6 Steps to Writing a Job Description for Maximum Impact

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Posted: Sep 2020

Drawing up a job brief is a time-consuming process, but it really is worth the effort in order to find a high performer (particularly important when looking to fill a role in a senior position). To put this into perspective, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development puts the cost of hiring the wrong person at four times the annual salary, so it’s well worth scheduling time to write a job description that really stands out from the crowd.

A list of responsibilities and necessary qualifications doesn’t go a long way. Highlighting what sets your company aside from the rest and showcasing what makes the role exciting will bring you a lot closer to finding the right person to fill the role.

A recruiter will want to sell the culture of a company to a candidate. So have a good think and ask yourself these key questions:

  • What sets your company aside from your competitors?
  • What are your values and vision?
  • What makes the company an exciting one to work for?
  • What kind of attitudes and personal qualities constitute a good match to the culture of your company?

Be honest about the role and make it clear what will be expected of the successful applicant in the first 6 or 12 months. By thinking beyond the standard formulaic job description, not only will a recruiter be able to find well-matched people, you will also be better prepared for the interview process that will follow.

With this in mind, follow these 6 simple steps and you’ll have put together a top-notch job brief:

1. De-clutter

Recruiters need descriptions that are clearly and simply written. They don’t want to wade through a sea of corporate jargon and lose sight of the job requirements. If the description is overly complicated, it’s a harder task to pinpoint the best candidates.

2. Make it pop

In today’s competitive market, draw out the key selling points of the role. For senior roles such as Director or Partner, the description needs to be more than a laundry list of tasks and responsibilities. Highlight exciting and interesting professional challenges as well as opportunities to lead and inspire a diverse international team that come with the fast moving role of a Corporate Director; focus on why a prospective employee should take this role or join your company over a similar role with one of your competitors.

3. Keep it fresh

Don’t rely solely on a job’s history as you write a description for today. The brief should focus on what the job will need to be in the future in light of the company’s current status and long-term goals. It’s critical that recruiters are supplied with descriptions that are a true reflection of the job being advertised.

4. Be realistic

For senior roles, you obviously want to find an extremely impressive individual with excellent natural leadership skills. Understandably, the job description needs to communicate clearly the key qualifications you are seeking and include the attributes that underlie superior performance. However this can lead to a long list of criteria, leaving recruiters feeling as though they need to track down not just a superstar high performer, but a superhero! Even when dealing with high-profile roles, try to stick to a concise list of things that are both useful to the recruiter and attainable to the candidate.

5. Be specific

Recruiters see too many job descriptions that are filled with phrases and statements that are too open to interpretation. What is ‘professional’ to one person means something completely different to someone else. Aim for a few key behavioural specifics; there’s a big difference between saying, “Must show top-notch leadership skills” and “Directing a global management structure and processes that deliver consistently outstanding client service through a complex network of relationships.” A recruiter will have a much easier time matching a candidate to the second description.

6. Be enticing

If you don’t know what to include in a job brief, think about your best performers in senior roles and what it is they have done that makes them stand out to you in a leadership capacity. As well as attracting the right employee, remember that you want to sell the role to them, so the brief should provide a snapshot of what makes the position so appealing. If you’re stuck for ideas, there’s a host of information here on what makes people happy at work.

Job Description Template Example

Base details

  • Company name
  • Contact details for the role
  • Reason for the role (for example, team growth)
  • Job title (Include keywords which are likely to be searched according to sector and level. For example, ‘In-house Corporate Communications Manager’
  • Summary of Job Description (Useful tip – briefly summarise the core responsibilities of the role and skills required, also use relevant keywords)
  • Division / department / location (Include a brief overview of the team structure and who the role would be reporting into)
  • Salary (Include the salary range and any bonus information)
  • Benefits (Make sure you have detailed all of the company benefits available for this role)
  • Hours and start date (Include information about the contract hours and the type of employment, for example, permanent or temporary, and preferred start date)

Interview Process:

  • Detail each stage and who it would be with

Job Description:

Keep in mind our 6 key pieces of advice:

  • De-clutter
  • Make it pop
  • Keep it fresh
  • Be realistic
  • Be specific
  • Be enticing

Key responsibilities

  • Break down into bullet points
  • Provide a good level of detail so your potential candidates can gain a really good grasp of the role

Essential skills and experience, and the ideals

  • The must-haves
  • The desirable attributes, skills or experience this professional would ideally have

The Works Search is a search consultancy specialising in PR and corporate communications. We have unrivalled matching abilities and known for finding the top 5% performers in the industry - the ones who deliver and make your reputation great. For more advice or market insights, do get in touch with us on 0207 903 9291 or email

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