Office Design

How to Write a Good Job Description

David Spence
November 26th, 2014

A Guide for Writing a Clear and Concise Job Description

ID-100111821Monday’s blog discussed the different ways facilities managers can attract young talent to their organizations. Today’s blog will take an in-depth look at a basic component of the recruitment process: the job description. Whether you’re hoping to attract an intern or a seasoned professional, it’s important that a job description be accurate and well-written. But what should a good job description include? What should be avoided? Let’s look at some of its most important elements.

1.) Title

The position’s title should give an applicant a good idea of what the job entails. For example, the title “Vice President of Facilities Management” tells a job seeker that you’re looking for an experienced professional, not an entry- or mid-level individual.

Of course, the title is only one part of the total job equation, but it can indicate in just a few words the kind of candidate you’re looking for. Just be sure to choose a title that matches with the kind of experience you want; if you give a title that sounds higher-level than the job actually is, you could miss out on some great candidates who may think they’re not qualified.

2.) Duties

Many companies tend to go overboard with job duties and include too many. This makes it less likely that a candidate will read the entire description. While it’s a good idea to present as accurate a picture of the job as possible, lengthy job descriptions could make an applicant feel unqualified or simply overwhelmed.

Think of the main responsibilities the job will involve, and try to boil them down into no more than ten items.

RecruitLoop recommends that each item “be outcome-based, containing an action, an object and a purpose.” If you were hiring a facilities coordinator who would be researching outside service providers, for example, one such listing could be “researches potential contractors to ensure high-quality, cost-efficient service.”

3.) Skills and Qualifications

Here it’s important to think about which skills and qualifications are required, and which are good to have but not absolutely necessary. Are you looking for particular certifications? Should a candidate be experienced with HVAC, electrical systems or certain types of equipment? What computer skills do they need? Are you looking for a certain number of years in the field? While you work through these questions, it’s helpful to think about which skills can be developed over time, and which ones are must-haves.

4.) Supervisors and direct reports

Besides duties and required skills, the relationships involved can also give candidates a clearer picture of the job. Will they be working closely with a supervisor, or will they be more independent? Will they have other people reporting to them, or will they be joining a team? If they will be working with other people on a regular basis, specify which ones and how much collaboration will be involved.

5.) Company Overview

According to American Express Open Forum, the description should also include a brief overview of the company: its mission, values, culture, etc.

This is particularly helpful if you choose to list on job search sites, rather than linking to the posting on your company website. With this information, candidates can get a good feel for the organization and decide whether it’s a good personal fit for them.

For instance, someone who enjoys working with medium-sized companies may not be interested in a job at an enterprise-level business. And you may not have the time to weed out this type of candidate from the ones who really are interested, so including that information on the front end is important.

It’s also important to note that even when you follow these steps to a tee, you may still receive applications from candidates who are unqualified. But even so, taking the time to write a clear, specific job description can help attract good candidates who do have the right experience and qualifications.
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