5 items you need in an effective job description

Your job description should provide a detailed outline of exactly what the job entails. The job description is just that, it describes the job that the employee will be carrying out.

How they fit in the team, a list of duties and responsibilities and the skills and qualifications the employee will need to hold. It needs to set out where the job will be based, what salary and other benefits come with the role and It should include all of the “little things” that will be involved such as attending weekly meetings on a Friday morning or producing a weekly social media report.

Here is our list of items that should be included in a killer job description.

A Job Title

  • Make your job titles specific. Targeted job titles are more effective than generic ones, so be precise by including key phrases that accurately describe the role.
  • Avoid internal jargon that may confuse the job seeker. Stick to standard experience levels like “Senior” rather than “VI” or other terms people are less likely to look for.
  • Keep the job title concise.

Job summary and a bit about your company

You can not assume that your candidate will know about your company. Your job description is an introduction to your company and your brand.

  • Your summary should provide an overview of your company and expectations for the position.
  • Hook your reader with details about what makes your company unique. Include details about your company culture to sum up why a candidate would love to work for you.
  • Include an exact job location. Provide an exact job location. With many jobs currently being done from home, is the expectation that post COVID that the workers will return to the office on a full-time basis? Include this in your copy so that all of your bases are covered.

Define the job requirements and responsibilities

Identifying all the essential tasks and responsibilities of the new employee will form the basis of your job description and will help you recognise the skills and experience you should be looking for in the new staff member. If you are struggling with a blank piece of paper and do not know where to start, try this exercise.

  • List which duties are most important?
  • What lines of reporting are there, and to whom? It is useful to include an organisation chart.
  • What results should the employee deliver?
  • If it is a managerial role, what is the extent of her/his authority?

Determine essential skills and qualifications

Based on your answers to the above questions, the next step to creating a quality job description is putting together key criteria for the new role. Be careful not to confuse qualifications with technical skills or soft skills as there are subtle differences to each. We find it useful to draw up a table listing the essential requirements and desirable ones. Using a table is helpful for you to sift out job applications to help you decide who you would like to interview.

  • Qualifications relate to what the candidate needs to do the job, such as university degrees or industry certifications.
  • Technical skills relate to what the candidate can do, for example working with different computer programs or accounting packages.
  • Soft skills are not as easy to measure or define, such as a proactive and flexible attitude, or an ability to work with people.
  • The above employment criteria will become especially important if there are several candidates vying for the position. Having a clearly defined set of key requirements will allow you to remove many candidates from the list who won’t be a perfect fit for your role.

Also, make a distinction between “need-to-have” and “nice-to-have” skills that can be further developed through professional development. If in doubt, seek advice from someone with a few years’ experience in a similar role.

Choose a salary band

While it is not essential to include the salary in a job description, it is often advisable. You should be prepared to set a salary on the basis of the employee’s education, skills and experience, along with location or industry.

Now it is time to write the job description

With the above completed, the next step is to write the job description. In general, this should be practical, functional, and clear.

The job description template should include elements such as:

  • Job title, the department, and the person to whom the employee will report.
  • The person’s responsibilities: what does the position involve and what is the aim of the position?
  • The most important tasks and responsibilities – list the most important first and the least important last.
  • Skills and characteristics that a good candidate should have. For example: ‘a good organiser’, ‘suited to leading a team’ or ‘capable of working independently’.
  • Other requirements and desired level of education.

If you are struggling and need some inspiration, then contact us at Benjamin Edwards Recruitment and we can give you some help.


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