May 14, 2024

What Should Be Included in a Job Description to Attract the Best Candidates?

By Matt Dodgson

Co-Founder - Recruiter & Marketer

What should be included in a job description? From precise job titles to specific skill sets, this article outlines the core components that define a clear and effective job posting. Dive into the essential elements to ensure your job description stands out and attracts the best candidates.

Key Takeaways

  • A clear and industry-standard job title improves the job posting’s visibility and ensures it reaches the most qualified candidates, avoiding internal jargon and misleading terms.
  • Job descriptions should specify seven to ten key responsibilities with essential functions and any supervisory roles, providing a detailed yet concise overview to help candidates gauge their potential fit.
  • In addition to a thorough list of skills and qualifications, job descriptions should include compensation, benefits, company culture, role impact, location, travel requirements, and legal disclaimers to set clear expectations and attract the best fit.

Crafting the Ideal Job Title

Crafting the Ideal Job Title

The job title is often the first detail that catches a candidate’s eye. It holds the power to attract the right applicants or, if unclear, confuse and deter potential talent. The title should mirror the essence and hierarchy of the position, avoiding convoluted or misleading terms that could attract unsuitable candidates and muddle the hiring process. It’s about striking a balance between being specific enough to describe the role effectively and broad enough to ensure it’s recognised by job seekers using common search terms.

After all, aligning job titles with industry standards isn’t just a matter of semantics — it sets the stage for a transparent and efficient recruitment journey.

Selecting Standard Titles

Imagine a job seeker’s frustration when they can’t find roles matching their expertise because companies use creative, yet obscure, job titles. Avoid this pitfall by selecting standard titles that resonate with the 43 percent of job seekers who leverage SEO techniques when searching for career opportunities.

A clear and recognisable job title not only enhances your job posting’s searchability but also ensures that it reaches the most qualified applicants.

Avoiding Internal Jargon

Every organisation has its quirks, but when it comes to job titles, clarity is king. Using internal jargon can result in a talent pool that’s more puzzled than prepared. Stick to industry-standard terminology to reduce confusion among candidates, ensuring that the job title is an invitation to potential applicants, not a puzzle they need to solve.

Defining Key Responsibilities

Defining Key Responsibilities

A job responsibility section that reads like a cryptic treasure map is a surefire way to lose candidates’ interest. To combat this, include seven to ten key job duties that paint a clear picture of the day-to-day activities and expectations. This clarity not only helps candidates understand what’s expected of them but also serves as a yardstick for their potential fit within the role.

Detailed yet concise bullet points enable applicants to visualise themselves in the role, grasping both the purpose of the job and its impact on broader company objectives, with a thorough knowledge of their responsibilities.

Essential Functions

Essential functions are the backbone of a position, carrying legal weight for ADA accommodation evaluations and distinguishing between what’s required and what’s preferred. When evaluating if a function is essential, consider the frequency, the expectations of the role, and the impact if it were removed.

Functions that are truly core to the position should be clearly identified, so there’s no ambiguity about what the role entails.

Supervisory Responsibilities

Supervisory responsibilities can range from leading a small team to overseeing an entire department. The job description should make these expectations crystal clear, so candidates can judge if they’re up for the level of leadership the role demands. Whether the role involves team management or decision-making authority on hiring and performance reviews, transparency is paramount.

Detailing Necessary Skills and Qualifications

Detailing Necessary Skills and Qualifications

A list of skills and qualifications is like a map guiding candidates through the landscape of the role. It should detail the hard and soft skills required, as well as the expected level of proficiency for each. Be explicit about the educational background and professional experience needed, focusing on types of experience rather than just years served. Comprehensive knowledge in relevant areas is essential for success in the position.

Professional memberships and equivalent qualifications should also be mentioned if they’re relevant to the position.

Must-Have Skills

The ‘must-have’ skills section is where you draw the line in the sand. These are the non-negotiables: skills, knowledge, and qualifications that are essential for the role. Balance is key — be specific about the necessary attributes without being discriminatory against personal traits not pertinent to the job’s requirements.

This clarity not only aids the recruitment process but also supports candidates in self-assessing their fit for the position.

Preferred Knowledge

Beyond the essentials, there’s the ‘nice-to-have’ — skills and knowledge that can enhance a candidate’s performance in the role. These criteria set the stage for growth, suggesting that the candidate could develop these skills on the job. Including these preferences helps shape a more complete picture of the ideal applicant and can make the role more enticing by outlining unique projects and challenges.

Clarifying Working Conditions and Physical Demands

Clarifying Working Conditions and Physical Demands

Don’t overlook the importance of detailing the work environment and essential physical requirements of the job. Be upfront about:

  • The physical effort required
  • The lifting capacity
  • Any continuous activities like standing or typing
  • Any environmental factors, such as exposure to hazardous materials or extreme temperatures, that candidates should be prepared for.

Incorporating Compensation and Benefits

Compensation details are a magnet for candidates. With over half of job seekers prioritising salary information in their search, including a salary range demonstrates transparency and can set clear expectations for career growth and rewards.

Highlighting non-financial benefits appeals to the 61 percent of job seekers who seek this information, ensuring you attract candidates who value the full package, not just the paycheck.

Emphasising Company Culture and Mission

A match made in heaven isn’t just about skills and experience — it’s about fit. Articulating your company’s values and mission attracts candidates who have a higher likelihood of thriving in your environment. A succinct paragraph on your organisation’s culture and unique benefits can help candidates determine if they align with your values and want to contribute to your mission.

Consider creating a templated company description that can be reused in job postings to streamline the process and ensure consistency.

Providing a High-Level Overview of Role Impact

Understanding the role’s impact within the company can be a deciding factor for many candidates. Include a high-level overview that outlines the significance of the position and how it fits into the organisational structure.

A focused job summary provides prospective candidates with a clear picture of the job’s purpose and potential impact, showing how their work would contribute to the company’s success.

Stating Location and Travel Requirements

Clarity on location and travel requirements is crucial for setting the right expectations. Specify if the position is tied to a physical location or if remote work is an option.

Include details about any travel demands, as this can influence a candidate’s decision based on their lifestyle and commitments.

Crafting a Clear Call to Action

The end of your job description should feature a clear, compelling call to action. Use action-oriented phrases such as ‘Apply Now’ or ‘Start Your Journey Here’ to motivate candidates. Positioning this call at the end of the description ensures it’s the final prompt they see, encouraging them to take the next step.

Keep in mind, maintaining a robust applicant pool requires a straightforward application process.

Addressing Legal Disclaimers and EEO Statements

Legal disclaimers and EEO statements are more than formalities; they’re commitments to transparency and non-discrimination. Including a disclaimer that job responsibilities may change ensures flexibility and protects the company legally.

An EEO statement demonstrates your organisation’s dedication to creating an inclusive workplace, which can be particularly important in unionised environments where job descriptions may be taken very literally.

Polishing with Bullet Points and Concise Language

Polishing with Bullet Points and Concise Language

A well-polished, effective job description is a work of art. Utilise bullet points and action verbs to highlight key responsibilities and skills, making the document both easy to read and engaging. Aim for a sweet spot of 250-500 words to ensure you keep the reader’s attention without sacrificing detail. Crafting effective job descriptions is essential for attracting the right candidates. To get inspired, you can refer to job description examples available online.

Professionalism is paramount, so avoid typos, redundancy, and overly quirky language that can detract from the clarity of the job description.


As we’ve explored, a well-crafted job description is a vital tool in the recruiter’s arsenal. From clear job titles to detailed responsibilities and transparent compensation, each element plays a crucial role in attracting the best candidates. Embracing these strategies with precision and care will not only simplify the hiring process but also pave the way for the right candidate to cross your path. Now, armed with these insights, you’re ready to write job descriptions that resonate with potential hires and reflect your company’s values and goals.

Frequently Asked Questions

How detailed should job responsibilities be in a description?

Job responsibilities should be detailed enough to provide clarity on day-to-day activities and expectations, typically with seven to ten key responsibilities listed in a concise bullet-point format. This helps candidates understand the role more clearly and evaluate their fit for the job.

Can the inclusion of salary information in a job description affect the quality of applicants?

Yes, including a salary range can attract more qualified applicants by setting clear expectations. It is important to prioritise salary information, as over half of job seekers consider it a top factor in their job search.

How does company culture fit into a job description?

Incorporating your company’s culture and mission into the job description can help attract candidates who resonate with your values and are better suited to thrive within your organisation.

What is the ideal length for a job description?

An ideal job description should be between 250 and 500 words to ensure it is concise yet informative, keeping the reader engaged and informed.

Should a job description include both essential and preferred qualifications?

Yes, including essential and preferred qualifications in a job description helps candidates understand their suitability for the role. Having this distinction can also indicate potential for growth within the position.