How to write your own job description: 16 things to include
What is one thing you must include when you write your own job description?
If you’ve ever had to fill a job opening you know how labor and time intensive the whole process can be. And one of the more daunting aspects is the job description itself. After all, it’s your company’s pitch to top talent for a position you need filling. It can be a challenge to make sure you include all the right details while still providing an accurate, yet enticing description of the role.
Even if you aren’t in HR, everyone should learn how to draft job descriptions. Read on to see what 16 HR professionals and top recruiters never forget to include when they write their own job descriptions.
- Essential Duties and Daily Responsibilities
- Unique Tasks and Responsibilities
- Working Conditions
- Top Three Essential Skills
- Company Culture
- Precise Details
- Quantifiable Metrics
- Bare Minimum Requirements
- Salary Ranges
- Location of the Workplace
- Low Word Count
- Legal Obligations
- Benefits and Employee Perks
- Growth and Development Opportunities
- Review and Update Current Job Descriptions
Essential Duties and Daily Responsibilities
When writing a job posting, it’s important to add as much information about the role as possible for potential candidates to get a better understanding of the position. It’s imperative to include the essential duties of the role as well as the daily responsibilities in the description. Make sure to include the most important responsibilities and duties, as you also don’t want to overwhelm potential candidates with every possible responsibility they might have.
Saneem Ahearn, Colorescience
Unique Tasks and Responsibilities
As specifically as you can within a job description, indicate what you and others will rely on the candidate to do, should they be hired. As some of the most stressful situations in work emerge when only one person can do a particular task or a set of tasks, it’s worth highlighting what others will depend on this person for. This also provides a sense of the level of importance of their role and the weight you place on it.
Including this will help candidates mentally prepare for the work and will best position them for success, as it provides an accurate idea of what the job entails and what kind of person would be best suited to do it. If this or other parts of the job description are somewhat unique to your company, it’s also worthwhile to prepare a set of answers to questions candidates will likely have about it.
Matthew Ramirez, Paraphrase Tool
Many people confuse this part with job requirements, but making sure you have a section that lists working conditions is critical to receive the proper candidates. A checklist of job responsibilities is important, however, if they fail to identify the conditions or requirements that will be encountered, it can lead to misunderstandings and possible improper matches.
Identifying whether the job will be indoors or outside, if they will be working with hazardous materials or in extreme temperatures, if there will be physical strain, or if there will be off site or travel requirements, is absolutely necessary in order for candidates to determine if they are an appropriate fit. By listing the working conditions, and not just the job responsibilities, you will ensure that there are no misunderstandings and will be able to get the most qualified and appropriate potential candidates for your job opening.
Matt Miller, Embroker
Top Three Essential Skills
Every employer wants to hire a well-rounded candidate. Still, by including too many skills in your job description, you start watering down your responses with people who might hold a secondary skill but very few others.
Rather than making candidates guess which skills matter most to you, cull the list you include to your top three or four that are more specific to the role. You’ll still get the occasional candidate that isn’t well-qualified applying, but they’ll be less likely to apply if they can’t creatively stretch their skillset into a long list of generic skills. In this case, more isn’t always better.
John Li, Fig Loans
Culture is one of the most important considerations in recruitment. When considering a new position, candidates will always ask themselves, ”Will this company be a good fit for me?” and “Will I enjoy working there?” So you want to make sure you describe your company culture within your job description.
Speak about the company’s core values and how employees and clients are treated. Set out the company’s mission statement, describing what you aim to achieve as a company and how you hope to achieve it. Consider the characteristics of your current employees and how you would describe them. By highlighting company culture when writing your job descriptions, you’ll attract candidates who share similar values and are motivated to drive the growth and vision of your business.
Leanna Serras, FragranceX
You must detail exactly what the successful candidate will be doing. This helps people to decide if they have the right skills, attributes, and experience to be successful in the job. Precision is very important; if you are unsure what the job entails, you will not get the best and most qualified candidates applying for the role. The more detailed the description, the more likely you are to get the most qualified people applying for the job. If you leave out the essential details of what the job entails, you may get applicants who are not qualified, and then you have to spend time weeding them out.
Anthony Martin, Choice Mutual
A job description must paint a clear picture of the position requirements. When you share quantifiable metrics like “managing a team of 20” or “making five sales calls a day,” you clearly indicate what you expect of the person in that position. And it makes it easier for candidates to know if the role is a good fit for them.
Shawn Plummer, The Annuity Expert
Bare Minimum Requirements
When you’re writing your own job descriptions, it’s important to break everything down to minimum requirements. Many business leaders or owners will focus on what they think the job requires, or what they’d like for a role, instead of what the job actually requires. It’s easy to think favorably about your company, and only want the best talent, but be realistic about what you need out of your employees.
Settling for someone with the minimum requirements (which can be education, certifications, or experience) gives you an opportunity to build them around your needs for a job, avoiding overqualified candidates who might not be as flexible as you need when training and specializing for your particular role. Having a better expectation of your minimum requirements will also expand your pool of potential candidates, so you can find the right person for the job.
Kyle Risley, Lift Vault
Don’t make applicants guess their salary worth within your company. Unfortunately, when salary ranges aren’t provided in advance, this can cause candidates to ‘low-ball’ their salary expectations—this does save your company money, but will demotivate the employee long-term. Always provide the experience level and salary range you aim for within the job descriptions.
Alexandra Fennell, Attn: Grace
Location of the Workplace
This is an important part of a job description and is especially crucial in today’s scenario, where companies and candidates are both particular about the remote, hybrid, or in-office nature of a job. In mentioning this detail, you specify what kind of role you have to offer, making it easier for the candidate to make their choice. Even if you are hiring for a remote position that you intend to transform into a hybrid or in-office role later, you must mention this information. Both the candidate and the employer have the right to choose the nature of a job position, and specifying these details makes things easier for both parties.
Kris Harris, Nootka Saunas
Low Word Count
Keep a job description concise and break it into parts. Job descriptions should be short and straightforward. The importance of the position and its advantages for your company must be emphasized. If at all possible, try to condense it to just a few sentences. In your job description, you should include a list of all the crucial responsibilities and regular tasks associated with the role. You want to assign sufficient assignments so that the work appears essential. However, be careful not to mention too many duties since this could make the work seem difficult or demanding.
Divide the job description into four sections: the summary, the duties, the requirements, and the competencies. These four elements are required in any job description, so make sure they are all listed. Take a few standouts from your most recent performance evaluation and turn them into your core competencies. Make sure they’re stated under the new job description to help convince them that you’re the perfect person for the job.
Raviraj Hegde, Donorbox
One of the key things to include when writing job descriptions is to highlight any legal obligations that are part of the job. This includes complying with local, state and federal laws, as well as any company policies that are in place. This can include anything from paying taxes, filing reports and following safety regulations to complying with diversity policies.
If the job requires the handling of sensitive data, you will need to include this in the job description and make sure that applicants are aware of the legal implications. Similarly, things like health and safety regulations, anti-discrimination laws and workplace health and safety obligations are also important aspects of the legal considerations you must address while writing your job descriptions.
Tiffany Homan, Texas Divorce Laws
Benefits and Employee Perks
It’s all about the benefits and what makes your company different. When you’re writing your own job description, the most important thing to include is why your company is different and the benefits you offer that sets you apart—that’s how you become competitive and attract top talent.
For example, highlight the employee perks, the benefits, the PTO, the amazing work culture, the flexible hours, the healthy work-life balance, and the DEI programs at your job. When you emphasize how this job will actually make the candidate’s life better, solve problems and support their job security, you’ll attract top talent to your job description and be competitive in this tough hiring climate.
Jimmy Minhas, GerdLi
Growth and Development Opportunities
When writing job descriptions, always remember to include growth and development opportunities. Mentioning these opportunities shows that you’re an employer who is committed to investing in your employees. It also demonstrates that you’re a forward-thinking company that’s always looking for ways to improve.
Growth and development opportunities can take many different forms, so be sure to be specific about what you are offering. For example, you might mention training programs, mentorship opportunities, or the chance to take on additional responsibility. Whatever the form, make sure that growth and development opportunities are a key part of your job descriptions.
Jason Vishnefske, Santa Barbara Chocolate Company
Review and Update Current Job Descriptions
One thing you must include when writing your own job description are the role’s duties and responsibilities. You don’t need to include the small duties and responsibilities of your job, but include what the majority of your duties and responsibilities are. Some job descriptions even list out the percentage of time that you spend on each duty or responsibility. Be specific so that your supervisor knows exactly what your job entails. We review our job descriptions on an annual basis to see if the employee is performing more duties and may need to be reclassified to a higher level position.
Lindsey Hight, Sporting Smiles