How to Write an Effective Job Description
Putting some time and thought into your job description is an essential part of your recruitment process. Not only is this one of the first things a potential candidate will see about your business, it’s also your new starter’s guide to succeeding in their new role. So it's a pretty important document.
Starting from scratch can be a daunting task, but as a recruitment business we've seen thousands of JDs, and as part of our service when working on roles we support our client in developing their JDs as well. So from our experience, we've tried to make an easy to follow process that outlines exactly what your job description needs to contain from start to finish.
What a job description should include:
An overview of the job in a few sentences, summarising the main responsibilities.
An overview of the company, which sells your business as much as possible (half a page of text here is good!), you can include things like values, turnover, growth, culture etc.
Organisational structure for the team or business (depending how big you are).
Key activities - you can split this down under different headings if you wish i.e. if it were a Supply Planning Manager you could split the role into “planning activities”, “management activities” and “wider supply chain activities” for example.
Measures of success in the role i.e. what KPIs will this person be responsible for delivering, examples would include forecast accuracy at XX%, On Time In Full at XX% etc.
Required/desirable experience, skills and education – again you can break this down until each heading with a few bullet points.You can break this list down into “required” and “desirable” as well, as you probably won’t get 100% of this list from one candidate.
Desired competencies and behaviours – this should be an explanation of softer skills you need in the role and an explanation of what you are looking for, examples would be stakeholder management, planning and organisation, resilience, creativity, strategic, hands on etc.
Interview process – a short overview of how stages and what to expect, include things like testing and presentations etc. if they are likely to happen.
What we offer – you don’t necessarily need to include salary information here, but you can do! List your benefits and reasons to be interested in your business here.
Progression and opportunities – remember this is a sales document, if you can, try and give an overview of what typical progression could look like from this role, be it a step up or a move to a different team or office.
How to use the job description
You’ve created a brilliant job description, great! Now it’s time to make use of it. Create a job advert that you can advertise on you company website and job boards using the ‘overview of the job’, ‘company information’ (a shortened version), ‘key activities’, ‘required experience’, ‘skills and education’, ‘desired competencies and behaviours’ and ‘what we offer’ sections. You should also share the job description with your HR/Talent team and everyone else involved in the process (including recruitment partners if you are using them).
Lastly, you should use the job description to create the interview process – you have a list of required and desired experience plus competencies and skills that you can use to build your interview questions. If you'd like to find out more about creating an interview process, you can read another of our articles here.
That’s it! If you’d like any more support with writing great job description or other aspects of the recruitment process, I would be more than happy to help! You can reach me on firstname.lastname@example.org and 0203 627 2420.