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How to write a job description

How to write a job description

Your business is growing and you need a few more people to really take it to the next level. You’re trying to find that special unicorn with the right skills, experience, and attitude to make it happen. But to attract the right applicants, you’ll need to understand how to write a job description with flair and purpose.

It’s a little like online dating. You’ll want to put your company’s best foot forward and explain why your workplace is better than all the other potential suitors out there. But you also want to be specific about who it is you’re looking for; you don’t want to be overwhelmed by the wrong type of applicants.

The many benefits of an effective job description

Done right, you online job posting can serve several purposes:

  • It forms the foundation of your recruitment ad and can entice the right people to apply;
  • It serves as your first opportunity to make a good impression of your company;
  • It focuses your resume screening process, helping you choose only the most qualified candidates; and
  • It lets you develop high-impact interview questions that can help you select the employees you need.

How to write a job description: the basics

A balanced approach is key, and the following essentials to a winning job description will help you get there. Additionally, Monster’s job description templates provide a great leg-up on your job posting, with a proven formula for getting noticed by the right people via search engines.

1. Job Duties

You want to go beyond a simple title and spell out the specific, day-to-day responsibilities of the role. Make sure you specify whether it’s entry-level, mid-level, or senior-level, and then include a list of key duties and tasks. You might also want to include certain expectations, such as travel requirements, physical activity, or public speaking.

If you find someone who looks good on paper but your job description fails to mention something they’re not willing or able to do (e.g., working weekends), then your efforts could be wasted.

2. Experience and Professional Background

When you’re screening candidates, it’s important to indicate things such as familiarity with a specific industry, knowledge of the role, professional certification, and educational background. Be specific about what’s required, as opposed to desired experience (i.e., “preferred experience” or “special consideration for…”).

Sometimes the right person will need a work visa, relocation from another geographic area, or additional training. Decide ahead of time how willing you are to make certain concessions or time investments.

3. Required and Desired Skills

As with the section on experience, you’ll want to differentiate between required and desired skills. If you’re hiring for a secretary, then you’ll probably need them to be able to type at a certain speed and operate various productivity tools. But perhaps you have an office in China and someone who speaks Mandarin would be especially valuable. It may be hard to find that specific “unicorn,” but it doesn’t hurt to list it as a desired skill.

Don’t forget to list the “soft” skills that would be beneficial for the role, such as the ability to work well under tight deadlines or to delegate tasks.

4. Culture and Attitude

The right skills and experience are a good start, but to retain new hires and ultimately get the most out of them it’s important that they’re also a good cultural fit. For instance, a company without a physical office where everyone works remotely is not for everyone. Likewise, startups can be a bit demanding and may be difficult for people who have numerous responsibilities outside of work.

5. Temperament and Personality

You’ll want to go beyond the experience and skills of the ideal applicant and target those with the right temperament and personality. For instance, a night club hiring for a manager will probably want someone who’s fun, energetic, and used to working late nights. A funeral home, on the other hand, will want to write a job description targeting applicants who are sensitive to the needs of grieving family members.

Go beyond the job description with help from Monster

So you’ve finally completed a solid job description. That’s a great start, but now you’ll need to decide who to interview, which questions to ask, what their responses reveal, and much more. If you’d like some help with your hiring and retention needs, sign up for Monster Hiring Solutions today and get expert advice, recruiting strategies, and more, all conveniently delivered to your inbox.