Organizational Wellness

Five Steps to Write a Compelling Job Description

Dec 4, 2023
Last Updated May 10, 2024

Clearly communicating the responsibilities for each role is absolutely essential to setting your employees up for success. 

An outstanding job description goes beyond simply listing duties and requirements — it serves as a catalyst to a smoothly functioning team.

So, how can you write a job description that is both compelling and effective? Let’s dive into the ins and outs of job descriptions: why they’re so crucial, and five steps to creating one that communicates your expectations.


What Is a Job Description?

A job description is a short writeup that outlines the key responsibilities, required qualifications, and expectations of a position. It provides a blueprint of what it would take to succeed in the role. 

A great job description has five key parts: job title, role summary, responsibilities and duties, qualifications and skills, and salary and benefits. 

Job Descriptions vs Job Postings

The phrases “job description” and “job postings” are often used interchangeably, but they aren’t the same. It’s important to know the differences so you can avoid using the documents interchangeably.

A job description is a document that’s primarily for in-house use. It outlines exactly what a position entails and what standards an employee can be held to. The reality is that a good job description won’t make an engaging job posting because it’s highly exhaustive. A job description is for you, the rest of the HR team, and the employee. 

A job posting is an external document where you advertise an open position to potential candidates. This document is usually designed to attract top talent and interest them in a job, but it doesn’t outline every single little thing a role might entail. These postings should be shorter and oriented toward someone outside of the company.  

A few key differences to keep in mind when drafting document each are:

  • Attracting vs. explaining. A job description is designed to explain a position in exhaustive detail while a job posting is written to attract someone to the position. Those different purposes will affect the way the document is written. 
  • Legal document vs. marketing piece. A job description is actually a legal piece. It’s what you can hold an employee to while they work for you. On the other hand, a job posting is for marketing the role. You’re advertising your company to potential hires. 
  • Engaging vs. company jargon. A job description might use company jargon because it’s written for an internal audience. A job posting shouldn’t. Instead, a job posting should be focused on being engaging. 

Avoiding using these terms interchangeably can help you treat each document distinctly and craft it for the right audience. 

Importance of an Effective Job Description

With those key differences in mind, let’s look at the importance of writing an effective job description. 

An effective job description isn’t what’s going to draw people to your company or help you attract your next best employee. It’s instead the document that outlines every responsibility of an employee, so you’re both on the same page. 

It’s important to note that a job description can be a legal document. You can have an employee sign the document after you’ve written it, which is an acknowledgement that they know and understand the responsibilities of their job.. Creating a highly effective job description can avoid miscommunication and helps you hold employees accountable if issues do arise.

Beyond accountability, an effective job description could help your employees who are hoping to advance and move up. A job description includes exactly what’s required, and it can include what the next steps are. When an employee knows what’s in their job description, they know what’s needed to achieve success and what skills to develop to have mastered their role. This growth can set the stage for promotion within the organization.. 

Creating Your Job Description in Just 5 Steps

A job description only has five  steps — but it’s how you execute those steps that can help you nail this foundational document. 

  1. Clear Job Title

Starting your job description with a clear and accurate name for the position sets clear expectations, which aid long-term talent retention. 

  1. Role Summary

While a title is crucial, it’s not enough to explain exactly what the responsibilities of the role are. Somebody might see the job title “Content Writer,” but they can’t be sure what that means. That position could mean writing content for the company, for clients, for the website, for social media, or even for press releases. A role summary where you provide that clarity.

  1. Responsibilities and Duties

Once you clarify what the role is, it’s time to dive into a little more detail about what you as the employer will expect. Remember that a job description is an opportunity to set expectations with your employee early on. In this section of your job description, list exactly what you would expect from this person and what this person would be responsible for. It’s often easier to explain the responsibilities in bullet points. Don’t worry about explaining absolutely everything a role could be responsible for — it’s more important to accurately describe what the major components of the role are. 

  1. Qualifications and Skills

Every job requires a specific set of skills. Maybe the role needs a certain level of competency with a type of software (or coding language), or maybe you absolutely need the employee to have the ability to lead a team. This part of the job description is where you outline those details.

  1. Compensation

Pay transparency has advantages, but it can be advantageous to keep it as a range, so you can keep the job description focused on the opportunity at hand. 

Salary is only one piece of the puzzle though. Don’t forget to discuss the benefits your company offers to employees. In a 2024 Wellhub report, we found that 93% of employees consider a company’s focus on their wellbeing to be as important as their salary, so get off on the right foot by including the benefits your company offers. Employees value benefits, and we’re in a new era of benefits planning. Your job descriptions should reflect that. 

Support Retention With Wellbeing Programs

Crafting a compelling job description is an integral part of doing business. A well-crafted job description paves the way for effective communication, clear expectations, and a smooth onboarding.

The art of writing compelling job descriptions is a crucial part of your broader retention strategy. An organization thrives on the strength of its workforce, and holding on to top talent sets your business up for success. 

Clear expectations are just the first step in your talent management strategy. To have a holistic retention plan, you also need to support employee wellbeing: 75% of HR leaders say their wellness program is very important or extremely important to employee retention. 

Working with Wellhub gives your employees access to thousands of gyms and studios. To learn more about fueling your employees’ journey to feeling good, talk to a Wellbeing Specialist today! 

Company healthcare costs drop by up to 35% with Wellhub! (* Based on proprietary research comparing healthcare costs of active Wellhub users to non-users.) Talk to a Wellbeing Specialist to see how we can help reduce your healthcare spending!



Wellhub Editorial Team

The Wellhub Editorial Team empowers HR leaders to support worker wellbeing. Our original research, trend analyses, and helpful how-tos provide the tools they need to improve workforce wellness in today's fast-shifting professional landscape.


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