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How to write an effective Job Description?

If there’s a position which has recently become available in your organisation either due to an employee leaving or been fired, either there’s business expansion, introduction of new avenues, increase in workload, etc. All the reasons specifically require a bit of attention before you start the process of hiring. Depending on whether the position was already existing or newly created can impact your mindset and ease of writing a job description.

Present day job market is so competitive and there are so many skills which are in shortage here in Australia that planning and writing an effective job Description and Job ad copy (I will do another write-up on that) is so important and essential to attracting the best applicants but also to reduce the overall hiring process time.

Attributes to decide before you start writing job Description

  1. Nature of the Position – Whether the position requires a full time permanent/ temporary employees, is it a casual position or you want to give it on Contract.
  2. Consulting with the team – All the team members who will be affected through the hiring process should be consulted. Right from the Head manager to the team members who will be working along with them and reporting to them.
  3. Everyone has a unique mindset and opinion so after a general consultation, the decision makers should be limited to 2 or 3 for the hiring process. Normally its the talent acquisition personnel/ recruiter and reporting manager.
  4. Set a Timeline/ Schedule – You should decide on when you are going to start the hiring process and by what date you want the potential employee to start work. This should be mentioned in the job description as well.
  5. Annual Salary budget/ hourly rate – Depending on the type of role you decide to hire for, whether it’s a new position or replacing an existing position, location of the job a budget should be decided. Also, it’s important to decide what is the budget you are comfortable offering and negotiating for? 
  6. Flexibility – Make sure to leave some room for adjustments in case hiring takes longer than expected or if you need to give your potential employee some room to decide on the starting date. 
  7. Decision making – A quick time frame to make a decision to hire a potential employee is essential. There is a high demand for certain qualification & skills, also the market is in the favour of employees right now. So taking a quick decision to hire a candidate you like is important.

Essential components of a Job Description

  • Title of the role / Job Title
  • The location where the job is available
  • Introduction of the organisation- Aims and policy of the organisation, company’s visions and a bit about the work culture and practices, environmental outlook, gender neutrality, etc
  • Describe the position advertised – Organisational fit, reporting manager, what are the expectations of this position, responsibilities what is expected from the successful candidate to bring to the organisation.
  • A bullet list of Key duties/tasks. Also, add other duties as may be required. This provides a bit of flexibility and means you can add duties or tasks without amending the job description every time.
  • Academic Qualifications, knowledge, skills and experience required.

Step by step guide to writing best talent attracting Job Description

Use these steps as an indicative guideline to writing an effective job description, customise it according to your needs and requirements.Also, you can check out our job description templates and job ad promotion templates for your use.

Step 1: Define the job/title of the job

Purpose of the position- A short summary telling the prospective applicant the overall purpose of this position, how it contributes towards the business, authority level (any employees reporting, etc), reporting to, etc

Defining the job is the first step to the recruiting process. Discuss with your team especially the supervisor who this person will be reporting to, as well as other employees who will be working along with him and reporting to him.

Step 2: Decide on the type of employment

You will need to decide on the type of employment the job needs. That is, whether the position is full-time, part-time, fixed-term or casual. This is important because it will determine the employee’s pay and other contract conditions.

Step 3: Create the job description

Once you have defined the role, you can use the information to develop a job description.

Responsibilities and duties

Define the responsibilities and duties expected of the position advertised for including but not limited to work hours, effort and skill required, travelling if any that needs to be undertaken, skills required for using any specific applications or equipment.

Also, include daily operations/ management asks to be carried out – including organising drop off’s and pickup of mail, organising extracurricular for the team, conducting any events, managing and ordering office supplies, ordering  pantry supplies, any rotational duties taken up by all the members of the team, any monthly or weekly reports to be prepared or maintained, etc

Step 4: Academic qualifications

Qualifications are university degrees or industry certifications. Mention all required qualifications which are mandatory for making an application along with any additional qualification which might be preferred to have but not absolutely necessary.

Technical skills refer to their aptitude or hands-on working experience with certain computer programs or know-how of how to use & operate tools & machinery.

Soft skills refer more so to the nature and attitude of the person. Whether they are a team player, reliable, punctual, etc

Step 5: Work experience and skills

Required experience – briefly state how much experience you require them to have for example, two years experience in the recruitment field

Additional experience – briefly mention an additional experience that may earn them extra points but are not necessary to make an application, for example, experience in handling a recruitment campaign in managing position.

Step 6: Choose a salary band

Although it’s not a mandatory part of your job description it is advisable to mention what the range of salary that could be expected.

Also, getting the hiring forms, policies and job contract reviewed by your legal team or through a solicitor is a good idea to make sure no violations are done unintentionally. And that all the employment laws of the country and the state are abided by.

Clearly defined and scripted job description can help make sure that the applications coming in are relevant in nature. Clearly defining the roles, skills and qualifications required, experience necessary, and all other aspects relating to the job discussed earlier will allow discouraging a large number of candidates who are not a perfect fit for your company from applying. Especially when there are a large number of candidates applying for that job.

To sum it all up make sure your Job description should include

Clearly defined Job title, the department and the person to whom the employee will report.

Responsibilities and roles required by the position

Different sets of tasks and actions to be carried out when in that position

Organisational, cultural and personal attributes that you are looking for.

All the qualifications and extra skills needed to perform well in this job.

Don’t forget that your job ad is not merely used to attract the best candidate, it is also a chance for you to tell prospective employees the benefits of working for your business. Provide a few points on your unique employer value proposition to distinguish your job ad from the crowd.

After writing a perfect job description deciding the salary and the schedule or the start date of the employment it’s now time to advertise your job. All possible platforms should be used to maximise the return on efforts starting with posting on Job boards, company website, employee referrals and social media.

Recruiting takes time and effort to land a successful candidate that the best suit to your organisation and ticks all the boxes. Hiring a local Recruitment agent can save you tons of money and time. It is also a lot cheaper to have a local recruiter as a virtual assistant for all your HR needs rather than having an HR department of your own.