What Should Be Included in a Job Description?

Before you can interview applicants for an opening at your company, you will need to release a job description to inform job seekers of the opening. A well-written job description can guarantee you will attract a highly qualified group of applicants. Vague phrases and a list of responsibilities that is too general will attract a large pool of less-than-qualified job seekers. Detailing exactly what you expect from potential employees will increase the chances that your job description will appeal to candidates best-suited for the position.

Qualifications Needed

Include everything you expect the applicant to bring to the position. Detail what skills are necessary, how much education the applicant should have and how much relevant experience is required. List every essential skill you expect the new hire to bring to the job. If you have limited space in your job description, include the most important qualifications and add skills of lesser importance as space allows.

If you only want to consider applicants with a degree, include this in the job description. State what kind of degree is necessary. Writing a phrase like “Degree required” will draw applicants with an Associate’s, Bachelor’s or Master’s degree. If you are looking for a specific level of education, use a phrase like “Must possess a Bachelor’s degree from a four-year university.”

The same principle applies to the level of experience you expect of the new hire. A phrase like “Seeking experienced salesman” will draw applicants whose experience ranges from less than one year to more than 10 years. Specify the minimum amount of relevant experience the candidate should have.

Responsibilities and Expectations

Create a list of all the responsibilities, duties, and tasks that need to be fulfilled through this position. Ask yourself what you will need your new employee to accomplish. Review the responsibilities and achievements of the person being replaced to fully remember what the job entails. You can also decide to change or add job responsibilities based on what worked previously and how you would like to see the position develop.

Start writing your job description by including the key responsibilities that will be expected of the new hire. Include responsibilities in order of importance and try to encompass all aspects of the job. Use verbs when writing the job responsibilities. Instead of using sentences like, “The applicant should be able to answer phones, file documents, and make appointments,” use a list with bullet-points and say, “Answer multi-line phone system,” “Organize documents according to office filing system,” and “Schedule appointments with important clients and vendors.” This description informs the applicant of precisely what he will be expected to do if hired.

Clarity and Precision

Structure your sentences clearly and state exactly what you want out of the applicant. Your job description should be concise and leave little room for interpretation. Long-winded fluff is not substantial and is likely to attract more applicants who are not right for the position.

For example, many people may think they are a “team-player” because they get along with others, play a sport or have always worked in a team environment. With such a general phrase, more applicants will feel the description applies to them, though your definition of “team-player” may be quite different. Use a concise sentence that conveys exactly what you are seeking, such as “Ability to hold weekly meetings, achieve goals and work closely with the sales team.”