1. Using internal terminology 

Every workplace has its nuances. Your CRM database may be known company-wide as ‘knowledge-bank’, but requiring knowledge-bank implementation proficiency on a job description will mean little to external candidates.

Use a glossary if you’re unsure or see what Google throws up.

2. Not involving all stakeholders

Creating a job description without input from HR, line management and employees in a similar role is a mistake. Involving all stakeholders is the most accurate way of ensuring nothing is missed.

Remember, job descriptions provide a basis for performance review, organisation charts and even productivity.

3. Being unrealistic

A job description should not be an exhausting wish list of every digital skill that may come in useful – it’s tempting to throw in ‘worked with SPSS’ and ‘fluent in CSS’ to reduce the pile of applications but it’s HR’s role to help you sift through the pile.

Job descriptions should focus on the track record of the candidate and the type of person required, with responsibilities only detailed at a high level to begin with. 

The perfect candidate probably doesn’t exist and implying that only they should apply might mean you miss out on some potentially excellent candidates.

Avoid getting personal with character traits, too. Though we all appreciate a ‘good sense of humour’, these are things that can be assessed in interview.

Detailing travel requirements is altogether more important at this stage.

4. Using discriminatory language

A standard legal requirement but one that is pertinent in digital.

Implying that a fast-moving, entrepreneurial brand is looking for someone young is an easy trap to fall into, and one which will limit your pool of applicants.

5. Not regularly reviewing

Job descriptions in digital are changing all the time (read five factors that are changing job descriptions). They need to be reviewed, in line with changing dynamics of the business, and amended as appropriate. 

So in summary…

Avoiding these five mistakes will go someway to writing adequate job descriptions that provide a role’s context in the company and improve oversight and productivity.

For more detailed templates, see the new Econsultancy Digital Job Description Best Practice report.