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Want To Write A Better, More Effective Job Description? Follow These 14 Tips

By News Creatives Authors , in Leadership , at October 29, 2021

Job descriptions are an important focus for companies because they give a first impression to prospective employees. Not only should job descriptions list key responsibilities, but they should promote the company’s values and the benefits of working on your team.

Below, 14 members of Forbes Human Resources Council share their best advice for writing an effective job description that better manages the expectations of prospective employees. Follow their recommendations to ensure you’re attracting the kind of candidate who truly understands the role and wants to work with your company.

1. Write Short, Compelling Copy

It should be short, compelling and give an idea of what your company is about. Worry less about the process aspects of the job and hit key aspects that make people interested in the role, like your core values and competencies for success. – Erin Lanciani, Sage Therapeutics

2. Keep It Simple And Original

I would recommend avoiding patterns and copying job descriptions from the Internet. When working on creating a job description, we can think about the ideal profile applicable to our company. What skills are essential for solving a particular problem? I wouldn’t recommend making a job description too long, overloading it with many details. Candidates can be confused by the list of requirements. – Evgenia Pavlova, ECM Space Consulting

3. Clarify Necessary Skills From Desired Skills

Let the job seeker know that the requirements section is a set of desired skills that would add value and not an expectation that the selected candidate will be proficient in all of them. Sharing this mindset will help encourage more women and diverse candidates to apply and also demonstrate to all candidates that you have a supportive learning culture and there is room to grow in the role. – Jennifer Bouyoukos, Entertainment One

4. Get Insight From Current Employees

Ask current employees to review job descriptions and to provide feedback on the tone, language and level of detail included. If your job descriptions truly reflect the culture of the organization and the realities of the job itself, they are more likely to attract the right candidates. The job description should be discussed in detail with the new employee as part of the onboarding process. – Olga Sanchez, GFR Services

5. Consider Three Specific Factors

There are three different areas to think about when writing a job description: The “can do,” will do,” “will fit” factors. A resume and references will tell you if the candidate can do the job. Instead of listing “other duties assigned,” list things like one hour of manning the front desk, departmental kitchen cleanup or other things the candidate most likely “will do.” Lastly, truthfully explain the company culture to assist with assessing the fit of a candidate. – Dawn Taylor, Pinnacle Talent Acquisition

6. Use Inclusive Language

The key to getting a prospect to even entertain working at your organization is to establish a connection. The first step in doing this, and reaching the widest possible candidate pool, is by ensuring your job descriptor language is inclusive and highlights both access to opportunity and a positive working environment and culture (which is less of a “want” and more of a “need” these days). – Patti Fletcher, Workhuman

7. Provide Clear Expectations

Job descriptions are internal documents that are the foundation for different stages of the talent lifecycle with hiring and performance development. Job descriptions can help write your job ad. The job ad is a marketing version of the job description that is a shorter version with an overview of the role and responsibilities, attributes and minimum qualifications to provide clearer expectations. – Sherry Martin

8. Update Job Descriptions

Update job descriptions every time you post a job or at the beginning of a new calendar year. Use online resources and hiring managers, but also talk to the employees who do the job, to find out what has changed over the past 12 months and how the current job description lines up with their day-to-day role. Also, ensure the expectations in the job descriptions align with their annual appraisals. – Frank Molinario, Security First Insurance Company Inc


Forbes Human Resources Council is an invitation-only organization for HR executives across all industries. Do I qualify?


9. Make It Personal And On Brand

Oftentimes, job descriptions become formulaic for companies and are repeatedly updated versus rethought. Be sure to write in a voice consistent with your company’s personality and culture. If the job description comes off overly formal in comparison to your company style, you may lose people. – Nikki Brewer, PROS Holdings

10. Highlight The Cool Parts Of The Job

At HOMESTAR, we write “what’s cool about this job” in our advertisements. A job posting can be much more than a boring job description listing a bunch of tasks. When posting positions, think of it as a marketing opportunity for branding your company’s culture. And just as we’ve done during interviews, give candidates the good, bad and ugly to establish a realistic preview of the role. – Steve Lovig, Homestar Financial Corp

11. Include Real Employee Feedback

Consider including a section at the end with feedback from real incumbents on past projects, challenges faced, success stories and top tips they would share with prospective candidates. While this part won’t be a factual, legal component of the document, it will help humanize and add color to the role from the perspective of someone who has done it. Chances are, it will also drive engagement. – Nicole Fernandes, Blu Ivy Group

12. Ensure Prospective Employee Alignment

Organizations should ensure that their minimum requirements are aligned with the role. However, to ensure this compliance, it requires a realistic understanding of what will be taught on the job and the aptitude needed for a transfer of learning to occur. Therefore, it’s essential that talent acquisition specialists and hiring managers are aligned with assisting in securing the best candidate for the role. – Nakisha Griffin, Ripple Effect

13. Make The Description Employee-Focused

Rather than listing dozens of responsibilities and qualifications employers require from candidates, job descriptions should be written for candidates’ benefit. How will new employees contribute to the company’s mission? What benefits and perks does the company offer? How will the employer contribute to employees’ success? This shows that companies have employees’ best interests at heart. – John Feldmann, Insperity

14. Include Performance Measurements

Highlighting the expectations of the position rather than the tasks is helpful. Organizations tend to note the daily tasks rather than the actual performance measurements that will be used to determine success in the role. Noting at least some of these up front in the job description is helpful for self-selection for candidates as well as establishing expectations of the organization. – Rebecca Edwards, Infinite HR of Charlotte

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