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How to write a job description

Attracting top talent to your organisation doesn’t just happen by chance. Aside from creating a compelling brand message and corporate culture, you should ensure your job descriptions (the first point of contact with many of your candidates) are effective.
 

Why is the job description important?

 
A job description that doesn’t include all the relevant details for the role may attract unsuitable candidates. Properly listing all the job requirements while emphasising what makes it attractive will make your hiring process far smoother.
 
You also want to eliminate any confusion over what the role entails. Getting to interview stage only to be told by your best candidate that they don’t feel the role is right for them is a waste of your time. Be clear about the scope of the role to avoid anyone under or overqualified applying.
 

What information should go in a job description?

 
If you’re having trouble with deciding what to include when you write a job description, use the following as a checklist:
 
1. Job title and location
2. Department
 
3. Line manager/s
 
4. Key responsibilities
 
5. Role objectives
 
6. Development/promotion opportunities
 
7. Education/qualification requirements
 
8. Desirable soft skills/personality
 
9. Salary and benefits
 
With regards to salary, it’s up to you whether you include an exact figure, a range bracket or leave it out altogether; but disclosing this information helps candidates work out whether it’s a suitable role for them.
 

Tone and language

 
Consider the points below to ensure you write a professional and consistent job description:
 
  • We would never recommend using an informal tone for a job description, but ‘talking’ to the candidate is a good idea. So, where you might write ‘the successful candidate will report to...’, instead say ‘you will report to...’ because it’s more engaging.
     
  • Avoid using corporate jargon. The terminology you use for job titles internally might make sense to you, but could alienate an external person.
     
  • Be careful not to use discriminatory language in your job description. This often happens unintentionally but you must not exclude groups of people unless for legal reasons; e.g. people under 18 years old cannot sell alcohol so couldn’t be hired for a bar job.
     
  • Proofread your job description; spelling mistakes and typos look extremely unprofessional and careless.
 
When you’re happy with the information in your description, take some time to consider its readability. Whether it’s going to be in print form or online, adding in paragraph breaks or bullet points is a good way of making important details stand out, and also makes the text easier to read and take in.
 
To find out more about attracting the best candidates and the hiring process, contact your local Michael Page office.