Writing Effective Job Descriptions: A Recruiter’s Perspective

As an organization looking to establish an all-star reputation in the market, you need to attract the crème-de-la-crème of the talent pool. Writing a robust and efficient job description is an important way to sell the role to prospective applicants.  Why? 

Attract and retain the best talent - A well-written job description will come across as professional and help you get a step ahead of rival companies. Show applicants that you’ve invested significant time into creating a thought-provoking and informative job description. You’ll reap the rewards by inviting those top-notch candidates to apply. 

Benchmark for candidates to quickly determine how suitable they are for a position - Providing a thorough job description can help the candidate reach an informed decision about how well-matched they will be to the role. This means you will receive a smaller number of applicants with a more relevant skill-set.  

Candidate can use this as a basis for interview prep - Once the candidate has applied, he/she will be screened by your recruiter to check whether they would be suitable to be interviewed. Having a comprehensive job description can be an excellent base for candidates to start their research before an interview. 

As recruiters, we read all sorts of job descriptions, so here is our take on what we think makes an effective one.

Job title

In our experience, generic job titles, e.g., Sales Manager, Finance Manager tend to be more efficient in attracting leading candidates. Some companies choose to select more unique, indistinguishable job titles. Their reason for doing this is to stop their existing employees being poached by competitors. But such titles can be confusing for applicants; they may not be entirely sure what responsibilities/qualifications are expected of them. So make sure to keep your job title accurate and straightforward. 

Relationships

Make sure you include all relevant relationships that the employee will engage with. You may want to split this into ‘reporting line’ and ‘subordinates.' Include the job title of the applicant’s direct report, as well as any dotted reporting line. For instance, the role may report directly to the Country Manager, but functionally to the Regional Manager based overseas. Also make sure you specify the number of subordinates the applicant will manage (if applicable), as well as their job functions. 

Purpose of the role 

This is a chance for you to introduce the role before you start getting into the nitty-gritty specifics of what the job will entail. This just needs to be a couple of lines long and indicate what the overall objectives of the role are. For example, “The Regional Manager will be expected to drive up overall profitability of three regions: Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam.” As you can see, we have included the number of territories and also referred to the areas in question. Make sure you include the specifics to make your job description stand out.  

Detailed list of responsibilities 

When it comes to listing the job duties, we can’t stress it enough: be specific! Most job descriptions tend to be generic and vague. Make yours stand out by actually delving into what the job will entail. Include some unique parts of the job that may be different to what other companies would offer. Also, try to use numbers and stats in the description where possible. E.g. “open up two new revenue streams and increase profits by 15% by the end of the second quarter’’.  This is far more informative than only writing, ‘’Drive up company profitability in the assigned timeframe’’. 

List of desired qualifications 

Include a list of bullet points outlining the skills and attributes that are required for the role. If the position requires applicants to be qualified to degree level, then specify which subjects are preferred. Include the minimum number of years’ experience the candidates should have, as well as which fields/industries they should specialize in. Make sure to distinguish between which qualities are mandatory and which are simply an advantage to have. 

Additional Tips

  • Use engaging language 
  • Make sure you engage with your audience by using emotive language. A good tip to make things more personal is to use the second person singular. i.e., refer to the reader as ‘’you’’ instead of ‘’the employee’’. 
  • Keep it simple 
  • Language should be easy to read and understand. This is particularly the case in Thailand, where English will be a second language for the majority of candidates. 
  • Keep it short 
  • One page should be more than enough space needed to cover all of the necessary info.  

We think that job descriptions are one of the most under-utilized tools to attract top-level talent. Make sure you go the extra mile to be more specific about what will be expected of applicants. Spending just a little more time to make your job description stand out will make a difference when it comes to reviewing your applications.