Jobs constantly evolve, that means job descriptions should be updated along with the changing duties and responsibilities.
For hiring managers, this can create a bit of a headache. Imagine a worker whose responsibilities change radically in the space of a year or two, coupled with changes in company policies and procedures. Unless those changes are documented, the manager will struggle to recruit a suitable replacement.
Job descriptions are of vital importance as they need to describe the role’s current requirements and responsibilities and what your company policies are now — not where everything was last time you hired or before the role had changed. If your job descriptions aren’t updated to keep up with changes in duties, you’ll already be behind if an employee leaves, which can force you to scramble to accurately update the job description while also trying to manage a shorthanded staff.
It should be obvious that you need to include the job’s current responsibilities and experience requirements, so here’s a rundown of other details you should include.
Location, location, location
The arrival of COVID-19 in 2020 led to a shift to full-time remote work and, later, to hybrid setups that alternate between working in the office and working at home. Today, with the initial pandemic-era rationale for remote work no longer in play, remote work itself is very popular with workers. Research for Robert Half’s 2024 Salary Guide found that more than half (63%) of workers want remote work options.
So, if you’re recruiting for a remote or hybrid role, make this a prominent feature of the job description. If you can, spell out how a position’s work arrangements mesh with those of other team members so that potential hires get a sense of how, when and where they will collaborate with colleagues.
Finally, if the position is fully remote, specify any residency restrictions that may apply. For example, if only in-state employees can work only from certain neighboring states, you should make this clear.
The wider arrival and continued popularity of remote work has dramatically changed the workplace, and it's important to keep that in mind while upating your job descriptions.
Describe your DEI policies (in an inclusive way)
The shift to remote and hybrid work isn’t the only noteworthy trend of recent times. More companies than ever are stressing the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), not only as it relates to existing staff but as a best practice guiding the hiring process.
In such an environment, including your DEI policy in your job descriptions is clearly good practice, but it’s only the first step. Trumpeting your commitment to equal opportunities in a sidebar could backfire if other parts of the job description contain noninclusive language. To avoid this, try to do the following:
- Favor words like “committed” over ones like “aggressive.”
- Use human, relatable language rather than corporate jargon.
- Focus on must-have rather than nice-to-have skills — studies have shown that women, veterans and people from other underrepresented groups may feel less confident applying to positions they feel underqualified for.
- Use diversity and inclusion software to scan your job descriptions for noninclusive language.
Keep it simple — and honest
Drafting job descriptions may be more complicated these days, but that shouldn’t be apparent to the candidates who read them. Use clear, concise language that leaves no room for misinterpretation. Road-test your job descriptions with colleagues, asking them to highlight anything that seems ambiguous or vague.
Above all, be honest. Don’t try to appeal to candidates by sugar-coating the realities of the position, be they long hours or limited opportunities for remote work.
If this sounds daunting, reach out for help. Teaming up with a talent solutions firm gives you access to hiring experts who can make your job descriptions stand out from the crowd. Most importantly, their recruiting specialists already have talented candidates lined up to read them.