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HR How-to: Create A Job Description

Recruiting is big business. In fact, a recent study by the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) finds that companies spend an average of $4,000 per hire, although the figure can be considerably higher, up to 30% of the candidates salary if said company engages a head hunter or executive recruitment agency. With this kind of money at stake, you are going to want to make sure you’re as efficient and effective as possible throughout the process, but especially in the early phases when you’re trying to snag the dream candidate. 

Enter the job description! At first blush it seems straight forward, you simply list out what the job you are hiring for entails and reel in the candidates. However, the job description should instead be viewed as a blueprint of sorts designed to not only help you really hone in on the type of candidate you need to fill the job, but also help those perusing the ad to know if they fit the bill and should go ahead and toss their hat in the ring. In short, the job description may be the opening line, but it really sets the tone for the entire hiring conversation and is thus a crucial part of the puzzle. Read on below to find our top tips for creating a top-notch posting that will snag you your next star performer. 

  • Job title:
    In this day and age, where search engines are key, you want to make sure that the job title you use is as accurate as possible so that you are showing up only in the most relevant searches. If it is a multi-skill role, pick the title that is most prominent, and use the accompanying description to really flesh out the details. Again, the idea here is to show up in searches and grab attention, so you will want to describe the job the way a candidate would.
  • Introduction:
    If you have a creative flair, now is the time to use it. This is where you want to grab a potential candidate’s attention and encourage them to read more about the role and your overall company.
  • Company overview:
    In this next paragraph, you will want to discuss what your company does, who its clients are, and what it is doing to make a difference in the industry. If you’ve won industry or regional awards, now is the time to highlight them to tell your reader that if they’re working in this industry, this is the best in the business! While you’re bragging on your company’s myriad achievements, now is also the time to include information about your company’s mission statement and company culture so that folks really get an idea about what your business is about and what sets it apart from other companies they may be considering.
  • Reporting structure:
    When a client is assessing whether they will be a good fit for your company, you want to give them as much information as possible about where in said company they will fall. If they are being hired for a particular department – or as a right hand man to a person in a specific role – now is the time to highlight this association and let folks better understand how this role fits into the broader picture.
  • Job duties/responsibilities:
    Here, you will want to spend a few sentences giving a top-level summary of the job’s key responsibilities and, again, how it fits into the company’s overall goal. Next, you’ll want to go ahead and really be specific, providing a bulleted breakdown of tasks that the job seeker can expect to perform in this role. Some experts recommend that if the job itself is diverse or covers a range of skill areas, that you break down by percentage or frequency how often each job-specific task is completed. Here you can also include what metrics of success look like and how exceptional performance is defined by your company. If the job is labor intensive, this is also the spot to note whether there are any physical requirements for the role, such as the ability to lift 35lbs or stand for prolonged periods.
  • The details:
    In the following paragraph, you will want to reiterate all the fine details about the job, including where your company is located and whether this is a remote or in person position. You’ll also want to cover how much time, if any, folks can expect to be on the road or otherwise traveling for work and whether your company offers any perks, such as flex time, work-from-home opportunities or even job sharing arrangements. Next, you will want to also mention compensation, it’s OK here not to give an exact figure here, but a range is generally considered helpful and serves as a good jumping off point for candidates to determine their suitability. If you opt not to include a range, you can note that your compensation package is competitive (but really do your homework here to make sure that it is!). This is also the section where you will want to outline the benefits and other perks associated with coming on board with your business.
  • Qualifications: Next, you’ll want to trot out “the ideal candidate will possess,” line and send a message to the candidate about the “hard skills” needed for the job, including any skills, training, education, licensure, or certifications necessary for the role. If you are willing to trade a specific qualification for experience, you can say so here, but be specific about the types of experience that are considered equitable, including the time spent gaining this experience and any expectations for future qualifications.
  • Qualities:
    Stemming from the above paragraph, you will want to list the “soft skills” the idea candidate should possess, such as attention to detail or an aptitude for customer service. You can base these soft skills on the personalities of folks who have previously excelled in the role or ask managers what types of personality traits generally tend to mesh well with the existing team and would help propel the department forward. 
  • Some legal language:
    Job descriptions can land companies in legal hot water if they are ever viewed as being discriminatory. Be sure to include a statement that you are an equal opportunity employer and that you will not discriminate based on racial, gender, sexuality, disability, or other demographic metrics. Many companies also choose this space to note that the job description is not an exhaustive list of the responsibilities of the role and that they are subject to change based on the evolving needs of the company.
  • Next steps: Finally, you will want to wrap up your ad by pointing your ideal candidate to where they can either learn more about your company or formally apply for the position. This could be directing them to your company specific website, or simply asking them to click a link that takes them to a general application either at your company or through a second party. If applicable, you should note whether you are looking to fill the position quickly so that folks can understand the urgency of the posting and can prioritize their application.

Still think you need a little help crafting the perfect help wanted ad? Abel is here to help – give us a call today and we’ll put you in touch with a team of folks who will make it their job to understand your business needs and craft the kind of job listing that will surely get you noticed.

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