The basics of writing a job description

Writing a job description is complicated, which is why there are so many resources on it. However, if you just want the basics and a quick overview, here are 3 things to keep in mind.

First impressions

A job description is the first thing a potential candidate will see, so it’s important to make a good impression. It takes a skilled writer to craft a job description that entices the best candidates and gently lets under-qualified professionals know not to apply. It’s important to get people interested in your company without sounding arrogant, and capture the right tone of voice that you want to convey.

Writing a job description requires eloquence and a deep understanding of the company culture, so that it shows potential candidates what the company is like, main goals and why they should work there.

Get the Details

Job descriptions should be descriptive, yet many fail to share measurable goals, responsibilities and scope of projects. Make sure your job description includes the department he or she will be working in, define the role, describe the projects and responsibilities and clearly define qualifications needed to be successful in that position.

Start with the mission and vision of the company, then get into the typical daily activities and responsibilities associated with the job.

Required vs. Preferred Qualifications

It’s important to make a distinction between the core competency skills your candidate needs to be successful in the job, and the skills that you would prefer for them to have in order to go above and beyond expectations. This is to avoid eliminating valuable candidates just because they don’t have added value skills.

Required qualifications are the base needs of your employees. These are non-negotiable, such as a liquor permit for a bartender. These could include degrees or accreditation.

On the other hand, preferred qualifications are skills that are desired, but not necessary. These could be something like a teaching background for a training position, or experience with a certain software for a marketing position. These are not required because the employee can be trained or taught those skills, and/or they don’t necessarily need those skills to do that job.

Some reminders when you write a job description;

  • Be concise
  • Avoid using jargon or industry “slang”
  • Read your job description out loud to catch any mistakes
  • Avoid discriminatory language

What are your tips for writing job descriptions? Let us know in the comments below!

About the Author: Jocelyn Pick