How to list job responsibilities in job listings (With tips)
Updated 18 November 2022
A job description provides applicants with essential information about the role they're applying for. It includes information about the goals of the position, who's going to fill the role and what they're going to be responsible for. It serves two purposes, firstly, by helping employers hire the right person for the job and, secondly, by giving employees an outline of what they're going to do. In this article, we discuss why job descriptions are important in job listings and look at how to list job responsibilities in job listings to attract the best candidates.
Why are job descriptions important in job listings?
The job description is one of the most powerful tools available to you when you're trying to find qualified candidates for an open position. It's not just a way of conveying the necessary information about the role's responsibilities, qualifications and benefits, it's also an opportunity for you to illustrate your organisation's culture to potential candidates. If you're struggling to attract good candidates, it might be time to rethink how you design your job descriptions.
How to list job responsibilities in job listings
Knowing how to list job responsibilities in job listings removes some of the challenges HR managers often face when writing job adverts. It ensures the recruitment officer is attracting the right candidates, rather than people who don't have the necessary skills for the job, which wastes time and resources. To do so, it's important that what they're writing is clear and links directly to the job so that candidates understand exactly what the position involves. Here are some tips for including job responsibilities in job listings:
1. Start with a summary of the position
Start a job listing with a summary of the position. This helps the recruitment officer communicate some of the most basic information about the job to potential applicants using only a few words. This also helps job seekers who are scanning job listings and don't have time to read all the details. Secondly, a good summary ensures that candidates thoroughly understand the job being advertised. If you describe your ideal candidate right away, you also make it easier to progress into the necessary follow-up information.
Example: Physiotherapists play a key role in the rehabilitation of patients who have previously suffered a sports injury or illness. They're responsible for designing and creating rehabilitation programmes that help patients regain their strength and mobility. Physiotherapists do this via exercise, massages and other sports treatments, treating each case with the professionalism and compassion necessary.
2. List out the actual responsibilities
When creating a job listing, listing the exact job responsibilities helps recruiters filter out any unqualified candidates. When a candidate reads these responsibilities, they gauge whether they have the qualifications and experience necessary to perform the demands of the role. This means that if they deem themselves suitable for the role, they can put in an application and avoid wasting the time of the recruitment officer. This also boosts the applicant's confidence because they know they have a better chance of getting hired, having fulfilled the relevant criteria.
Listing out the responsibilities throughout a listing also gives candidates an accurate description of what they're going to be doing on a daily basis, so they can determine whether or not this is something that interests them.
Example: Mechanic job responsibilities:
perform general repairs, including tyre rotations and oil changes
replace brakes as needed
clean and maintain cars in the stockroom according to company policies and procedures
able to work independently within established guidelines
able to work weekends during busy seasons.
keep machines and parts in working order
inspect equipment to ensure it's safe before operating it
repair or replace damaged parts to restore machines to proper functioning conditions
maintain inventories of spare parts and supplies
Related: How much does a mechanic make?
3. Prioritise and order the responsibilities
Prioritising and ordering job responsibilities helps candidates understand what the role involves and what's expected of them if they get it. It also helps to eliminate any confusion about the role, ensuring that an organisation attracts the right candidates who have the skills and experience that match what's required. By ordering the responsibilities according to priority, candidates can quickly skim through the job description and decide whether they have the right skills before applying.
Example: Photographer's job responsibilities:
photograph people, products and various events
use photographic equipment, like softboxes and tripods
edit photos using computer software
work with customers to determine what photos they want or need
maintain accurate records of work previously performed within database management systems
conduct research on different photo styles and techniques to improve the skill set and enhance professional output
4. Keep the list short
When creating a job listing, it's important that the recruitment officer keeps it short when listing the relevant responsibilities. This is because breaking down a larger chunk of text into a series of more concise bullet points helps them attract more applicants without overwhelming casual job seekers. Keeping this section short also assists with the applicant's decision-making process. If there are too many responsibilities listed, they may not be able to tell what the position is. This may make them think that the organisation isn't right for them.
Example: Real estate agent responsibilities:
show properties to prospective buyers
meet with sellers and negotiate listing agreements
prepare contracts for purchase and sale, modify contracts and amendments and draw up counteroffers
list properties for sale, price them according to market value and post them for sale on Multiple Listing Service (MLS)
verify that the buyer has all required disclosures before the sale of the property
Tips for attracting candidates when creating a job description
Here are some tips to help you make your job listings more attractive to potential applicants:
Use company jargon (if appropriate)
If you're advertising a position within your organisation, make sure that you're using the brand's voice in the job description. This communicates to applicants the type of language they're going to require if they wish to be successful in the role. For example, if you're a law firm looking for an experienced lawyer, it's a good idea to use phrases and terminology specific to the legal field, such as 'litigation' and 'docket'. This allows you to immediately filter out less knowledgeable or experienced candidates for the role.
Focus on results rather than activities
When creating a job description, try to focus on the results of the job rather than the activities it involves. This helps you clearly convey what types of activities candidates are typically required to do to succeed in this role and broadens the job description in general.
For example, if you're looking for a project manager, you might simply list 'maintaining the calendar' as a key responsibility. Rather than explaining how maintaining a calendar helps project managers move projects forward and how they might specifically do it, you provide a more general idea of the types of activities that fall under this role.
Mention what makes the organisation unique
Remember to give candidates a reason to apply to your organisation. If you don't highlight what makes your organisation unique, you run the risk of having lots of candidates who aren't as qualified as you wish, as the more able candidates have applied to competitors who seem more appealing to them. To attract better candidates, consider mentioning features like your office's fun or relaxed atmosphere.
Include information about the job's perks
It's a good idea to include the perks of the job in the job description because this gives candidates an idea of what they're going to receive by working for your organisation. This also makes your listing more attractive than that of a competitor. Perks range from the offering of a company car to having an isolated cubicle or an office with a window. A candidate may not have an interest in working for your organisation if the perks aren't good enough, and they may instead be more attracted to a competitor offering greater benefits.
Disclaimer: The model shown is for illustration purposes only, and may require additional formatting to meet accepted standards.
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