How to Write an Effective Job Description


With over 4.7 million candidates registered on Executive Placements, reaching out to targeted active job seekers is imperative. Writing a concise, effective job description is crucial for attracting the right candidates. Executive Placements accepts around 500 new job adverts daily. A few are comprehensively detailed job descriptions, while others barely cover two lines.

What is a Job Description?

A job description is a summary of the skills, activities, and responsibilities of a specific role. It would be a good idea to include details specific to the company concerned, and perhaps something about the company itself. Giving the candidate a feel for the company’s culture and offerings. Including a salary range, job level grading, alary range can be included, as well seniority, and position within the organisation. This helps candidates determine whether they are suitable for the position or not.

How to write an effective Job Description

Using the Executive Placements job posting template, here are the fields required to write a job description:

Job Ref:
This is used for your own internal management, but also for candidates when enquiring about a specific position.

Job Title:
Possibly the most important part of the job description is the job title. The job title must be clear and directly relate to the role you are hiring for, make it specific. If it is too general, i.e., administrator or manager you will not attract candidates you would want to target. Avoid using confusing language or abbreviations, so the job title is easily understood at first glance. Job titles are generally around 50-60 characters long.

Job Headline / Summary:
The headline should reflect the purpose of the job. It is an introduction summarising the role and describing key functions in a few lines. As this is what could sway a candidate to apply for your role, it is important to include key terms or words that a candidate would use to search for jobs on Executive Placements job portal. Candidates typically take a few seconds to read it, so make it enticing enough to encourage a candidate to click through and read the entire job description.

Job Description:
The job description should be the most comprehensive section of the vacancy advertised. The focus should be placed on the functions, tasks and outputs required to achieve in the role. Including a reporting line would be key. This is the longest part of the job posting. Be concise and avoid general descriptions that do not describe the role effectively or do not add much value.

Remuneration / Cost to Company:
In South Africa, Remuneration Packages are not often included in the job description. However, it is advised that benefits, share and stock options, as well as bonuses are mentioned, specifically for roles at an Executive or Senior Management Level.

Salary range:
Executive Placements utilises this information for internal purposes only. It is not revealed to the job seeker. It allows our matching algorithm to target our job seeker database more accurately when they search for jobs, or when we send them job email alerts.

Candidates mostly (although not always) search within their area, so including this is important.

For positions outside of South Africa, specify whether anyone can apply, or only specific nationalities. It is quite common for positions in the rest of Africa to accept all nationalities, including South African passport holders.

The category defines the type of job to be performed and at what level. This field is helpful for candidates when conducting a job search.

This is for recruiters only - it allows them to keep track of all jobs for each client you have partnered with to recruit for. This is not revealed to the job seeker.

Closing date:
General job vacancies remain open for 30 days. Entry level and Lower end positions such as administration could be between 14 days - 30 days. Executive C-Suite level jobs often remain open for 3 months or more.

Screening questions:
Screening questions allow the recruiter to cut out candidates who do not meet minimum requirements, giving you the opportunity to identify qualified candidates more easily - especially for jobs that typically attract high numbers of applicants. While perusing CVS, recruiters can restrict only those who answered all questions correctly to save time.

If you need help with creating a job description, you can peruse some job titles below: