Why Are Job Descriptions Important in the Recruiting Process?

Being a job seeker can be challenging. Some may find themselves questioning if they would fit the job position they want to apply for. After all, potential candidates want to know what they’re getting into when applying.

This is where job descriptions come in.

So the question is, why are job descriptions a crucial part of the recruitment process? And how does it benefit both the recruiter and the applicant?

Here are the insights from experts:

Atty. Lester Ople

Lester Ople

HR Evangelist | Head of Business Development, Sprout PH

Accurate job descriptions help filter your applicants

Having a clear and accurate job description in your job postings helps job seekers determine their fit for the role, and evaluate their skills and abilities.

What are the benefits of this? Accurate job descriptions help filter your applicants, saving a significant amount of manpower because your recruiters will not have to screen dozens of applicants who are not fit for the role.

It helps the company look for the correct person for the job

Job descriptions, when done correctly, can do wonders for your recruitment process. The tip is to align the job description for that role with your company’s overall goal.

Doing this enables you to find the correct person for the job better, making the recruitment process faster and more efficient.

In addition, job descriptions can attract skilled people aligned with what you need.

If you need someone good at software engineering, you wouldn’t want to put in the job description skills relating to Talent Acquisition because you will have applications with non-related skills and will cost your recruitment team wasted hours filtering and doing dozens of interviews for people that you don’t need.

It helps in job evaluations

The recruitment process doesn’t end with hiring. When the company hires the employee, usually, they have to undergo probation. Job descriptions help your managers determine their vital KPIs for job evaluations.

These job descriptions are the basis of the performance of the hired employee and will be beneficial for seamless performance management.

It helps mitigate employees and employers against legal risk

Well-crafted job descriptions help mitigate employees and employers against legal risk through ensuring that both EE and ER are aligned as to the expectations of the job, from usual tasks, duties, and responsibilities, as well as metrics for regularization.

Suppose an employee is deemed to have been reasonably informed as to the expectations of the job during the probationary employment. In that case, the employee may be legally dismissed from employment through non-regularization.

It is best practice to have the job description mutually signed and acknowledged at the start of, or reasonably close to, the commencement of employment.

Aaron Masterson

Aaron Masterson

Founder, Local Furniture Outlet

To find the ideal candidate for the vacant position

The first and most important reason for providing a job description is finding the right candidate for the vacant position during the hiring process.

Tools become useless without the right manpower to facilitate business processes and operations. The right candidate in a given position optimizes business operations and helps businesses grow sales and revenues.

If each position within an organization has the right employee, the business’s general performance will increase exponentially.

Without a job description, people from different backgrounds with access to your job listing will apply, making the process of getting the perfect candidate an enormous task that will unnecessarily waste precious time and resources.

It will inform candidates intending to apply for the responsibilities required to handle

Respective positions within a company have unique tasks and responsibilities that employees who fill them are expected to fulfill. It is in a company’s best interest to hire a candidate that ticks all the right boxes.

As a result, creating a well-written job description will inform candidates intending to apply for the responsibilities required to handle.

This ensures that only the few who have the required skills to execute these roles apply out of hundreds or a thousand others. The easier sorting or filtering helps cut downtime and resources spent during the hiring process.

A job description helps candidates create resumes

A job description helps candidates create resumes based on skills that match what your company is looking for since it is unlikely to have resumes that fit any position.

The position requirements determine what skills or work experience candidates need to highlight in their resumes. Without a job description, candidates will most likely submit a general resume that contains all their skills and experience in all roles they have filled in the past.

Related: How Far Back Should a Resume Go

For example, suppose your job description indicates an open position for a Digital Marketer. In that case, candidates can easily modify their resume to only include skills and experience in relation to a digital marketer.

Since there are no other irrelevant details on a candidate’s resume, the hiring process will be faster.

The job description helps candidates in their preparation for the interview

Providing a job description helps candidates in their preparation for the interview. Through a job description, candidates can determine what to expect in terms of questions.

It also helps candidates draft questions about their roles and responsibilities when they get the job. The job description allows candidates to narrow their interview preparation efforts to a specific position.

Improves your company’s credibility from a candidate’s perspective

Creating a well-written job description improves your company’s credibility from a candidate’s perspective. It indicates the seriousness and the professionalism of your company.

Without one, it creates a feeling of a laid-back demeanor that can discourage candidates. Providing great detail of the position you want candidates to apply for is professional and required to attract like-minded candidates.

A job description can serve as a guide for candidates

A job description can serve as a guide for candidates when they finally land the job. It helps them know if they are performing within the standards provided in the job description or less.

It also serves as the yardstick that the management of your company can use to measure employee performance and act accordingly.

It completes a role differentiation

Each role within an organization has specific functions that employees who fill them must perform. It clarifies tasks an employee needs to execute and the ones they are not required to.

Confusion will most likely arise when there is no definitive indication of what role each employee needs to perform in a company.

A job description completes a role differentiation that ensures every employee knows tasks they are expected to execute and functions that are beyond their jurisdiction.

As a result, the company’s seamless operation and efficiency are negatively affected. It is an important document that any employee can refer to when any form of confusion arises.

Lyle D. Solomon

Lyle Solomon

Attorney, Oak View Law Group

Job descriptions are pretty crucial for an organization. Without an accurate job description, your company may face certain risks.

A clear understanding of responsibilities for a specific position

Not just for applicants, but also the management gets a clear picture of the desired role if the responsibilities are clearly defined. The management can also determine the actions to achieve the organization’s goals.

Consistent understanding across all departments of an organization

A job description helps all people across the organization to understand the roles and responsibilities clearly. It enables the organization to grow.

Training support of employees

Written documentation of job responsibilities helps the management understand whether or not an employee needs the training to perform the role efficiently.

Measurement of the success of new employees

Based on the job descriptions, the management can measure how far the employees, especially the new employees, have met expectations.

A better understanding of personal goals and responsibilities of employees

The employees can also understand what the organization expects from each employee, and they can define their personal goals after getting a job.

During recruitment, a candidate can go through the job description and decide whether or not they fit into the role. Having the most suitable person for a job can help an organization grow.

Preparation of resume for the particular job role

One single resume can’t fit all sorts of jobs. Usually, a candidate prepares a resume based on the job role mentioned. It helps a candidate highlight the work experience or certifications that fit the job role.

It gives an idea about the job

A candidate has to prepare for an interview. A job description helps a candidate prepare the answers to the probable questions.

Justification of an employee’s pay

By giving the job description and mentioning the duties and requirements, the organization can justify why an employee is paid in a certain way.

Legal protection of the company

If required, a clear job description can defend why a candidate is selected for a particular role and why another person isn’t. It also depicts why a specific job is exempt or non-exempt under the FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act).

Fletcher Wimbush

Fletcher Wimbush

Founder and CEO, The Hire Talent

Job descriptions are used to describe all the details of a job

Job descriptions are certainly an essential part of the recruitment process. Most job descriptions in their current form don’t have much value. They’re all about “us” and not enough about “you.” They’re long on requirements and short on reasons.

Why is this position an important role for the company, and why is it a good opportunity for a top candidate?

If your job description reads like a list of demands, do yourself a favor and toss it out immediately. Do an in-depth job analysis of the role you’re hiring for to help you better understand the position.

Then, create a SMART job description, which is this:

  • Specific

Define the purpose of the job, make it absolutely clear. It should function as a mini-mission statement that guides all actions and decisions the employee takes daily.

  • Measurable

What are the Key Performance Indicators that will be used to measure someone’s success in the role?

  • Activities

Describe those activities and the desired results. How do they lead to producing measurable results? What will the employee be doing often?

  • Realistic

Make sure the overall goals of the position are realistic. Describe how the good performers go about achieving the outcomes they are producing.

  • Time-Bound

Create time-bound goals. You might use longer timelines for larger company goals, like 30, 60, and 365 days. For more specific activities, the time frame could be hourly, weekly or monthly.

Create a job advertisement instead of a job description

Now that you’ve created a new and improved SMART job description, you’re on your way to creating something that’s even more important in your recruiting process than a job description, and that is a job advertisement.

A job advertisement describes your company culture

A job advertisement tells a story. It describes your company culture. It gives your ideal candidate something to get excited about.

It talks about the candidate’s opportunity to grow their career and stretch their skills. And it paints a clear picture of a day in the life of someone in this job and how it impacts the company.

A job advertisement can be used to inspire a candidate to take action

Job descriptions are used to describe all the details of a job. A job advertisement can be used to inspire a candidate to take action. That’s what you want your top candidates to do. Take action and move forward in the hiring process.

Kathleen Steffey

Kathleen Steffey

CEO, Naviga Recruiting & Executive Search

It portrays the type of person that will thrive in your company environment

A job description is a relevant component of the recruiting process. A job description should be crafted to portray the type of person that will thrive in your company environment and include the criteria that interviewers will use to assess candidates.

Not only should we use job descriptions for the potential candidates, but also the hiring staff!

It acts as a subliminal filter for candidates

The job description helps with candidate pipeline control by acting as a subliminal filter for candidates to opt-out of a position. When candidates are looking through the job’s requirements and responsibilities, they are assessing the role.

If they have experience in line with the requirements and responsibilities of the position, the position will be of interest to them.

It can weed out candidates who have unnecessary experience or tasks

On the other hand, the job description can weed out candidates who are not up to par with the experience needed or the tasks required, so they will usually eliminate themselves from moving forward with the hiring process.

It is used as a marketing tool for the candidates during the recruiting process

The job description is also used as a marketing tool for the candidates during the recruiting process. This is where a company can share the different perks of the business, company culture, and the sexy selling points that the industry offers.

A company’s internal hiring staff should also be familiar with the job description to identify the ideal candidate. The hiring staff will have a greater understanding of the role’s particular activities and other high-level details that the candidate should execute.

It can help discern the key elements of the role as criteria

Referring to the job description during the sourcing and interviewing stages of the recruiting process can help discern the key elements of the role as criteria.

Hiring the wrong candidate is extremely costly.

Using job descriptions during the recruiting process helps eliminate hiring mistakes by ensuring the internal hiring staff is knowledgeable on the position and the critical selection criteria and attracting top talent, and weeding out the underqualified candidates.

Joe Caccavale

Joe Caccavale

Content Lead, Applied

Job descriptions allow you to specify your required skills

Job descriptions are crucial for skill-based recruiting. They ensure that employers are upfront about what the job will entail and what skills are necessary for the ideal candidate to flourish in the advertised role.

We recommend breaking skills into core requirements and desirable but not essential.” This opens up the talent pool to those who have the basic skills and attributes but would thrive with additional coaching and training.

Job descriptions help you refine your employer value proposition

A job description shouldn’t just sell a role. It should showcase what makes your company a great place to work.

Job descriptions should offer a glimpse into what an average day at your company looks like and what you can provide that your competitors can’t.

Therefore, job descriptions allow leaders and directors to hone their employer value proposition to appeal to the most skilled, experienced, and talented candidates.

They provide clarity for better candidate communication

Managing expectations is key to a positive candidate experience. Candidates don’t want to find out that the realities of the advertised role are different from what they envisioned when they’ve already dedicated time and effort to the recruitment process.

Therefore, job descriptions can be a very useful reference point for candidates if they have questions or concerns about the advertised role. That’s why there mustn’t be room for ambiguity on what the advertised role entails.

Job descriptions are an essential part of diversity and inclusion

Companies can often overlook job descriptions when reviewing their diversity hiring strategy. Job descriptions, in essence, are a statement about what types of people companies want working for them.

Therefore, if managers are concerned about a lack of diversity in their talent pool, they should ask themselves:

  • “Am I relying too much on educational background in my job requirements?”
  • “Could the required years of experience be biased against candidates of a certain age?”

Furthermore, research has shown that the use of male-coded language in job descriptions (e.g., “dominant” or “competitive”) could be a detriment to the number of female applicants.

Kirk Hazlett, APR, Fellow PRSA

Kirk Hazlett

Adjunct Professor of Communication, University of Tampa

It ensures that the applications received are relevant

First and foremost, a carefully worded job description is a time-saver for the hiring manager and the job seeker. For the hiring manager, it ensures that (for the most part) the applications received are relevant.

The development of the description should be led by the hiring manager who (theoretically) knows what skills and experience will best fulfill their needs.

When done correctly, reviewing resumes is time-consuming, better to spend that time evaluating applications that make sense and meet at least the basic requirements of the position.

Human resources input is also helpful in ensuring that any legally required wording is incorporated.

The same holds for the would-be applicant. However, it might not seem like it for those who are not in the job-search “game,” there often can be multiple seemingly “perfect” job openings.

During a job search years ago, I submitted more than 300 resumes in an application for various positions. Not only did I spend countless hours preparing cover letters and job-specific resumes.

Related: What Is the Difference Between a Resume and Cover Letter?

There also was the follow-up time checking the status of searches and my chances of being called in for an interview. I quickly learned the value of well-worded job descriptions and my responses to them!

So the hiring manager and future employee are both prepared for the interview

Both recruiting and applying can and should be full-time jobs. Better to maximize the time spent on either side. Clearly-stated performance expectations and job experience on one side; equally clear statement of qualifications for the position on the other.

Then, when the hiring manager and prospective employee meet for the interview, both are prepared to discuss realities, capabilities, and expectations.

The ideal outcome, of course, is that the newly-hired employee will be able to walk into the job and become productive in minimal time. In short, it’s a win-win for both the hirer and the hiree.

Ann Walton

Ann Walton

Vice President of People and Operations, Voices

Candidates gaining a clear understanding of the responsibilities of the role

While candidates will always be interested in gaining a clear understanding of the responsibilities and requirements of the role they are interested in exploring, the value of the job description in its current format often isn’t meeting their needs.

Candidate value proposition

In this highly competitive talent acquisition market, we need to enhance our Candidate Value Proposition (CVP). We believe that candidates want more insight and transparency into the total role, extending beyond the job posting and job description.

In response, we’re constructing a more robust candidate role overview that consists of the following:

  • Company overview including transparent and relevant examples of our successes and opportunities. This may include our current eSAT or NPS scores.
  • An overview of our values and culture as described by our colleagues.
  • People Leader profile – who this role reports to and an overview of their leadership style and LinkedIn profile.
  • Team profile – which may include the team composition, the experience of the team, and the Linkedin profiles of any team colleagues who wish to share.
  • An overview of the role will include the key responsibilities but may also have some of the position’s current key objectives and initiatives.
  • An overview of our performance support and rewards model.
  • An overview of the typical career pathing for the role.
  • More information about additional offerings such as our Hybrid work offering, social, community, training, development, etc.

Recruiting objective

Our objective is to provide candidates with a transparent view of Voices and the role beyond the job posting and job description.

Our hope is that the candidate will gain a better sense of “fit” to make an informed decision about their interest and candidacy for the role.

The best candidates are those who not only understand our organization, our Vision, Mission, Core Values, and workplace culture but who also align with us in those areas.

This leads to happier, more engaged colleagues, which is our ultimate goal.

Sarah Doughty

Sarah Doughty

Vice President of Talent Operations, TalentLab

Job descriptions will produce a better quality hire

Job descriptions are critical to the recruitment process both for the candidates and the hiring teams. One of the biggest mistakes I see hiring managers make is not taking the time to think through what they need in the right candidate.

Creating a job description is just as much about getting the hiring manager to organize their needs as the candidate experience.

Even in situations with a replacement role because someone has left, often hiring teams fail to truly understand what the previous incumbent did day-to-day and end up with a sub-par replacement.

Doing the work of writing out the description and requirements will always produce a better quality hire.

It helps validate if applying and investing the energy into the interview process is worthwhile

For candidates, the job description is equally important. It helps validate if applying and investing the energy into the interview process is worthwhile.

Candidates should use job descriptions to infer the culture, corporate priorities, and employee benefits of a potential employer.

If a company suggests their perks are foosball, a beer fridge, and high compensation packages, candidates should be able to assume quite a bit about what types of people work there and the culture.

On the other hand, if the job description lists free continued education, diverse work events, and work/life balance in the job description, it’s equally suggesting candidates will find a culture reflective of those choices.

Job descriptions act as an infosheet that helps increase the chances that a good candidate/employer match will be made.

Lauren Stempel

Lauren Stempel

Vice President of Recruiting – West, Betts

They provide an outline for candidates to understand what is needed in the role

Job descriptions are essential in the recruiting process because they help attract the right employees and provide an outline for candidates to understand what exactly is needed in the role.

When writing a job description, hiring managers and recruiting experts should avoid being vague and using filler words.

Instead, the company should outline all aspects of the job description, including:

  • The company’s mission statement
  • Role title and responsibilities, including the possible outline of day-to-day tasks and projects
  • Required work experience and specific technical qualifications
  • Specific location and education requirements
  • Skills and abilities, including relevant skill certifications or experience, language requirements, etc.

They help guide the candidate to find the best position

Including all these aspects within the job description is important because they help guide the candidate to find the best position and prepare them for the interview process.

Additionally, a well-thought-out job description helps align the interviewees and company on the immediate needs of filling the open position.

Jennifer Hartman

Jennifer Hartman

Staff Writer | HR Specialist, Fit Small Business

It clarifies the job role

A job description serves multiple purposes — it clarifies the job role, outlines required education, experience, and skills, and touches on company culture.

Once created, a job description can be published on a job board to attract top talent and used as an internal employment document to clarify job duties and performance expectations for current employees.

For the job seeker, a job description lays out the expectations of the role, allowing them to determine if the position is proper for them. Knowing what is expected can mean the difference between qualified and non-qualified candidates ahead of time.

Your job description should include the following:

  • Position overview: your position overview is a snapshot of the job and should include:
    • Job title
    • Job status: whether the position is full-time or part-time and if it is exempt or non-exempt
    • Location: if your position is in-office, include the city/state or remote
    • Compensation range: while some employers do not provide compensation, it is a good idea to give job seekers a range of compensation
    • Start date: providing a potential start date will help job seekers know the timeframe of the position
  • Job requirements: be as detailed and specific as possible on what the job entails. Include the primary day-to-day job responsibilities at a minimum. Additionally, include any skills required to perform the job successfully.
  • Company benefits: part of any good job description details the company culture and benefits provided. This section can be minimal and list out benefits, such as healthcare, dental, 401k, PTO, etc.
    Or you can dive deeper here and describe your company culture as well as each benefit and whether or not your company provides stipends for any of these benefits.
  • How to apply: A significant ending to your job description is to direct job seekers on applying for your open position. This may be by application (provide a link) or by email (it is recommended that you use a specific company email dedicated solely to jobs).

Ahren A. Tiller, Esq.

Ahren Tiller

Founder and Supervising Attorney, Bankruptcy Law Center

It onboards talented employees who can contribute to the organization’s success

As an attorney who manages a firm, I can say that recruitment is one of the important processes an organization should focus on.

When done right, it onboards talented employees who can contribute to the organization’s success. Otherwise, it compromises the quality of new hires you bring in.

It can impact the workplace more than we expect

A good job description can impact the workplace more than we expect. In our law center, our recruitment manager has done an excellent job updating the job description for a specific role that was put on hold due to the pandemic.

The simple update has allowed the team to communicate the specific qualifications we look for, helping applicants assess if they are eligible for the position and attracting the right set of candidates.

It saves time and makes the recruitment process more efficient

A well-written job description doesn’t only attract the right set of candidates, but it also saves time and makes the recruitment process more efficient.

A thorough job description is also a tool that helps determine the training needs of a new hire and measure performance during evaluation.

Jim Sullivan

Jim Sullivan

HR Professional | Founder and CEO, JCSI

It helps to identify the candidate’s skills and requirements

A job description is your “holy grail” when it comes to finding the right candidate for the job you have posted. It helps to identify the candidate’s skills and requirements and helps narrow down the right person for the job.

The job description is usually seen on a job application form to give possible candidates a more detailed rundown of the duties and skills required to perform the job adequately.

It is then usually brought up again during an interview to allow the employer to ask specific questions that pertain to the candidate and the job requirements.

It can help the candidate make more informed responses to interview questions

Knowing the job description beforehand can help the candidate make more informed responses to interview questions and make the job search easier for the employer.

It is essential for an employer to always keep the job description up-to-date in the application and interview process and make any necessary changes as time progresses.

It is also imperative that both the employer and future employee understand the role they must play if they get the job and that the job description is expected of them. It makes the recruiting process much easier, and it helps to find you the best person for the job!

Chara Yadav

Chara Yadav

Press and HR Director | Co-founder, Ask Any Difference

Job description allows you to match the ideal candidate to the position you’re hiring for

Creating and using the perfect job description to recruit a new employee allows you to match the ideal candidate to the position you’re hiring for.

The more detailed the description of the position is, the more boxes a candidate has to tick, and the more boxes that they beat, the more likely they are to be a suitable fit for, and thus more able to do, the job and fulfill the duties of the role.

Recruiters will get the right person to apply for the position

The more detail a recruiter uses to describe a job and duties that are part and parcel of it, the more chance they’ll actually get the right person, or people, to apply for the position.

And from a recruitment and HR perspective, the more potential candidates you have to choose from, the better the chances of filling the role with the perfect candidate are. Detail is everything.

The additional details can also make the difference between a candidate becoming a long-term employee who will ultimately become an asset that the company relies on and comes to trust and someone who temporarily fills a vacancy.

That’s why it’s so important to get the job description right the first time, as you don’t want to repeat the process over and over again until you do find the right candidate.

Don’t rush; take a moment or two to consider everything that the candidates will have to do, need to know, and what experience they’ll need, and you, the person doing the recruiting, will find the ideal person to fill the role.

If a job is worth doing, it’s worth doing well, so make sure that you find the person who can do it better than anyone else by including all the details that will encourage them to apply for the position.

Gemma Sofield

Gemma Sofield

Head of Four HR, Four Recruitment

To attract the best fit

Recruiting requires an investment of both time and money, so of course, you want to make sure you find the right individual for your role. Putting together a comprehensive job description allows you to identify and communicate the expectations of the position.

You should use this opportunity to focus on the exact skills and personality you require to attract suitable candidates and save valuable time by limiting the number of applications.

It is a window into your company for potential employees

Job descriptions are essential when recruiting but don’t forget they’re not just beneficial to the candidate. A job description is a window into your company and should be viewed as a time to sell your business to potential employees.

We always suggest including a section about your business and sharing information about your culture, the benefits, the perks, and ultimately why someone would want to work for you.

It will allow you to measure the performance of the candidate

Once you’ve found the right candidate for your business, the job description will allow you to measure performance and understand their progression.

When it comes to the probationary review or pay rises, it’s essential to have a detailed job description to compare against.

Magdalena Wojdat

Magdalena Wojdat

HR Business Partner, Spacelift

Job descriptions allow you to make informed hiring decisions

Job descriptions allow you to make informed hiring decisions. Most importantly, before a candidate applies for a job, a clear job description motivates them to do so. It also sets the expectations right for the candidate.

Key benefits other than providing an understanding of what duties and responsibilities for a particular job include protection after terminations or laying the foundation for performance management.

Should you hire a candidate who does not perform as expected, a good job description can prove their poor performance. If your expectations are clearly outlined right from the beginning, you can quickly pinpoint where an employee’s performance doesn’t meet the standards.

Job descriptions are a great way to track employees’ performance

Job descriptions are helpful not only for justifying employees’ exemption from the company, but it’s a great way to track their performance.

With responsibilities laid out, it’s much easier to measure the success of new employees and ensure that specific targets are being met.

Kareem Rogers

Kareem Rogers

Resume Writer | Founder, HR Depot, LLC

The job description tells you what hiring managers are specifically are looking for

Job descriptions are essentially cheating codes for job seekers. The job description tells you what hiring managers are specifically are looking for in their ideal candidates, and it tells you how to stand out in your resume and job interviews.

The problem, however, is those job seekers send the same general resume to every job they apply to without tailoring their resume. This decreases the possibility of them getting job interviews, leaving them frustrated.

The job description is your friend more than you realize

I always tell my clients to pay attention to the job description because it’s your friend more than you realize.

This also benefits recruiters because when we are proactively sourcing for candidates, we know what to look for.

This partially explains why it’s essential to optimize your LinkedIn page because we use platforms like LinkedIn Recruiter to filter candidates based on job titles, skills, experience, etc.

Related: LinkedIn Headline Advice & Examples for Job Seekers

Overall, job descriptions are your best friend.

Maciek Kubiak

Maciek Kubiak

Head of People, PhotoAiD

Great job descriptions can bridge the gap between interest and excitement

Some job descriptions are boring. They do not correspond to what one is searching for.

Others are interesting. In such cases, we might have the skills and experience needed and/or are interested in working in a given industry.

Then you have those which make us excited. These are the whole package. They fit our professional experience and ambition and our ideal image of the benefits we want and the company culture.

This is why a detailed job description that can emphasize the exciting aspects of working for the organization is crucial in attracting talent.

Job seekers are looking for competitive salaries and benefits and a broader company culture with which they identify.

And that begins right there in the job description, which increasingly has to look “cool” rather than just “professional” if they are to attract the eyes of the most exciting talent out there.

Dana Case

Dana Case

Director of Operations, MyCorporation

To make sure recruiters hire the right talent to their organization

Job descriptions are incredibly important in the recruiting process. You want to make sure you recruit the right talent to your organization. Use a job description to outline the daily duties and responsibilities in the role.

Specify if you need applicants to have a particular type of certification or years of experience specific to that field.

You can even use a job description to note what other preferred qualifications you’d like to see in talent that applies and any other application requirements, such as submitting a portfolio of work for consideration.

Monika Dmochowska

Monika Dmochowska

Talent Acquisition Specialist, Tidio

It should give a candidate an accurate preview of what’s waiting for them

I believe that job interviews are like dating, just more formal. Hitting on a job ad can be accidental or preceded by a long search; it’s just like a dating partner; you can find one by casually scrolling the internet (like swiping on Tinder) or while walking through the park.

It’s pretty much the same with job ads you post. You never know when it will “hit a perfect match.” So making the first impression with a job ad description is key to successful searches.

A job description, just like a Tinder bio, should give a candidate an accurate preview of what’s waiting for them—the more transparent the approach, the better the relationship between the candidate and the company.

James Parkinson

James Parkinson

Head of Marketing Content, Personnel Checks

You will attract the right people for the role

The job description is one of the essential parts of the recruiting process. If you get the job description right, you will attract the right people for the role.

It’s far better to issue a detailed job description than to be vague and end up with applications from entirely the wrong type of people. By having an accurate job description, the recruitment process can be more streamlined and efficient.

If there are particular experience or qualification requirements that you really would like that employee to have, then don’t just put “desired” — include it as a compulsory requirement — there isn’t any point wasting anyone’s time by interviewing the people without the right skills.

From the point of view of someone applying for vacancies, it can be discouraging to apply for roles based on the basic information given, only to discover later that the position is not what you were expecting from the description.

It is a chance for the employer to appeal to potential applicants

The description is also a chance for the employer to appeal to potential applicants — the tone of voice, detail, and added information could make the difference as to whether that top candidate will apply.

Consider what appealing factors your business holds, whether flexibility, workplace arrangement and facilities, incentives, company community efforts, and of course, incentives.

If applicable, talk about the potential for growth within the role – you are selling this position as much as trying to get the best person for the job.

Christopher Liew, CFA

Christopher Liew

Creator, Wealth Awesome

Approximately 78% of job seekers lie during the hiring process, surprisingly. However, 75% of employers can spot lies in resumes instantly.

This is why job descriptions should be communicated to applicants during the recruiting process efficiently and effectively.

It can help the hiring manager find the best applicant to fill the position quickly

Job descriptions will help you immediately filter out qualified applicants for a specific position. If you haven’t noticed, a job opening can consistently attract as many as 250 resumes.

This is why you need to reduce the number of applicants who will be interviewed by the hiring manager consequently.

It can help you formulate the right questions you need to ask during the interview

Job descriptions can help you formulate interview questions efficiently and effectively. It will also help you assess whether or not the applicant is competent enough to assume a specific role within the company.

On top of that, it will help you determine whether the applicant’s personality is fit for the position in the company. It will also help you determine whether the person is willing to work with a team or prefers to work alone in the company.

The future performance of the employee can be evaluated quickly

Performance Indicators (KPIs) can be created quickly if you have drafted clear job descriptions for people working in the company.

Job descriptions should also include the specific duties and responsibilities of the person holding such a role within the company. In this way, performance evaluations can be done easily.

Nabila Salem

Nabila Salem

President, Revolent Group

It is the one opportunity you have to sell your organization

A strong job description is vital because this is the one opportunity you have to sell your organization. Perhaps one of the most important details right now is trying to cut it down to the bare bones rather than over-elaborating.

While an ideal world might see a candidate possess an unlimited range of skills, what does a person need to succeed in the specific role you’re hiring for, and what is desirable but not essential?

Asking for too much could get you the wrong applicants and put you at risk of missing out on many exceptional candidates.

It can affect the diversity of applicants that apply

Not only that, it can affect the diversity of applicants that apply. It’s statistically proven that men are more likely to apply for a role that they may be underqualified for compared to women.

It goes without saying that asking for skills or experience above and beyond what you need will affect the makeup of those who are applying and your hiring pool.

The temptation to simply dust off the job spec from the last time you hired for that role and upload it onto job boards may be great, but having a conversation with your team to check if the description matches the role is simple.

This will result in a bigger, better, and more diverse range of applicants, making a good job description an essential part of the recruitment process.

Thad Price

Thad Price

CEO, Talroo

Job descriptions are the first impression you make with a job seeker

Job descriptions are often the first impression you make with a job seeker, making them a crucial part of the recruiting process. A strong one will convey what you expect from hire and what you can provide for one.

The goal is to balance explaining the role requirements with selling your position while keeping it concise, so you don’t lose applicants in the process.

Descriptions are also essential avenue recruiters have for tapping into human emotion, so consider opening with a paragraph about soft skills to draw candidates in.

Additionally, the stricter you are with your requirements, the more you’ll deter underqualified candidates, whereas loosening them can encourage more people to apply.

Finally, a recent survey showed that salary information is critical to job seekers, with 80% being more likely to apply when it’s present, so include it if you can.

David Thomas

David Thomas

Co-Founder and Chief Operative, LaunchPad

Job descriptions provide a clear and concise overview of the position

Job descriptions are vital in the recruiting process because they provide a clear and concise overview of the position that is being advertised. They can help ensure that candidates are a good fit for the role and help screen out unqualified candidates.

Additionally, job descriptions can create a job posting that accurately reflects the position and its requirements.

Job descriptions allow the company to create a set of standards

Job descriptions also allow the company to create a set of standards that candidates must meet to be considered for the position.

This is important because these standards can ensure that all candidates are vetted and qualified before moving forward in the hiring process.

Job descriptions help to narrow down the pool of applicants

Job descriptions help to narrow down the pool of applicants. They should be as detailed as possible, which will allow human resources professionals and recruiters to determine whether or not a candidate is a good fit for the role.

By narrowing this pool, recruiters, human resources professionals, and hiring managers can focus on strong applicants.

Benjy Katchen

Benjy Katchen

CEO, Wahi

It’s the foundation of every position

A solid job description is a benchmark for evaluating talent and writing offer letters. It’s what you can use to develop that employee’s performance review.

Talent acquisition professionals need to ensure they get the right person for the job. The last thing anyone wants is to find out they’ve hired someone ineffectual or in over their head.

Having a clear and concise list of duties, tasks, and responsibilities will help to ensure that you have the best person in place.

Conducting clear background checks

An accurate job description will help to ensure that your background check vendor conducts the most thorough and legally defensible background check possible.

Accurate job descriptions also provide that the person conducting the background check has all of the required information about your job so they can request the correct information efficiently.

Clear job descriptions help with onboarding

Finally, having a clear job description will help you onboard a new team member when it comes time. In addition to ensuring that your company’s HR policies are up-to-date, you need to have all of the job-specific information ready for your employee’s review.

This is especially important in IT positions, where details are crucial to success. When it comes to creating a job description, the more thorough you are, the better.

By providing a clear road map from an applicant’s initial resume review through to onboarding, you’ll be able to build a strong team.

Related: Building Strong Work Relationships

AJ Silberman-Moffitt

AJ Silberman-Moffitt

Senior Editor, Tandem

For applicants to know what your company is looking for

Many companies will use the same word to mean very different things in the workplace. For example, years ago I worked as Traffic Manager at an advertising agency.

This job facilitated the production of radio and television commercials and made sure that they arrived at the broadcast networks with the appropriate instructions on how to air them.

Alternatively, some advertising agencies have a Traffic Department that only handles print media. Additionally, we had clients that would count Foot Traffic.

As you can see, this word — Traffic — held a multitude of meanings. Suppose you only advertise a “Traffic” job at an advertising agency.

In that case, you might have people applying for a broadcast traffic position thinking it is a print media traffic position or vice versa. By including a job description and a job title, applicants know what your company is looking for.

Job descriptions open doors

When people apply for jobs, they don’t only look at a job’s title. They also look to see what the job entails to determine if they match their skills, qualifications, and even professional desires.

You may open the door to more applicants who might otherwise not have applied to your position by including job descriptions.

For example, don’t merely post for a “Content Editor.” You can describe the position as, “If you are extremely detail-oriented, are particular about grammar rules, and enjoy helping people to better themselves through the written word, there might be an editor lurking inside of you.”

Some people might initially be hesitant to apply for an editing position if they have never held a position with that title before. But if you let people know what the job is like within the job description, they may be more apt to apply.

Emma Dolby

Emma Dolby

Marketing Manager, Direct Air

The job description will drive your recruitment process through to success

Taking the time to write a complete job description is essential to drive your recruitment process through to success.

Listing all of the duties and responsibilities involved gives management a clear understanding of the role they are recruiting for so they can assess if it is in line with the business’s overall vision.

Based on what the role requires of a successful candidate, you can then determine the ideal skill set a candidate would need and fair compensation.

As the recruitment process is typically driven by the HR department rather than the department head, the job description is brief for the HR Professional.

Taking information from the job description, the HR Professional can quickly create accurate advertisements, shortlist candidates and conduct relevant screening interviews.

The job description allows candidates to get a feel for the role

The job description allows candidates to get a feel for the role and whether it would be a good fit for them before they apply.

Ideally, the full job description should be posted on your website or available to candidates who inquire about the job.

Being transparent is incredibly important during the recruitment process as it helps to build trust between the business and the candidates early in the relationship.

Chris M. Walker

Chris M. Walker

CEO, Superstar SEO

Here are 2 of the top reasons why job descriptions are crucial when it comes to the recruiting process:

They tell recruiters precisely what to look for

A well-written job description acts as a guide for recruiters to know what skill to look for in a candidate. It also helps recruiters set proper expectations for the applicants right off the bat.

Through this, they will be able to write a detailed job ad and attract candidates that are a great fit.

They help interviewers come up with the appropriate questions

Job descriptions make it easier for interviewers to formulate and decide what questions to ask the applicants. It will save them when preparing for the interviews.

Lastly, they will be able to shorten the interview length by asking only the relevant questions, making the process more efficient.

They act as a filter for applicants

Job Descriptions give the applicants a checklist of what they should have to qualify for a specific position, so they wouldn’t go on a wild goose chase when sending their applications.

If they don’t have the skills listed on the job description, they would know better than to waste their time applying.

Brian Burke

Brian Burke

Managing Broker | Owner, Kenna Real Estate

Identification and communication tool

A job description is a useful tool that clarifies the type of job you are offering to the respective interested candidates. This is the only tool to communicate with potential employees who are not yet engaged with your group.

This legal job description designates the quantity and quality of the job along with the company rules and other necessary information.

Lacking such clear communication will lead to a hazardous recruiting process. The better the description with the better transmission, the more chance your company will get experienced and skillful employees.

The outline of role and responsibilities

Your job description is necessary to represent the role and responsibilities the recruits have to do. No candidates will be interested in joining your group unless the function you mentioned in your job description matches with their career.

This is the outline of your company’s duties for a recruit that they are to perform after joining. Their expectations are to be insured too, with this outline.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Can a job description help with employee retention?

Absolutely! A well-written job description can positively impact employee retention in the following ways:

Setting expectations: When employees clearly understand the job duties and expectations from the beginning, they know what is expected of them, and the likelihood of dissatisfaction or frustration due to unclear expectations decreases.

Career progression: Job descriptions can serve as a reference for performance evaluations and promotion considerations and allow employees to identify their development opportunities within the company.

Alignment with company culture: A job description that conveys the company’s values and culture can attract applicants who share the same beliefs, resulting in a better cultural fit and higher employee satisfaction.

How often should job descriptions be updated?

Job descriptions should be updated regularly to remain relevant and consistent with company policies and goals.
Depending on the company’s industry, size, and goals, updates may be required every six months to every two years.

Regular revisions can help ensure that duties and tasks remain relevant to meet the changing needs of the business.

In addition, when updating job descriptions, HR professionals should review the language used to ensure it is consistent with current best practices and does not contain biased or discriminatory language.

Companies should also consider revising job descriptions when the company’s structure, job responsibilities, or industry standards change and additional competencies or skills are required.

Updating job descriptions helps ensure that both applicants and employees have a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities, which can lead to higher job satisfaction and better performance.

How do you write an effective job description?

Be specific: Be as specific as possible and convey the job duties, qualifications, and requirements in clear language.

Use simple language: Avoid jargon or industry-specific terms that not everyone is familiar with.

Focus on the essentials: List only the requirements that are essential to the position to avoid deterring candidates who may have transferable skills.

Avoid bias: Make sure the language of the job description is gender-neutral and avoid discriminatory terms or phrases.

Proofread for accuracy: Ensure you check the job description for any errors or typos before posting.

Can a poorly written job description negatively impact the hiring process?

Yes, a poorly written job description can negatively impact the hiring process in several ways, including:

Attracting unqualified applicants: If the job description is too vague or unclear, it may attract unqualified applicants who do not have the required skills or experience.

It sends mixed signals: An inconsistent job description or a description that sends mixed signals may give potential applicants the wrong impression and cause them to become disengaged or uninterested in the position.

Create confusion: A poorly written job description can create confusion among applicants and those involved in the hiring process. This can lead to miscommunication and delays.

How do you analyze a job description?

Analyzing a job description is about breaking down the information provided to understand the job, its requirements, and how it matches your skills, experience, and career goals.

Below is a step-by-step guide to help you analyze a job description:

Read the entire job description carefully: First, read the entire job description thoroughly to get an overview of the position, its duties, and requirements. Pay close attention to the job title, objective, duties and responsibilities, qualifications and skills, and any other details.

Break down the duties and responsibilities: List the major duties and responsibilities mentioned in the job description. This will give you an idea of the day-to-day tasks and help determine if the job matches your interests and skills.

Identify key qualifications and skills: Create a list of required qualifications, such as education, certifications, and experience, as well as the specific skills the employer is looking for. These may include technical, soft, or other skills relevant to the job.

Evaluate your fit: Compare the qualifications and skills listed in the job description with your own experience, education, and skills. Determine if you meet the minimum requirements and your skills match those listed in the job description.

Consider the company culture and values: Look for information about the company’s culture, values, and work environment in the job description or on the company’s website.

This will help you determine if the company aligns with your personal values and if you’d feel comfortable working there.

Evaluate the compensation and benefits: Analyze the salary range, bonuses, and any benefits offered. Consider whether the compensation meets your expectations and whether the benefits package meets your needs.

Determine your level of interest: After analyzing the job description, ask yourself if you’re truly interested in the position and if it matches your career goals.

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