How to create a comprehensive job description

Whether you’re replacing an existing position or creating a new one, spending the time on getting your job description right is critically important. Making sure your job description aligns with the objectives of the business whilst defining the role’s responsibilities in clear, concise, indiscriminate language, can be tricky. Before you distribute the job description publicly, it is always a good idea to review it internally, outside of the HR department, to ensure staff and management have provided their vital insight.

Make sure you refer to the REC for guidelines on language and discrimination. The law is very strict on language used in job descriptions and you could face prosecution if you have failed to show fairness in your specification. If you would like our help with forming your job description, our Directors would be happy to guide you. Just call +44 (0)20 7092 3939 for advice.

To help you, here’s a useful checklist to help you create an effective, legally sound job specification:


Job title – Carry out research to identify the job titles used in the marketplace today, as this will help you position your job clearly to potential candidates. Ensure your title describes the responsibility and seniority of the role too.

Job summary – The job summary is exactly that – a summary. It can be anywhere from one sentence to one paragraph in length depending on complexity of the position. There is no need to include detail of anything other than the job itself at this stage

Department/team overview – reporting to, supporting, staff numbers etc

Key responsibilities – List 8-10 essential functions of the job – the detailed day to day tasks are not necessary

Minimum job requirements – Consider the very minimum experience, qualifications and knowledge required to carry out the job rather than the ideal, holy grail candidate

Physical requirements – If the job demands physical effort or work in a physically demanding environment, you must mention this in this part of the job description. You can also use this section to mention details of equipment, computers and location of the job

Salary – When setting your salary range for the position, you will need to carry out research into the marketplace, as well as referring to your own internal budgets. If you want to attract the right candidates, you will need to know what packages are being offered by your competitors