Writing job descriptions is a task that many hiring managers don’t consider when they are employing a new person. However, they are important for expectation setting, especially in a remote work environment. Learn more about writing the perfect job description for your next remote hire.
What is A Job Description?
You may have heard job descriptions referred to by other names including position description, JD, and job specification. Regardless of what you call them, job descriptions are incredibly important documents for any new hire.
They outline the expectations of the role, the tasks the person must do, and the skills the job requires. Some get in-depth and describe the key performance indicators and other measures of success in the role. This is useful to refer back to during performance evaluations.
Many hiring managers get a job description confused with a job posting, but these are two different things. The job posting is a description of the role used for advertising the role on job boards. The job description is for the person in the role to understand their duties. A link to the job description is usually given alongside the job posting so that applicants know the finer details of the position.
What Does a Typical Job Description Need to Include?
If you’re not sure what a job description should include, we recommend using job description templates as a starting point. However, we have detailed below the basic areas that you need to cover.
Job titles should be descriptive and specific. Use words that everyone understands, not ones that are specific to your business.
The summary at the start should accurately summarize the role for the reader. Give them an overview of the position in just a short paragraph.
Responsibilities should include the overall outcomes that the position is responsible for. You also need to include the day-to-day tasks, but too many managers forget to add the outcomes expected. Also include how the position contributes to the mission of your organization, and where it fits into the structure.
Skills and Qualifications
Create a concise list of the skills the position requires. Sure, your ideal incumbent would be fantastic at everything under the sun. However, you need to distill these qualities down into just the ones which are crucial to success in the position.
Include both hard skills and soft skills. Hard skills are those which are technical and concrete. Soft skills are more about dealing with people and communication skills.
List a qualification when one is required for the position. If you are open to hiring those who have a similar qualification or no qualification but experience instead, then say that. Otherwise, you will miss out on some incredible people applying for the role.
Adding a salary range to the job description adds clarity for the applicant to know what salary to expect, and they can negotiate accordingly. Otherwise, people fly blind and completely overshoot or underestimate the salary for the position. Making it clear from the beginning manages the expectations of the applicant.
Also, add in any benefits your company offers. This might include health insurance, free lunches, office gym, tuition, and more.
JDs for Remote Roles
Job descriptions for remote roles need to include all the same things as a typical job description, as listed above. However, there will be some specific things that you may want to add due to the digital nature of the job.
Add Remote Work Requirements
Some companies have specific requirements for remote workers. This might include being logged onto your computer during your work hours or being able to answer calls during certain times of the day. Also, include here any location requirements you have. Does the person need to be based in the US, or can they be living anywhere across the world? Be specific or you may miss out on some fantastic applicants. If you are flexible on work hours, location, and other aspects of the role, then say that clearly too! It will be a great benefit if you are because plenty of people out there are looking for a flexible work environment.
Add More About Your Company
Remember that these remote workers may never set foot in your building. To get more of an idea about who you are and how you use remote workers, you can add information about this to the job description. For example, the candidate may be interested to know what percentage of your workers work remotely. Also, note if you only use remote workers for certain types of jobs.
Use Relevant Keywords
People who are interested in applying for remote work should be able to easily find the job description from your posting. You can help with this by adding keywords relevant to a remote working environment. Examples include the words virtual, remote, home office, and work from home. This will also help to make it clear that the job is remote and therefore weed out applicants who aren’t looking to work from home.
While communication is critical with any employee, it becomes even more important with a remote staff member. Without phone calls, emails, and video chats, you would otherwise never hear from this person. So, describe the communication requirements in the job description so that they know your expectations from the beginning. This may be daily video calls, monthly phone calls, or just regular email communication. Consider how much you need to hear from them and add it to the job description.
Flexible workers will require equipment to undertake the tasks of their job. Do you supply this, and have it shipped to them? If not, you will need to state what you expect them to have to undertake the duties of the role. This might include a laptop, monitor, keyboard, and more. It will be crucial that the person has access to high-speed, reliable internet for all of the video calls you will have to stay in touch with them.
Hiring a remote employee doesn’t have to be difficult. By adding in all of your expectations into the job description, you will both have clarity on what is required of them. Start out on the right foot with an excellent job description.