Hiring the right person for your business or project can be challenging. However, with a well-written job description, you’re off to a great start.
Job descriptions outline the role and responsibilities of the employee and serve as a point of truth for both the employee and their manager on how they are performing. With expectations clearly set, it creates an opportunity for the employee to thrive in their position.
In this article
- Job Description Templates by Industry
- Anatomy of a Job Description:
- About The Company, the Role:
- Reporting Structure:
- Required Skills:
- Equal Opportunity:
- Call To Action:
- Putting It All In The Job Description:
Writing a job description for the first time can be challenging, especially if you don’t know where to start. Even if you’ve written a job description before, each new role presents a new challenge of what to include, what terms or industry jargon to use to attract the right candidate and what terms will make you sound dated or out of touch with current trends.
Having hired more than 500 full-time employees over the years for roles varying from audio producer, video producer to content marketer and other marketing roles, we’ve got a good handle on how to write a job description.
On average these job postings attract 100 candidates per role when combining all the applicants across the most popular job sites and job boards.
In addition to hiring full-time employees, we review tens of thousands of jobs looking for freelancers on Voices.com each year. On average, well-written job postings receive 50-60 responses, however if the job specs (short for job specifications, which is another way of saying the job description) are broad, then more candidates typically apply, sometimes reaching 100 candidates per role.
Needless to say, we’ve accumulated a lifetime of experience writing and reviewing job postings, job descriptions and all the while, learning what attracts the best responses.
With this knowledge, we thought we could provide a valuable service to those who are posting a job for the first time, irrespective of if you’re looking for a freelancer or a full-time employee.
Job Description Templates by Industry
We’ve applied the insights from our experience to create well-crafted job descriptions and formatted them as either a fill-in-the-blank template or a job for a fictitious company.
Anatomy of a Job Description:
You’ll see many similarities across each job description, even though they are for entirely different jobs and in different industries.
Candidates evaluating a career opportunity appreciate consistency when looking at dozens if not hundreds of jobs and deciding on which ones to apply to.
And for those freelancers who are always replying to jobs looking for their next gig, again, consistently presented information helps the freelancer determine if they are a good fit for the role. In short, the structure that has become commonplace makes for a more efficient matching process.
About The Company, the Role:
The opening paragraph of a job posting often begins with a declaration of who the company is and their criteria around who they are looking for. Company’s can mention their location, or nowadays their hybrid work environment, recent awards or other noteworthy achievements in the opening sentence or two. The description of who the company is looking for is equally high level during the introduction such as looking for an “enthusiastic and ambitious individual” or a “talented, performance-oriented person” or even a “diligent and thoughtful engineer.” The purpose here is to capture the candidates’ imagination almost to the point of having them mentally agree, “yes, that’s me!”
The next paragraph describes who the role will report to and the relationship between the employee and their manager. Sometimes, it’s noted who the manager’s manager is, such as the partner in the firm or the CEO of the company. The nature of the reporting relationship is sometimes referred to as being a “solid line” meaning a direct and formal relationship whereas a “dotted line” means the relationship is informal and the employee reports to other individuals infrequently by providing status updates or collaborating on projects from time to time.
The list of responsibilities is typically a bulleted list that covers what the role will look like on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. The list of responsibilities allows the candidate to scan the job description, determine their interest, fit and pre-qualify themselves. We’ve found it best to begin each bullet with a verb, keeping the points action-oriented.
Create another list of bullets that specifies experience with software or other tools of the trade. By itemizing the software your company uses, you’re communicating that you’re an innovative and cutting edge organization that uses the latest technology. Candidates can also opt-out if they aren’t familiar with the software you use, saving you countless hours of training someone from scratch.
Beyond software, other skills may include soft skills such as being a good listener or clear verbal communicator. Having a discerning eye or having golden ears for visual or audio related roles may also come up on the requirements list.
As a rule of thumb, it’s best to keep this list short to actual requirements rather than a list of fluffy soft requirements that every job needs.
Once a popular prerequisite, asking for a diploma from a certain program screens out candidates who simply haven’t reached this academic achievement. Many organizations are moving away from this, most notably Google, who once only hired from Ivy-league schools, and now accepts candidates from all walks of life.
In a similar way, companies may ask for so many years of experience on the job. The purpose here is two-fold; first for the company to state that they are looking for more senior people and not a recent graduate as well as second, the candidate to immediately know if they qualify for the position and therefore, that it’s worth their time to apply.
It’s reasonable for a company to ask for 2-3 years of experience which signals that new graduates aren’t a good fit but asking for 10 years experience is likely to only reduce the pool of potential candidates. Is 10 years experience really necessary? What about 8 years of experience? How about 5? You see how arbitrary numbers for the years of experience is and how likely you are to lose good candidates in the process.
And, in a tight labor market, employers are smart to open up the pool of candidates to as many people as possible. You never know, the best candidate might be an up-and-comer who is ambitious and passionate about the role and your company.
Speaking of welcoming as many candidates as possible, employers express that they are an equal opportunity employer. That means that they do not discriminate against race, religion, political views or other factors. Further, companies make a point of stating their commitment to accessibility should the candidate require assistance completing their application or assistance on the job. In many countries or states these topics are law, however it’s more commonsense for a company to communicate their culture in this way.
Call To Action:
Placed at the top and certainly at the bottom of the job description is the call to action, a link to where the candidate can apply. On some websites, the application form is embedded directly below the job posting while others serve merely as a website for the business to advertise the opening and then link to a web-based application form. Either way, remember this important step or else all the great work you did writing the job description won’t bring you any candidates. You need somewhere for the candidates to apply.
Putting It All In The Job Description:
While we never want an employee to say “well, that’s not in my job description,” it could come up from time to time. To avoid that situation, but more importantly, provide clarity for the new employee, writing a job description specific for their role can make all the difference.
Being specific with the role and their daily responsibilities sets boundaries as to what the employee should be working on, what the highest priority should be and how their performance is to be measured. It’s equally important to outline what’s not in their daily responsibilities. By explicitly stating what is out of scope for their role, it alleviates any confusion or anxiety that a new employee may feel.