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What Makes a Good Job Description Today?

Recruitment Blog

November 9, 2022

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What makes a Good Job Description

What makes a good job description Today?


Ask yourself this, how many times have you read a job description and been utterly baffled?

Using language designed to confuse or make the writer seem smarter (often than they are) is pointless.  If candidates need a dictionary to translate the actual job description you have lost them, or you will end up with CVS’s for candidates who genuinely have no idea what they are applying for and have just taken a chance sending theirs in.

Write the job description for the candidate you want

Write the job description for the candidate you want – not the team member you are trying to replace.  If “Bob or Mary” have been in the role for 20 years it stands to reason you are not likely to find someone who has every skill “Bob or Mary” brought to the role, so work out what you must have and secondly what you would like.  That way you don’t run this risk of a role being open for so long that it costs you money as unfortunately neither “Bob or Mary” have a clone.

Review your job descriptions regularly

If you have a role that has a high staff turnover whereby staff start and leave on a conveyor belt – that is down to you – not them.  Is the job description achievable in terms of one candidate’s ability? Should it be simplified in the short term to retain staff, could it actually be two roles, or just asking too much of a candidate for the salary on offer.

Publishing the salary

The hill too many companies choose as the one to make a stand on.  Candidates need to know what salary is on offer, now more than ever with an escalating cost of living crisis.  A competitive salary is very much open to interpretation. To an employer it generally means we don’t want our current staff finding out what they’re worth and watching them race to either HR or a new role in search of market rates. To a candidate too often it suggests that they will need to be very good at juggling in order to work out just what bills they can pay in order to survive at the end of each month and they don’t bother to apply for the role for fear they are wasting their time.

Skills list, particularly in a rapidly changing sector like IT, you need to make sure that the level of experience required is actually attainable.  There is no funnier meme or reddit post than one highlighting an employer asking for 10 years of experience is a piece of software or code that has only been around for 5 years.  Don’t be that employer.

Keep the job description short

In short, keep the job description short, precise and as transparent as possible, remember if your current team feel valued, they are your best resource for advertising vacancies and often have the network of connections you can only dream of.  Show that there is career progression and that the role is an exciting step on a career path, again your current staff are your best advertisement for highlighting opportunities and culture.

Prioritize the role requirements and don’t over complicate the actual description and most importantly of all – make sure the experience, qualifications and salary are on par – nothing attracts attention for all the wrong reasons than a job advertised looking for an experienced candidate with a Masters to work for minimum wage.

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Barry Prost

Barry Prost

Managing Partner

15 years’ experience recruiting senior managers for major international consultants and contractors. Barry is one of the founding directors of Propel. Prior to this, Barry worked for 10 years for Randstad, the 2nd largest recruitment organisation in the world. Managing teams across the UK and Ireland & delivering recruitment solutions to major clients. Barry is a graduate in International Business from Trinity College Dublin. He has a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from the Smurfit School of Business.

“My favourite food is anything with quinoa”

Ph: +353 87 353 7870

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