Job Descriptions: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly


A properly written job description is a critical foundation of a successful hire, whether you hire someone through internal efforts or use the services of a specialized staffing firm. Identifying the right talent all starts with a well written job description.

Let’s explore the fundamentals of a well written job description.

Be Specific; Use descriptive job titles to clearly identify the role

Good Job Title:            Technical Lead – Windows / Cloud Engineer

Not So Good Title:      Technical Lead

Keep the Summary Details Concise and Accurate

Job descriptions that run more than one page typically cause more confusion than clarity, unless it is a senior management role.  If after 30 seconds of reading a job description a candidate’s interest is not captured, they move on.  If the “good stuff” is buried at the end of a job description, or buried amongst too much information and difficult to identify, candidates lose interest.  A job description should include a brief narrative of the work being performed, a list of the primary or most important skills required, the primary daily tasks, and perhaps a short benefits overview (if your firm has good benefits offering) to help increase your success in recruiting new talent.

Only List the MAJOR Skills Required to Be Successful

Forget the laundry list of every technology involved in the job.  A job description is NOT just a list of every possible skill or technology touched in a job. Describe what someone will do in the core day to day job duties, along with highlighting just the most critical job functions. Typically, the 80 / 20 rule applies to a job: 80% of the work is performed using 20% of the desired skills.  Be sure the person reading the job description can clearly identify which major skills are necessary to be successful in the position.

Identify Where the Position Fits into the Organization

This helps the individual understand who or in what part of the organization the job reports to (by title example:  reporting to the Director of Technical Services).

Don’t Go Overboard Describing the “Social Fabric” of Your Firm

Resist the urge to over emphasize aspects that are minimally beneficial to someone’s career such as “foosball, ping pong tables, bean bag lounges etc.”  If you provide catered lunches, paid tuition reimbursement, team building events, or an extraordinary benefits package, those are worthy of highlighting. Educate prospects with information that helps them understand the company culture on the whole; open seating, shared or private offices, training opportunities, etc.  If your company has received any recent awards, highlight them to your advantage.

We hope this quick overview is beneficial.  If VAR Staffing can assist in providing clarity to a job description, sharing best practices learned over time, or assist in hiring top technical talent, we welcome the opportunity.   Call us at 972-996-0966.