Tips for Writing Job Description

writing job description

Job descriptions are typically used to drive recruitment campaigns, set expectations for new workers, establish salary grade levels for groups of jobs, and align individual goals and activities with an organization's strategic objectives.

With job descriptions essential to so many human resource functions, it's particularly important that companies take the time to write their organizations' descriptions. A good job description follows a simple but consistent format that describes key roles played by that job, as well as "essential functions."

Guidance On Writing Job Descriptions (Checklist)

A job description should clearly and accurately set out the duties and responsibilities of the job. It should include:

Job specifications

  1. Job Title : Accurate titles reflecting the function and level of the job.

  2. The Department

  3. Position : Stating the job title the employee is responsible to, as well as titles of those reporting to the job holder.

  4. Areas of Responsibility

  5. Concisely stating the overall purpose of the job, the principal role of the job holder and the expected contribution to achieving objectives

  6. Main Tasks : Identifying the tasks and include the objective or purpose of each task.

  7. Separate Descriptions of main tasks

  8. Special Requirements : Equipment, tools, special skills.

  9. Location Of the job and travelling needed.

  10. Special Circumstances

  11. Night work, overtime, weekend working

  12. Signed Agreement by postholder & date

Person specification

A person specification allows you to define the skills, experience, competencies and qualifications required to carry out the activities outlined in the job description. Identify the desirable criteria in the following four categories:

  1. Education, Qualifications & Training

  2. Experience

  3. Work based Competencies (i.e. what does the candidate need to be able to do such as use Excel, deliver training or work in French etc.)

  4. Behavioural Competencies (Such as the ability to influence people, identify problems and work together with a team to find solutions, demonstrate personal drive, ability to work alone, to communicate effectively orally and in written reports etc.)

The language used in job descriptions should

  1. Avoid jargon and unexplained acronyms and abbreviations.

  2. Be matched to the type of job and be readily understood by the employees concerned.

  3. Avoid ambiguity about responsibility and be clear about the post-holder's accountability for results and resources.

Points to remember

  1. Try to give as much information as possible to allow candidates to make an informed and rational decision about their suitability for a post.

  2. Consider any legal requirements i.e. work and travel permissions that might prevent a candidate from working in a specific country.

  3. Provide relevant details of climate/security/isolation that candidates need to consider before applying for a post.