Fully understanding the job that needs to be filled is essential in order to be able to recruit the best suited candidate. Writing a clear and concise job description will enable you to identify the role and key responsibilities of the position as well as the qualifications required in order to be successful in the position.
While the content of job descriptions will vary slightly between organizations, an effective job description will outline the following information:
- Job Title
- Job Overview/Purpose of the Position
- Duties & Responsibilities
- Skills & Abilities
- Education, Training & Experience
- How to Apply
- Additional Information
1. Job Title
Identifies the formal name of the position. For example: Customer Service Representative.
2. Job Overview/Purpose of the Position
One or two sentences that identify the reporting structure (ie. who the position reports to) and tells the reader why does the job exists.
Reporting to the Owner, Customer Service Representatives play a key role in the continued success of the business through providing prompt, friendly and knowledgeable service to customers.
3. Duties & Responsibilities
This section provides the reader with an understanding of the key responsibilities of the position as well as a detailed understanding of the actual tasks that are related to the position. With this information candidates will decide whether or not they are interested in applying for the position.
Sell the position, but be careful to generate realistic expectations by listing tasks that they will actually be required to do in the position – the good, the bad and the ugly. Avoid having a new employee start the job only to leave by the first coffee break when they find out that they have to perform a task that they weren’t expecting (ie. Clean toilets).
4. Skills & Abilities
List the key skills and abilities that candidates must possess in order to be successful in the position. Be specific and list them in order of priority, beginning with the most important. For example:
- Instead of: Computer literate
- State: Proficient in using Microsoft Word, Excel & Outlook
- Instead of: Team Player
- State: Ability to work effectively and contribute within a diverse team
5. Education, Training & Experience
Provide an overview of the minimum level of education/training and/or years of previous similar experience required. For example:
- High School Diploma or GED
- 1-2 years of previous customer service experience
6. How to Apply
Tell interested candidates how to apply for the position and perhaps who to contact for more information. Contact methods will vary and may include:
- Company website
- Email address
- Fax number
- Phone number
- Mailing address
7. Additional Information
Use this area to provide any additional information about the position that has not already been covered. For example:
- Wage or salary
- Hours of work
- Drivers license or vehicle required
Remember, as tasks and responsibilities may change over time it is good practice to regularly review job descriptions to ensure that they continue to accurately reflect the position.
Recruiting the most qualified candidate for the job begins with fully understanding the position. A clear, concise job description will provide an accurate “snap shot” of the position and set reasonable job expectations for the candidates.
Related to How to Write a Job Description:
- Why you need job descriptions
- Give Staff the Training They Really Need
- Company culture as a recruiting technique