As a recruiter, your goals include sourcing, hiring, and onboarding top candidates. With the sheer amount of competition amongst various companies, when hiring the top talent, the ‘best of the best’ isn't always easy to find. This article covers tips to help you write better job descriptions—and make sure you stick around until the end for a job description template!
The importance of a good job description
You only have a certain amount of time to capture candidates’ attention with your job description. Did you know candidates spend 25.9 seconds on reading a job description on average, and that they tend to ‘skim the job description' rather than read it closely’?
With competition for top talent becoming increasingly fierce, the importance of a well-written, compelling job description is greater than ever. To help in this effort, many companies rely on job description templates or samples to help them write the perfect job description. Here, we’ll provide details on how templates enable you to write a compelling job description with ease.
What is a job description template and why do you need one?
Let’s start by defining what a ‘job description’ is. Put simply, it is a description that distinctly explains the requirements of a job. A job description normally includes:
- The responsibilities of the role
- The duties expected of the employee
- The skills required to efficiently perform the role
Job description templates take some of the pain out of structuring and crafting a job description. Here are just a few of the many advantages to using a job description template:
- They help you to attract appropriate candidates
- Enable precision and accuracy when describing the job role
- Templates can be used as a basis for the interview
- They help to reduce bias
Three best practices for creating your job description template
Take a look at these three best approaches to creating your job description template, which we hope will make the process easier:
Carry out a job analysis
A job analysis is a thorough process of gathering information on the nature of a job. This includes the candidate’s responsibilities, duties, and the environment in which the employee would be working. It also involves considering the skills or competencies required to carry out the role. An HR professional usually carries out this process and it forms the foundation of your job description template.
An HR officer usually carries out a job analysis by following an ‘Employee oriented approach’, which includes examining and analyzing the attributes necessary to successfully perform the role. There are a few categories to examine:
- Skills and proficiencies needed
- The abilities required
- Personality attributes necessary for the role
Make use of a competency library
A competency library is typically used to build competency-based job descriptions. It includes the knowledge areas that are required for your company’s industry. It also features the role-dependent skills needed, the leadership skills sought, and the behaviors that are important for the role.
Competency mapping is important. It has many benefits including the fact that it assists with your company’s hiring decisions. It is useful for training opportunities and your employees’ career progression. And, although many companies fail to fully leverage competency mapping, in the best companies, each employee is fully aware of their competency list. It provides a clear, competitive advantage in the recruitment space
Utilize a pick list
Picklists are used to maintain consistency where possible when including common items in your company’s job templates. Using them in conjunction with your list of competencies means that it’s often faster and easier to create and update job descriptions. This is a huge advantage when it comes to crafting a compelling job description.
What should a best-practice template include?
If you want to create your own template, here are the key components of a good job description template.
Highlight the appropriate job title and information with keywords
Including relevant details associated with the role in your job description is important. This might include the title, job code, and job shift.
When writing your job description you should also consider that many candidates simply look for the specific titles that align with their desired role. What does this mean? Making use of appropriate keywords for the title of your role is important. You should also use them within the job description, so try to plan for this in your template.
Move on to the job overview
An effective job summary should start with a concise overview of the role using one or two sentences. One good example of this might be this Admin & Advice Support Worker job summary, which neatly describes the company and the position they are looking to fill:
- Admin & Advice Support Worker – Zacchaeus Project
- Methodist Church in Tower Hamlets – London E2
- £17,500 a year
- Part-time, Contract – Temporarily remote
The Zacchaeus Project has been run for 21 years by Tower Hamlets Methodist Circuit, delivering support primarily for older people and their carers to help improve health and well-being and combat social exclusion in our local community.
We have been successful in securing National Lottery Community funding for three years to expand and formalize the advice and guidance provision. We are now looking to hire a part-time Admin and Advice Support Worker to provide administrative support to both the Zacchaeus Project and the Advice function.
It gives a snappy synopsis of the company then introduces the role within the following paragraph. And it provides a contextual background of the position. This is exactly what the job summary should include. To attract the best talent, you should then look to evaluate the role in context of not only the company but the team as well.
Outline the knowledge, skills, or competencies required
Using a competencies list and job description template is useful when outlining the knowledge or skills that a candidate requires for a position. You will probably also want to include competencies that are applicable to the whole organization. How much detail do you need to include?
Usually, you’ll end up with 3 to 10 competencies on a job description, which may include a combination of technical and behavioral skills.
Then, you also might be trying to work out the difference between skills and competencies. These might be similar in meaning, but where skills usually refer to the abilities that a candidate has, competencies usually encompass the knowledge that a potential employee has, combined with their abilities.
Detail the working conditions
You should always designate a section for the working conditions on the job description template, and they should be detailed on the job description.
If working with dangerous materials is part of the role, include this in the job description. If the physical demands of the role are high, detail this too. You should also include information about the environment that the successful candidates will be working in.
Include the company benefits
Your applicants are searching for an improvement on their previous role, so it’s worth dedicating a section in your template to the benefits the job and your company offers. Include details such as:
- Whether your company offers free lunches
- The prospect of gaining ongoing training
- The insurance plans that your company offers
- The retirement packages that you provide
Listing your company benefits is beneficial to you as well, enabling you to draw in more candidates.
Job description template
If you'd rather not reinvent the wheel, below is an example of a best-practice job template to point you in the right direction when it comes to writing your own job descriptions.
[Formal position title]
Reports to: The [job title] will report to [positions title or titles this position reports to].
Job Overview: [A brief, 4-sentence description of the role, what success in the position looks like, and how it fits into the company or organization overall.]
Responsibilities and Duties:
- List the essential duties required to carry out the job in order of importance.
- Use complete sentences.
- Start sentences with verbs.
- Use the present tense.
- Use gender-neutral language.
- [Required education level]
- [Required experience]
- [Preferred education level]
- [Preferred experience]
Streamlining the process of writing a great job description
The challenges linked with hiring the perfect candidate can often be overwhelming, particularly if you consider that a bad hire can cost a company’s time and money. Using a job description template is a crucial step that makes it a whole lot easier, while also helping you avoid bias. Use this guide to help you make the right hire, every time. And always remember to:
- Carry out a job analysis for the attributes required
- Make use of a competency library for your job descriptions
- Utilize a pick list to help select from common items, and
- Use keywords optimize your job description
Writing a compelling job description is key to attracting the best candidates, and with a good job description template, you can’t go wrong.