Employment Contracts: Your Quick-Fire Checklist for the Perfect Job Description


HR Insights for ProfessionalsThe latest thought leadership for HR pros

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Creating a job description for your employment contracts is a lot different to creating one for recruitment. Here’s how to make sure you don’t miss anything important.

Article 3 Minutes
Employment Contracts: Your Quick-Fire Checklist for the Perfect Job Description

Writing job descriptions is an acquired skill, but most of what you’ll read about doing so is based around recruitment. There’s certainly a lot that needs to go into creating a job description for an advert in order to attract talented candidates, but there’s another reason to be writing them: for an employment contract.

Although it’s not usually a legal necessity, having a job description written into your employment contracts ensures both your organization and your new hires have the same understanding of the role and its responsibilities. Unlike a job ad, you’re not attempting to sell candidates on the position. Instead, you need to be clear about the concrete details of the job. Here’s a quick checklist to make sure your descriptions are suitable:

Is the job title clear?

This is something that should apply across the board when it comes to recruitment, but your job titles will ideally explain what the job actually entails. Paul Slezak, cofounder and CEO of RecruitLoop, has seen a number of creative titles, including “dream fulfiller” for a financial services consultant role or “creative guru” for a copywriter.

The problem with these titles is that while they might seem fun, they’ll be confusing to everyone outside of your organisation, including the new hire. Even seemingly sensible titles can be confusing, like the rise in high-profile positions being titled “chief of staff”, which can mean almost anything. You want your new employee to start with a concrete idea of what their role will be, and confusing them from the offset won’t help them settle into the position.

Have the responsibilities been comprehensively described?

When it comes to a job's responsibilities, you don't want to skimp on the details. But it's also important that it's clear and concise. The longer your job post, the less likely job seekers are to apply. Most candidates typically spend around 14 seconds reviewing a job description before deciding on whether to apply or not.

If you can, include an overview of what an average day should consist of in the job description. Similarly to the job title, this will make sure the new hire knows exactly what their role is and has a written reminder of that. It ensures they start off on the right foot, and prevents confusion over duties down the line.

Does the description convey your company culture?

Conveying your company culture within the job description can be an excellent way to attract those candidates who will be the best fit for your business. Company culture is extremely important to employees, with those who are unhappy in their working environment being 24% more likely to pursue other roles within a year of joining a new business.

Making it clear from the outset what your most important values are and how you go about supporting staff to meet these expectations is crucial to employee retention and success. If you can provide employees with a company culture they enjoy and want to be a part of, they will be happier, less likely to leave and more productive overall. This has benefits for the whole of your business, as ensuring people are the right fit will help them to acclimatize more quickly and become exponents of your way of working.

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