Building a Team

How to Write a Job Description

What is a job description?

A job description is a useful, plain-language tool that explains the tasks, duties, function and responsibilities of a position. It details who performs a specific type of work, how that work is to be completed, and the frequency and the purpose of the work as it relates to the business. It also lists the training, education, and experience required to do the work, and it includes a description of the essential functions to be performed. Job descriptions also include information about salary ranges and any benefits that are offered to employees in the position. In many cases a job description also outlines how the position fits into a larger organization as a whole. The term “job specification” is often used as a synonym for “job description.”

How do you write job descriptions for your business?

Once you figure out what you need extra help with, you can start hiring employees! Check out the list below as a guideline to write an effective job description.

  • Description of your company or organization

  • The role title

  • Responsibilities or duties of the role

  • Required qualifications ranging from education, experience, skills, etc.

  • Preferred qualifications that would set apart stronger candidates

  • Location information or expectations

  • Optional: Salary, this can be discussed during the candidate interview

A clear, thoughtful job description will help you hire the right person. Run your draft through Textio, a machine-learning platform that flags gender-biased words and jargon, to help you write a more effective job posting and find the best hires. Use the Job Description Template provided as a guide to write a stellar job description and for further explanations on the components listed above.

Why are job descriptions important?

Job descriptions are used for a variety of reasons, such as determining salary levels, conducting performance reviews, clarifying missions, establishing titles and pay grades, and creating reasonable accommodation controls, and as a tool for recruiting. Job descriptions are useful in career planning, offering training exercises and establishing legal requirements for compliance purposes. A job description gives an employee a clear and concise resource to be used as a guide for job performance.

Pro Tip

Job descriptions can be valuable business resources when used correctly. But many companies do not take full advantage of these documents, either because they are ignorant of their possibilities or because of company-wide perceptions that they are of limited use. Entrepreneurs and managers, then, need to make sure that job descriptions are continuously updated, that employees use the right titles and that everyone has an open line of communication.

  • Continuous updating: Job descriptions should be amended as duties change.

  • Proper classification: Each job title is associated with many specific roles, responsibilities, pay rises, overtime qualification and much more.

  • Communication: In addition to regularly scheduled performance reviews, employers should make sure that employees who find their duties and responsibilities undergoing change have the opportunity to ask questions and raise objections.