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Writing Effective Job Descriptions 101

Writing effective job descriptions may seem simple, but it is actually a craft in and of itself. Crafting an effective job description takes time to develop a balance between witty and factual, persuasive and genuine.

Here are the components and tips for writing each section of an effective job description.

Overview of Company

This should be a short, concise paragraph offering a high-level overview of the company. It might include the company’s mission, what the company does, any company statistics to highlight its success, and any awards or other recognition it has achieved. A great way to experiment the effectiveness is to provide the description to someone less familiar with the company and have that individual explain it. If they miss integral information, try revamping it.

Role Responsibilities

In one paragraph, explain the basic role responsibilities, including a true and enticing job title, primary role of the position within the organization, functions of the role, and the supervisor and team for which the role belongs.

The next paragraph should delve into an overview of the day-to-day functions, such as key tasks and projects, working environment and culture, and other relevant role responsibilities. Try to avoid passive voice and focus on actions (i.e., “developing,” “creating,” “managing”).

Outlining the Ideal Candidate

Describe the ideal candidate in a couple of short paragraphs or utilize bulleted lists, which should decipher between required and desired. Some of those items may include:

  • Skills and qualifications
  • Work experience
  • Background information (i.e., academic, certifications)
  • Nice to haves


Compensation has been frequently debated on accepted practices. The general consensus seems to recommend listing an accurate range for compensation noting experience and [competencies] will determine where in the range a candidate will fall.

Quick Fact Check: 50% of applicants report a lack of information about pay and benefits. 50% of applicants report interview schedule changes as two key factors that contribute to job search stress.

Other items to consider in this section might be available benefits, including career development opportunities, and other unique perks (i.e., a coffee bar, game room, company discounts, etc.).

Application Instructions

One of the most important components to effective job descriptions is including application instructions. These instructions should clearly describe:

  • How to apply. Provide detailed instructions on what the application process will entail, such as necessary documentation (i.e., resume, cover letter, work samples, competency tests, etc.). 60% of applicants abandon an application due to the length of the process.[1]
  • Expectation for application process. Make sure you are as precise as possible. 83% of applicants believe a clear timeline of the hiring process would improve the overall application process.[2]
  • A point of contact. Be sure to offer a point of contact for inquiries. An applicant tracking system can help manage these inquiries and overall recruiting process. However, with 47% of companies’ HR software exceed seven years old,[3] it is imperative that businesses invest in the updates or upgrades to their HR technology to ensure accurate, timely, and effective processes are in place.

To help address any questions or guidance on writing effective job descriptions, please contact Harbor America. Our HR representatives have years of industry knowledge and can assist with implementing best practices. Whether you need help with rewriting job descriptions, general HR compliance, or updating your HR technology, Harbor America is here to support you with reliable business solutions.


The Muse


[1] Officevibe
[2] Small Biz Genius
[3] Bersin by Deloitte