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Crafting Effective Job Descriptions: A 7-Step Guide

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How do you go about creating job descriptions?

Creating well-written and comprehensive job descriptions can help you stand out from the thousands of companies hiring and attract more applicants. Here are 7 tips to incorporate into your process to be successful.

1.Use concise job titles

Job titles are one of the most effective ways for applicants to find you when they search online. And 36% of applicants use job titles to search for the position they want.

A good job description starts with a concise job title, and there are a few things you should keep in mind:

  • Keep them simple. It may be tempting to write things like “Rockstar System Administrator” or “Social Media Ninja.” But keep in mind that these fancy terms can prevent your job posting from being found in online searches. It's best if you keep it simple.
  • Avoid jargon. Instead of using internal jargon for job descriptions (e.g. Level IV System Administrator), use standard job titles and simple language (e.g. Senior System Administrator).
  • Remove gender-specific labels. Remove gender-specific terms from your job titles to increase equal opportunities. For example, use "postal worker" instead of "postman" or "flight attendant" instead of "stewardess."

2. Start with a solid summary of the job

A job summary is your chance to inform applicants about the position. Ideally, your job summary (or position description) should include:

  • A summary of the day-to-day tasks of the position. This summary also explains how the position fits into your company and what development opportunities exist. They should also know who they will be working with within the company.
  • Indicate the exact place of work. If possible, provide the exact place of work. By providing this information, you can optimize your job postings so they rank better in job search results.

3. Write a short list of tasks

This section tells applicants what they will be doing. First, write down all the responsibilities (or tasks) you can think of for this position. Review the list and then shorten it to a maximum of 7 tasks and write them down in order of importance.

Keep your list short so that candidates aren't overwhelmed and can clearly see what the job is about.

You can, among other things, list the following points:

  • Special tasks in the organization
  • Daily activities in the position
  • Financial responsibilities
  • Supervisory duties
  • Required training

Here is an example of the “What you will do” section for a job at Epic Games:

In this role you will

  • You have good color theory and technical expertise in architectural layout, lighting, scene composition and polishing of environmental effects (bloom, color matching, fog, etc.).
  • You will model and texture a wide range of props/assets.
  • Creative modeling of rudimentary or unfinished concepts with an understanding of the goals of the design through to finished, production-ready models.
  • Create solid, faithful textures for any surface.
  • Creating shaders for environmental elements, volumetrics, decals, environmental effects, etc.

4.Write a short list of qualifications

Another part of the job description writing process is outlining what applicants need to get the job.

Qualifications for a position are tricky because you want to list the things the applicant should have, but you don't want to be so specific that you discourage certain people from applying. For example, women only apply for a job if they meet 100% of the requirements, while men apply if they meet 60% of the requirements.

It's best to divide your qualifications into must-haves and nice-to-haves. Must-haves are skills that are essential to getting the job done, and nice-to-haves are skills that can be learned on the job.

Below is a great example from a Google Product Manager job posting:

Minimum qualifications:

  • Bachelor's degree in a technical field or equivalent practical experience in developing/publishing technical products.
  • Experience in developing/launching products/technologies within cloud infrastructure.
  • Experience developing product visions, go-to-market strategies and design discussions.
  • Experience creating strategic product plans and collaborating with cross-functional teams.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Experience in managing day-to-day technical and design direction.
  • Experience in one or more of the following areas: storage, computing, networking, high performance computing and/or internal tools and infrastructure management.
  • Knowledge of multiple functional areas (e.g. product management, engineering, UX/UI, sales, customer support, finance, or marketing).
  • Ability to influence multiple stakeholders without direct authority.

5. List salary and benefits

While money isn't everything when it comes to whether or not candidates apply for a job, it is a deciding factor. 61% of applicants say that their primary consideration is salary.

Some states, such as Colorado, California, New York, and Washington, have passed salary transparency laws that require you to include salary information in your JDs.

If you want to attract more applicants, you should list benefits as well as salary. Employee benefits typically fall into 4 categories:

  • Health and wellness
  • Exemption and vacation
  • Benefits for working life
  • Financial benefits and retirement planning

Below are some examples of company benefits you should include in your JDs:

  • Healthcare
  • Dental care
  • Flexible working hours
  • Parental leave
  • Paid time off
  • Rewards
  • Support with tuition fees
  • Relaxed dress code
  • Floating vacation
  • Benefits for Domestic Partners
  • 401 k

Please note that you may need federal and state mandated benefits for eligible employees. Failure to comply with these regulations may result in fines. These benefits include minimum wage, paid overtime, unemployment insurance, and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

6. Introduce your company

You introduce yourself when you meet someone; Your company description is a way to introduce your company to potential applicants. Research shows that 72% of applicants will apply to your job ad if it contains a job description from the company.

They should contain information about:

  • The mission and culture of your company
  • The size of your company
  • Your DEI statement or commitment to diversity

If you have a company careers page or a dedicated hiring page, you should link to that page in this section.

7.Make sure your JDs are inclusive

An important final step in creating job descriptions is checking your job descriptions for bias. Biased language can discourage top talent from applying, especially from underrepresented groups.

You can try to figure out discriminatory words yourself, but this is time-consuming and you may still miss some. Using software like IceHrm's Text Analyzer automates the process of highlighting exclusionary words and suggests more inclusive alternatives.

Creating compelling job descriptions is crucial for attracting top talent. By following these 7 steps and using tools like IceHrm's Text Analyzer for inclusivity, you can stand out in the competitive hiring landscape.

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