A thorough job description is the foundation of any successful hiring strategy. You need to be clear about what your organisation needs in order to attract the right candidates. You can then use this job description to craft a killer job advert which really sells the role to prospective applicants.
How to structure your job description
There are 8 key parts to an effective job description:
- Job title
- Reporting to
- Overview of the role
- Key tasks and responsibilities
- Supervisory responsibility (if relevant)
- Qualifications and technical competency
- Personal attributes and skills
These simple points, alongside information about your company, culture, employee benefits etc. is everything you need to start sparking interest in your role.
The job title needs to be clear and concise, using key phrases that accurately describe the nature of the role and its seniority. Try to avoid terminology that’s too broad or too obscure e.g. Junior System Engineer rather than Support Technician, or Full Stack Software Developer rather than Rockstar Developer.
This is particularly important if you have multiple work locations or if the role location is flexible/remote.
In terms of managerial structure, who line manages this position? Include the managerial job title, not the employee’s name.
Overview of the role
Key tasks and responsibilities
A job description should outline the core responsibilities of the position, along with the amount of time expected to be dedicated to each task. The list of duties and responsibilities should be detailed but concise, consider each point to be a sentence rather than a paragraph and these should be listed in order of importance.
Supervisory responsibility (if relevant)
Does the position have line management responsibilities? If so, how many people report into this role and what are their expertise? E.g. This is a leadership role, the Software Development Manager is responsible for leading a team of 10, made up of integration architects and developers.
Qualifications and technical competency
Is a specific level of education or qualifications required to fulfil this role? Do they need to have experience using a particular tool or programming language? Do they need to have experience managing a team? Often employers split these criteria into essential and desired to help identify candidates with the required attributes and those who have extra skills that could benefit the organisation.
Personal attributes and skills
Soft skills enable employees to interact well with other people e.g. communication, decision-making, collaboration, teamwork, time management, creativity etc. They are just as important as technical competency as all careers require at least some soft skills to make the hard skills valuable. Are there any soft skills that are critical to the role? Not all positions will require excellent customer communication or problem-solving, so you need to be clear about what is important to the position.
Knowing how to write an effective job description is vital for any hiring manager, it helps you solidify what your business needs from an employee and enables you to communicate this clearly to internal stakeholders and external recruitment partners. By picking the key points from the job description and understanding who you want to attract you can craft a killer job advert specifically targeted at your dream candidate.