How to create a job description

When people type “how to create a job description” into Google, what many of them really mean is “how to create a job advert”.

If you’re one of these people, this article is for you.

However, if you really are looking for help on how to write a job description, these links might help:

The very fact that so many people conflate a job description with a job advert is the primary reason why so many job postings fail to attract the right candidates.

It’s unrealistic to expect a job description to perform like a job advert, and here’s why…

A job description is an internal document that acts as a kind of inventory of what that job is responsible for, who it reports to, who it interacts with (externally and internally), the tasks/responsibilities, the required skills/experience and the remuneration. If a job were a can of Coke, the job description would be the list of ingredients.

If you post a job description and expect it to behave like a job advert, it will fail regularly. The only times it might not fail is if you know there are plenty of qualified people currently available and/or likely to be looking for that particular type of job. These are generally jobs paying under £30K/$40K – especially under this current economic climate.

It will fail regularly because it’s totally dependent on being seen by someone with all the right attributes/qualifications who also happens to be unemployed and/or desperate for another job at the time of seeing the job posting.

The problem is, people who aren’t desperate don’t read job descriptions before they’ve decided if the job might be of interest. They don’t read them when they’re sent via email either. And why would they? Would you?

A job description is a document that is driven by the functional and legal requirements of the company. It isn’t driven by the need to be easy or enjoyable to read. The only time anyone reads a job description is after they’ve made the decision that it’s a job they might be interested in doing.

For many candidates, that means they’ll probably need to have the job sold to them in some way – either via a phone conversation, an email, a social media post or a job advert – before they have sufficient motivation to carefully read a long detailed description of the job.

Conflating a job description with a job advert hurts everyone; you, your clients/hiring managers and potential candidates.

To find out more about how to create a job advertisement, click here.

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