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How to Write a Clear and Accurate Job Description

in Best Practices, News and Features

Sitting down to write a job description may be tempting to put off to the last minute, but you’ll be thankful that you took the time. It’s the first step in narrowing your selection of qualified candidates for the job. Job descriptions do more than just help with the hiring process.
But we’ll get to that later.
First, you need to know what every job description needs to include:

  • Date job description was posted or updated.
  • Title of the position. Include the title of the position’s supervisor, if appropriate.
  • Position’s primary responsibilities. Use bullet points to make this easy reading.
  • Top 8 10 duties/tasks of the position. Job seekers want to know what they would be spending most of their time doing, if hired.
  • Brief summary of the general functions and responsibilities of the position. Keep it to a paragraph or less.
  • Realistic minimum job requirements. These should not be your “ideal” requirements. The person perfect for the job could be discouraged from applying for simply being a year short of your “ideal” years of experience.
  • Basic physical tasks and conditions of the job. Will there be any heavy lifting required? Or standing for long periods?
  • A disclaimer stating the job description does not detail every task and responsibility of the job. Additional tasks and responsibilities could be added. This makes it clear to job seekers and union leaders that the job description isn’t completely comprehensive.

Should Internal Talent Come First?
Before you send that job description out to outside job seekers, should you look internally for talent first? According to a Human Resource Executive Online article, companies that have a policy of publicizing new positions to people already working for the company can maximize their resources. Companies that help their current staff develop their careers are less likely to have high turnover rates.

Aside from just posting the job listing to all internal staff, companies can seek out the ideal candidates internally based on the job description and ask them specifically to apply for the position. Carol Patton called this “matchmaking” in her HREO article. A few other pointers to keep in mind for writing a job description:

  • Review the description for errors and typos.
  • Have the position’s supervisor or department review the description, along with your human resource department.
  • Avoid gender-based language and other potentially discriminatory language.
  • If you need help crafting a job description or finding the best candidate for a job (inside or outside your company), contact Sequoia Personnel Services.

The information provided in this blog is intended for general information purposes only. Readers should seek the help of an HR professional for guidance on specific issues.

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