Why Job Descriptions Are Important

Job descriptions: they’re an essential component of any organisation. For most people, a job description is the first thing they’ll see from a business. As they say, first impressions matter, and job or position descriptions are that first touchpoint for most people looking to join a company.

In this article, we explore what a job description is, and why they’re important for companies to get right.

What exactly is a job description?

A job description provides an outline of job roles, responsibilities, and expectations. They’re important for both employer and employee. For businesses, JDs ensure that there’s an alignment between job duties and the goals of the company. For employees, a job description sets clear standards about the work they’re applying for, as well as provides an insight into the company as a whole. 

These documents serve as a foundation for various HR processes, like compensation, training, and performance evaluations.

Writing effective job descriptions

A job description needs to have these key elements: a job title, a job summary, essential functions of the position, qualifications, and desired skills. 

To write an effective JD, one must keep the following best practices in mind: 

  1. Be clear with the job title: An effective job description should have a title that accurately reflects the positions and responsibilities that the job entails. The position’s level within the organisation can also be included in the title when possible.
  2. Summary and key responsibilities: A brief overview of what the job requires, as well as its purposes and key responsibilities, are important in a job description. This should be clear and not left up to interpretation. 
  3. Avoid common mistakes: don’t use internal terminology or jargon that won’t make sense to those who aren’t in the company. Avoid using buzzwords—simplicity is king when it comes to job descriptions. Another common mistake is using discriminatory language (which we’ll go into in the next section).

Keeping your job descriptions compliant with the law

In writing job descriptions, it’s important to understand the legal considerations associated with them, such as avoiding discriminatory language and complying with applicable employment laws.

It’s vital that job descriptions comply with employment laws in order to mitigate legal risks and to have a fair and equitable workplace. Misleading job and business opportunity advertisements carry heavy penalties under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL), ranging up to $1.1 million for the most serious breaches. The ACL is applicable nationally to all states and territories. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission doesn’t hesitate to take action when businesses are taking advantage of job seekers, particularly when those affected are vulnerable or disadvantaged. 

Making sure that job descriptions outline the purpose, responsibilities, and necessary qualifications is critical for clear and consistent understanding between an employer and employee.


Job descriptions should also comply with anti-discrimination laws, like the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 and the Disability Discrimination Act 1992. Job descriptions mustn’t contain language that could be perceived as discriminatory based on attributes like race, gender, age, disability, or marital status. Learn more about discrimination in our fact sheet.

A job’s core functions should also be included in a job description as this is crucial for complying with the Disability Discrimination Act. It helps employers identify and provide reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities which helps businesses create equal employment opportunities for everyone.

Attracting and retaining top talent

While job descriptions are important in the aspect of a company’s compliance with the law, they also serve another vital purpose: attracting and retaining talented employees. 

According to the Australian HR Institute, 47% of employers currently hiring are experiencing recruitment difficulties. Job descriptions play a crucial role in attracting the right talent. A clear, effective job description attracts more qualified candidates and encourages them to apply. 

Beyond attracting talent, job descriptions also play a role in employee retention. Employees leave jobs for different reasons. Burnout, a company culture that doesn’t fit an employee’s expectations or lacks inclusivity, and compensation that doesn’t align with industry benchmarks are some of the reasons employees leave. 

Well-crafted, effective job descriptions are designed to anticipate these concerns. They should also remove any ambiguity around the role and what it entails.

Now Actually can help craft job descriptions that will benefit your company now and in the future, or assist you with updating existing ones. Contact us to learn more.

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