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Writing a good job description will help attract qualified candidates who can thrive at the company.

Know Exactly What Job Your Company Needs

Do an assessment of what needs your business wants to fill and design the job to ensure it fills these gaps.

The key elements of a job description are job title, summary, responsibilities, requirements/qualifications, experience, education, competencies, cultural fit and physical demands.

Job Title

As businesses evolve and companies look for creative ways to utilize talent, job titles become more and more unique to the organization.  A job title on a posted job description should be as generic as possible, so as to relate to the largest pool of qualified candidates.

As a Human Resources professional, for example, I always scratched my head when seeing titles like “Lead People Person” or “HR People Advisory Partner”. I could relate much better to HR Director or HR Business Partner.

Job Summary

Although not necessary, a summary may help attract candidates who want to quickly get a sense of the job and whether or not they are interested.   It needs to be short, yet compelling.


Ensure you list the essential job duties of the role so as to be attractive to candidates interested in the position.  An overly verbose, long, detailed list of job requirements make the organization seem archaic and call into question its progressiveness, big turn-offs to job candidates.

Many of today’s job seeker are looking for companies seeking people who can bring new and innovative ideas.


When including the skills needed, include the top five or six things every qualified candidate has to have.    Keep in mind that you are looking to eliminate candidates who you feel won’t be able to do the job.

Adding skills that are not critical may actually disqualify possible candidates who may quickly be value added, and who may become more valuable to the organization down the road as they continue to learn and develop.


Experience cannot be understated when writing a good job description. I always shake my head when I see mid-level to senior positions looking for 3-5 years of experience. Unless you are hiring someone in a more junior level role, this just is not possible.

If you went through the process of properly analyzing the needs of role and have accurately determined the profile of a qualified candidate, the necessary years of experience should be reflective of this analysis.

Some companies go lower on the experience believing they will be able to pay a lower wage to a less-qualified but bright candidate. This strategy rarely works as the money you save in salary will be quickly lost by the lower productivity inherent in any learning curve.

Additionally, this type of strategy makes it look as though the organization does not want to hire older workers, a big mistake. Older workers, many with strong work ethics, are working well into their late 60s and at a very high level of performance. Having a diverse mix of talent in your organization is a huge plus and cannot be understated.


Keep in mind that there are only a handful of jobs that require a college degree in order to practice in their profession. The two that immediately come to mind are medical doctors and attorneys.

For many of today’s jobs, the value of a college education certainly cannot be understated.   For recent college grads, a degree in a chosen major of study provides the fundamental knowledge needed to embark on a successful career. For more seasoned professionals, the earning of a college degree demonstrates commitment to continued learning and the devotion and perseverance needed to achieve a goal.

Although you may see job listings state “bachelor’s degree required”, I would recommend against this as this, it most instances, really is not accurate and may very well get you in the middle of a discrimination claim. Stating a degree is “preferred” gives you the necessary wiggle room to ensure you are choosing the best, most qualified candidate.


When writing a good job description, just as important as job-related skills and experience is a candidate’s level of mastery in exhibiting certain competencies. The ability, for example, to work in a highly-collaborative environment, or work under tight deadlines, may be things you feel are necessary to be successful at your company.

Cultural Fit

Know the culture of your organization and hire someone you feel will excel in that environment. Hiring someone who likes to work alone, for example, in an environment that fosters collaboration and teamwork, will be a recipe for failure.

Of course, you need to be honest and come to terms with what your company culture is. Do you have a friendly and collaborative culture, or a competitive one, especially among fellow employees?

Choosing a candidate who can flourish within your company culture is imperative.

Physical Demands

Include the physical demands of the job to ensure it is OSHA and ADA (Americans with Disabilities) compliant.

Personality/Skill-Based Assessment Tests

Personality and skill-based assessment tests have become very popular among businesses today, with over two-thirds requesting job candidates complete some type of assessment as part of the application process.

Keep in mind that skills tests need to be very focused on the job responsibilities as testing for unneeded skills may expose your company to a claim of discrimination.

A well prepared personality test should be able to accurately assess a candidate’s ability to prosper within your company’s culture.

Marzano Human Resources Consulting can help you draft a job description which will help attract job applicants that will flourish at your company and increase your profitability.

Contact us for a no-cost consultation.

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