What Requirements to Leave Out of Your Job Descriptions

By Alicia Geigel on April 25, 2022

As an employer or recruiter, one of the most important elements of bringing a new employee on board is having a good job description. A job description is the first impression a potential employee is going to get of your company and will ultimately be a factor to help them determine whether or not to apply for the listed position. Constructing the perfect job description is an art, and you need to include the right details while excluding others to make a solid, well-rounded description.

While there are plenty of references on what to include in your job description, information on what to leave out is not as available. When building a job description for a position your company is hiring for, you may be familiar with all the important information you need to list, but be unaware of what you need to ultimately exclude from it.

Having a proper job description may not seem important, but for both the well-being of the potential employee and your company, as well as legal reasons, having just the right amount of detail and appropriate language can make all the difference in a good job description. If you are an employer or recruiter looking for information on building the right job description, here are some details you can leave out.

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What is a Job Description?

Put simply, a job description is a detailed explanation of what a job position requires. Indeed describes a job description as a document that “describes the type of work performed,” which “summarizes the essential responsibilities, activities, qualifications, and skills for a role.” Job descriptions can include a number of details, from benefits and wages to educational requirements. Depending on the type of job position your company is seeking to fill, you can specify the description to the specific requirements you want in an employee.

What Should You Include in a Job Description?

When it comes to writing job descriptions, there are a few key sections you need to include to ensure the applicant has a clear understanding of the job responsibilities and skills needed for the position. A good job description should have the following:

  • Job Title: A job title is the first thing that will attract potential employees to your listing. Make your title specific and clear, but also use common terms that people will most likely use to seek out your position.

  • Job Summary: A job summary is a short description of the job position. Different from the responsibilities and duties, a summary is a couple sentences that give a brief overview of what employees can expect in the job position.

  • Job Responsibilities and Duties: This is where you want to be the most specific in your job description. Include multiple bullet points detailing the responsibilities and duties of the job description, including daily tasks, group collaborations, etc. Also include any kind of specific software the potential employee would have to use on the job, such as Microsoft Office, Zoom or Slack, etc.

  • Job Qualifications and Skills: In this section, detail both hard and soft skills you want your potential employee to have. Hard skills are skills that can be taught, such as something you learned in school, in previous work experience, etc., according to Paige Liwanag of Jobscan. Soft skills are what many tend to think of as “people” skills, or skills that revolve around your character and ability to work with others/communicate.

  • Job Salary and/or Benefits: Money talks, and for many job seekers, having a clear idea of the salary and/or benefits can be a strong factor that influences them to apply for the job. Include the base salary for the position, along with any bonuses, paid vacations, and medical benefits included with the position.

What Requirements Should You Leave Out?

Now that you know what to include, here is what you should leave out of your job description.

  • Discriminatory Language: Never include discriminatory language in a job description. Language like this can look like detailing employee preferences based on gender, ethnicity/race, age, or religion. For example, a blog post by Cedr HR Solutions notes, “The use of gendered pronouns in your job descriptions could imply a preference for one gender over another, and phrases like “young” or “youthful” could be interpreted to suggest age-based discrimination in your hiring practices.”

  • Excessive Physical and Educational Requirements: Avoid setting excessive physical and educational requirements for a job position that otherwise would not require it. If the job does not require physical labor, don’t describe it as such. Furthermore, don’t be rigid or strict about educational requirements for a position that can be fulfilled without higher education.

Excluding these requirements from a job can not only broaden the range of candidates that can apply for the job, but it can also help you avoid any discriminatory legal battles.

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Building a perfect job description doesn’t have to be difficult. If you follow the right formula and be sure to avoid points that can discriminate against potential employees, you are bound to land the right person for the job.

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