Creating an effective job description
An effective, engaging and inclusive job description is key to attracting the right talent. A job description is a document typically one or two pages in length, which describes the key aspects of the job that you wish to fill.
It contains the following details:
- Job title and the title of the role it reports to
- Type of role (contract, permanent, temporary, freelance or part-time)
- Tasks, responsibilities and activities of the job
- Qualifications, skills, background and experience that are required to perform the role well
- Where the role fits into your organisation’s mission, strategy and goals
- Salary range
Without a job description, it is very difficult to create job advertisements and interview questions or provide clear answers to a candidate who asks the following questions:
- If I take up the job, what would I be expected to do and how would my performance be measured and judged?
- Do I have the necessary skills and qualifications to perform the job well?
Avoiding a Lengthy Recruitment Process with a Good Job Description
A good job description can make the recruitment process much smoother for hiring managers because it helps them identify candidates that are a good fit for the job and can significantly speed up the recruitment process. It also helps ease the new hire into his or her role as the job description also serves as a clear and concise guide for an employee on his or her job scope and performance.
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Job Title and Reporting Line
Coming up with a job title may seem like an easy task to do; however, there are a number of possible titles from which you can choose from. Determining which is most appropriate would depend on
- what would most suitably reflect the nature of the role
- whether it is attractive and enticing for potential candidates
The job title matters because you need to market and sell your opportunity. The more attractive the job title, the greater your chance of attracting more candidates into your pipeline.
The Tasks and Responsibilities
After deciding on the job title, list down the tasks that the job involves. Next to the tasks, indicate the level of performance expected or the goals and targets to be achieved. For example:
|Task or responsibility||Performance level or goal expected|
Follow appropriate design standards, methods and tools
Ensure they are applied effectively
Excellent verbal and written communication skills
Able to communicate accurately, concisely and with tact and diplomacy when appropriate
With this information, you can create meaningful and clear descriptions for the job duties. For example, from the list above you could come up with the descriptions as follow:
- Follow appropriate design standards, methods and tools, ensuring they are applied effectively.
- Excellent verbal and written communication skills, with the ability to communicate accurately, concisely and with tact and diplomacy when appropriate.
Skills and Qualifications Required
Think through the education level and any professional qualifications required for the new hire to perform the role well. In some jobs, a university education is not necessary and work experience may be a better measure of whether the person can do the job.
You may also include the soft skills that are required for the role. Soft skills refer to a person’s mind-set, attitude, character and personality and are sometimes referred to as behavioural competencies. You may ask yourself these questions when coming up with a list of desirable soft skills:
- To succeed in the job, what kind of soft skills and competencies should a candidate possess?
- For the person to fit into your organisational culture, what kind of additional soft skills and competencies may be required?
Depending on the role, you may wish to include these information:
- Date when the job description was written or last reviewed
- Summary/objective of the job
- Essential functions including how an individual is to perform them and frequency at which the tasks are performed; the tasks must be part of the job function and truly necessary or required to perform the job
- Work environment including temperature, noise level or other factors that will affect the person’s working conditions while performing the job
- Physical demands of the job, including bending, sitting, lifting and driving
- Position type and expected hours of work, e.g. full time or part time, typical work hours and shifts, days of week and whether overtime is expected
- Percentage of travel time expected for the position, where the travel occurs, such as locally or in specific countries or states, and whether the travel is overnight
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