent. 

7. Layout

To attract the best talent, job descriptions need to capture the imagination of the reader within seconds, while laying out all the necessary details in a succinct, visually attractive manner. Excessively long job descriptions with chunky paragraphs could result in losing the candidate’s interest so it’s essential to make use of bullet points and concise paragraphs to keep candidates reading.

And one other thing to remember...

Ownership

To write an effective job description, it’s essential one person has a clear sense of ownership over the process. Even though HR will ultimately need to have a role in crafting the job description – even if it’s simply providing a template – it should be the line manager of the new hire who has full ownership of the job description.

The line manager is generally the best-placed person to ensure a job description is sufficiently descriptive in terms of competences and other requirements of the role. 

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