How to Write a Job…How to Write a Job Description…

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How to Write a Job Description without Chat GPT

  • Brady Hitchcock
  • 04/26/2023
  • Find Talent
Jump straight to the SAMPLE JOB DESCRIPTION

Overview   You want your job descriptions (JDs) to stand apart from our competition in their simplicity, clarity, and efficacy. At Spectrum, we also try to maintain our ‘don’t take yourself too seriously’ approach. Job descriptions have become increasingly bloated over the years with superfluous details, legal jargon, and other corporate excesses. The best way to avoid this is to keep them short and sweet so they read like a job advertisement rather than a never-ending bullet list of requirements and preferences. The extra fluff also leads to less interest in the position.

Recruiting is often a numbers game so you want your JDs to attract as many applicants as possible. You also want to avoid people being discouraged because they may not be a perfect fit. Most often, this fear of applying negatively affects females and other diverse groups. By attracting more applicants, you will continually build a more robust network and talent pool which will pave the way for future success. Things and people that go around will come back around sooner than you think!

Keywords   are truly key to creating a JD that is searchable, findable, and technically effective. Identify 5-7 solid words or phrases that best represent the position and use them repeatedly. These should basically sum up the position and will be valuable for recruiters, sourcers, job launches, candidate searches, search engine optimization, and your own website or job boards. Keywords will include the job title, industry, and specific hard requirements and should be used about 3-5 times each throughout the JD.

Job Title   Avoid acronyms here. Use parentheses if you like (e.g., Human Resources (HR) Generalist), but spell it out up top. If the job title is ambiguous, Google it! Check out similar positions and titles that are most fitting. When posting directly to a job board or similar platform, be sure to use one of that site’s recommended titles. Mention that there are multiple positions available when applicable.

Reports To   This isn’t critical information but it is often inquired about and can give some insight into the role and company structure. Definitely good to know, even if you don’t include it on the JD. 

Location   Better to cast a wide net here. Especially when posting a job online, Salt Lake City, UT will get more attention than Riverton, UT; Denver, CO more than Lakewood, CO, etc.

Schedule   At Spectrum, we generally operate under the assumption that positions are full-time, onsite, and within standard business hours (8 AM-5 PM ish). When that is the case, there’s no need to mention it as it will be more likely to turn people off before we get them on the phone. If the job is contract-based, part-time, remote, work from home, 4/10s, or offers any kind of schedule flexibility, mention it right up top, with Location. Currently, job seekers’ #1 concern, even above compensation, is schedule. Work/life balance is paramount so advertise it if clients offer it and recommend it if they don’t!

Sponsorship   If/when a client offers sponsorship opportunities, get stoked, and make a note of that up top, with Location and Schedule.

Compensation   To include salary or not to include salary… A hotly debated topic among HR nerds everywhere! Including here at Spectrum! For us, this depends on the particular client so the best practice is to follow their advice. When posting online, compensation is usually required. Keeping the range reasonably broad is a good idea because there are so many variables but bear in mind that when a range gets too wide, don’t nobody want that low-end nonsense. When including comp, mention a bonus, when appropriate, and be sure to add “DOE”.

In a growing number of states where compensation disclosure is mandatory, most folks are using wide comp ranges and more specific verbiage to make it clear that salaries will vary. I don’t recommend including it on all JDs but something like the following may be helpful in certain cases, depending on the client and where the job is being posted.

  • Salary will be determined based on a wide range of factors including education, experience, knowledge, skills, and abilities of the applicant as well as internal equity considerations and alignment with market data.
Intro   Looking for catchy but relevant here; attention-grabbing and packed with keywords; entertaining and inviting. If your offering something truly exceptional in the way of benefits, culture, or opportunities, the intro is a good place to throw it out there.

Requirements & Responsibilities of the Job Title   Use the full job title again here for keyword optimization.

  • Lead off with necessary level of education, years of experience and/or training, certifications, etc. When a degree is not a hard requirement, something like “…degree and/or X years of equivalent experience” works well.
  • Mention the type(s) of experience and knowledge of software, hardware, equipment, systems, etc. that are REQUIRED for the role. The more specific, the better!
  • Avoid “preferences” and “preferred qualifications”. This is the easiest way to let a JD (or a hiring manager) get out of control. If a client strongly prefers something in particular, go ahead and add it (it’s probably actually a requirement anyway), but leave most of the extraneous details for when you get the candidate on the phone.
  • When there is a particularly long list of requirements, use a list! One bullet with several items works great as long as they are not wildly disparate things. Same goes for soft/core skills; one point can cover them all.
  • Again, keep it simple, short, and sweet. 6-10 bullets should suffice. Whenever possible, we like to keep our JDs to one page in length. We will likely already have an in-depth, overstuffed, corporate JD from our partners to share with candidates during or after the initial interview.  
Outro   This is where you sell your company (or client) and the opportunity. Outros should not only hype up the organization but should appeal directly to applicants and how they will fit in and/or make an immediate impact. Think of it as an ‘about us’ section that’s about them.

The #1 best practice for creating new JDs quickly and easily is to start with your favorite / most relevant current JD and edit from there using your keywords. Check out this SAMPLE JOB DESCRIPTION for a visualization of what all this looks like in action.

For more, check out our RESOURCE LIBRARY for hiring managers or REACH OUT directly to find out how we can help you build the team you want (or deal with what you've got).

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