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Guide: Best practices for writing job descriptions

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Are you planning on hiring a new team member? 
To speed up and make the recruitment process as efficient as possible, it is best to take the time to create an effective job description that covers everything from the start.  

  

What is a job description? 

A job description includes all the necessary information about the role. This will include a break-down of responsibilities and requirements. It should also include extra information about your company, for example your mission, values and benefits. 

This is what will be used by yourself, and/or a recruitment agency if you choose to work with one, so it needs to be as accurate, detailed and specific as possible. 

It’s a competitive job market out there, even more so post-pandemic, so the job description needs to capture everything required but also create a clear picture of the role so people know if it’s right for them. 

When it comes to writing job descriptions, it’s super important that you do not recycle old ones, even if they are only a couple of years old. Job descriptions need to be up-to-date, they need to be fresh and be tailored to each new job opening. 

  

Where to start?  

So, there’s a job opening up in your team and you are looking for someone to fill it… Where do you start? Below we have addressed some key points that will help you to create and build your job description.   

 

Our key points to think about when writing your job description: 

  • Choose a job title. Make sure this is specific and not generic, so it covers exactly what the role is. 
  • What type of role is it? Is it freelance, temporary or permanent? 
  • What is the seniority of the role? Who will they be reporting into? 
  • Where is this role based? Is it based on-site or remote, or a mix of both? 
  • What is the salary range for the role? If you need any additional guidance with this, please refer to Devonshire’s 2021 Salary Trends document for guidance on jobs in Presentation Graphics, Creative, Digital & UX, Content, Sales & Marketing, IT & Development and Business Support (if you would like a copy, please email [email protected]).
  • Think about all the job responsibilities that the role will involve, what are the main day-to-day duties? (Try pick out and highlight the main ones, then add any more in a section beneath). 
  • What are you looking for in your new employee? What essential technical/soft skills, qualifications and experience will they ideally need to carry out this role? Try and put these into categories, for example what must they have, and what are desired skills and requirements that could be developed later on (and don’t necessarily need to be included in the copy). You should also think about which ones can have equivalent options instead, for example equivalent work experience instead of university qualifications. 

Try and round up all the essential information above into a job summary, about one to two paragraphs long which clearly states exactly what the role is, your expectations and how the new team member will fit into the business. This can form the introduction part of the job description. Following on from this, include the lists for both responsibilities and key skills and qualifications. 

  

What other information should you include? 

So, now you’ve covered the main basics about the role and what you are looking for, you need to spend some time to identify what you can offer your new employee.  

What benefits will they receive as part of this role? Are there any additional perks? For example; is there any flexibility with working hours? Is there a possibility of remote/hybrid working? How many days holiday will they have? Does your team offer any incentives? 

Once you’ve created a list of all of the key benefits, include them at the bottom of the description so it is clear what else the candidates should be aware of about the role. In addition, sum up your company too and add in this information to the job description. What is the company’s mission and what are the company’s values? This will help candidates to build a bigger picture of not only the job but what the company will be like to work at too. 

 

Diversity & inclusion considerations 

Here are some diversity and inclusion considerations to keep in mind when writing a job description:

Use gender-neutral language: Eg, use ‘you’ and ‘they’ for pronouns. 

Make sure the content is accessible: Avoid literacy exclusion and make sure the copy is accessible and can be understood by people of all literacy levels, eg, keep the sentences and paragraphs short. In addition, avoid underlining and putting text in italics as this can make text look crowded. 

Avoid industry jargon: Avoid using jargon and complex language in the copy so you can access a broader pool of applicants. Make sure the language isn’t too formal and instead welcoming, to avoid putting people off from reading it and applying to the role. 

Stick to must-haves: Try and only use must-haves skills if you can and keep this list as succinct as possible.  

 

You may find yourself adapting your job descriptions but the above tips may be a good starting point for you. If you would like to find out any more information on job descriptions or would like our team to help you with your next hire, please contact us on [email protected]. 

 

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