Have you ever read a job description that left you confused after reading it? I read one recently and it left me bemused. To start with, in the opening lines, the job required at least five years of HR experience, however, as I scrolled down, there was a line that asked for “at least 7 years experience in Learning and Development”. I was stunned.
The role also indicated that there was a remote work option, however, it would be preferred if the candidates applying stayed at a certain location on the island. Isn’t that confusing?
I also read another job description that stated that the role was “an entry-level role” but somewhere later in the document, there was a bullet point that said, “must have used this tool for at least 3 years”.
What makes a job description great? How do you distinguish between a bad, a good and an excellent job description? Let’s start with the definition.
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A job description is a document that clearly states essential job requirements, job duties, and job responsibilities of a position. It is important that I highlight at this point that it is necessary for to you carry out a job analysis. A job analysis is a systematic process of collecting all information about a specific job, including skills requirements, roles, responsibilities and processes in order to create a valid job description. Job analysis also gives a summary and key pointers of the physical and emotional related human qualities to execute the job description.
While there are no exact ways or styles to writing a job description, below are a few, but very important highlights your job description should contain or things you should take note of.
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Mention the job title: It is very important that the job title is expressed with clarity. It is 2022 and a lot of roles are quite interwoven. A content writer is different from a UX writer, and an SEO writer, even when all they do is write. A Product Policy Manager is different from a Platform Policy Manager, even when they both manage policies, so it is important that the job title is stated with clarity.
Line of reporting: While this isn’t mandatory, it is always an added bonus to highlight the line of reporting (inclusive of the department) when writing a job description. For instance, a Creative Designer would probably report to the Head of Marketing or the Head of Growth or the Growth Marketing Manager depending on the structure while a Product Designer would report to the Design Lead or CTO. While Creative design and Product Design sounds similar, they are totally different fields and the line of reporting makes these kinds of differences clear.
Job summary: This contains the overall objective of the job in the most concise way. A candidate should have a surface idea of what a job entails from viewing the summary. A job summary for a Human Resource Generalist role might be “Spearhead every people-related process, to ensure the talents are happy and optimally productive”.
Essential functions: This includes what a candidate would do every day and what the key performance indicator of success in the roles would be. This part is often written and highlighted in bullet points in order to ensure that the potential candidate has a comprehensive idea of what the role requires
Required competence: This basically consists of the knowledge skills and abilities. It highlights the functional competence the candidate needs to have to be a fit for the role
Required education, certification and experiences: It is also necessary to clearly stipulate the minimum requirements concerning these so that you do not attract the wrong set of candidates
Benefits: I think this is one of the most important parts of a job description. This section of the JD is useful for the company to sell their array of benefits and attract its desired candidates to work with the organization.
If need be, you can add a disclaimer of what the job doesn’t entail, what the organization won’t ask you to do and many other scenario cases, but it is very important that a job description is consistent in its content and messaging.
What other element do you think a job description should contain? Do leave a comment below.