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Job Descriptions

How Long Does It Take to Write A Job Description?

By Onyeka Ndukwe on August, 28 2020
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Onyeka Ndukwe

Time is of the essence. If you’re an HR professional or involved in your company’s job description process, every bit of your time is valuable.

Does it take you a long time to create a job description? Don’t worry. You’re not alone. 

This short post will discuss one of the key insights obtained from various HR professionals in North America and across the world about how long it takes to write a proper job description.


How Long Does It Take to Write A Job Description?

It depends. The time it takes you to write a job description can be affected by several factors including:
  • A thorough understanding of your organization’s job description process
  • Proper training on creating job descriptions
  • Quality tools available for writing stellar, relevant job descriptions

In July of this year, HRSG launched its annual State of Job Descriptions survey to get a better idea of exactly what obstacles exist between your HR team and a stellar job description process.

One of the questions on our survey asked respondents was how long it typically take to write a Job Description (including research, consultation, writing, approvals, etc.).

Below is the breakdown of the survey data from HRSG's State of Job Descriptions 2020 Survey based on the question above.

survey data on length of time to write a job description

According to our results:
  • Approximately 65% (69 respondents) of the HR professionals who participated in our survey indicated that it took them 2 hours or more to write a job description (from scratch)
  • About 22% (23 respondents) said that it took 1-2 hours to write a job description (from scratch)
  • 11% (12 respondents) mentioned that it took 30-60 minutes to write a job description (from scratch)
  • Only 2% (2 respondents) said that it took less than 30 minutes to write a job description (from scratch)

These results reveal a critical problem when it comes to the time spent on writing a job description.
More than 50% of our survey respondents mentioned that it takes a long time (2 hours or more) to write a job description.
If we look at this from an opportunity cost perspective, this is valuable time that could be invested in tackling other HR projects, planning and other daily responsibilities. Some of the roadblocks to saving time when writing a job description can include a lack of standardized job descriptions, an ineffective job description process and little to no training on creating high-quality job descriptions.

How To Save Time When Writing Job Descriptions


1. Review your current job description process 

In the same way you review your HR procedures, doing this for your job description process can help you identify any deficiencies or issues when it comes to creating job descriptions.

Not sure if you have an existing job description process?

Here is a good way to check: If you were to train a new (or current) employee on writing job descriptions, do you have a formalized and documented process or do you refer to an online article you can find (courtesy of Google)?

If your answer is the latter then you don’t have a job description process and this can lead to inconsistencies in your job descriptions. These issues become more apparent when job descriptions are written by different people or obtained from different sources.

When reviewing your job description process, here are a few things to be on the lookout for:

  • Unclear policies for storing or utilizing job descriptions (current and new)
  • Lack of consistent language
  • Amount of time taken for research
  • Unclear references for job description research
  • Lack of standardization for job descriptions
  • Absence of a formalized process
  • Out-of-date job descriptions

2. Get the right training on creating high-quality job descriptions

Not every organization has a training policy when it comes to creating job descriptions. Most usually leave it to the HR professional or department manager to know how to do this (when it may not be part of their own job description).

Last year, we surveyed over 100 HR professionals about their job description process. The respondents mentioned using some of the following methods to create a job description: They browse the internet, they copy other company’s publicly available job descriptions, they gather input from their internal experts and hiring managers.

Not only can this be both tedious and time-consuming, it often results in inconsistent language and style. In addition, the created job description of little strategic value to the organization (beyond their need for hiring).

Creating a solid training process for writing job descriptions is an important step towards standardizing your job descriptions and ensuring that the process becomes more streamlined.


3. Consider using a quality job description software solution

The right job description software tool or solution can help you save on both money (by avoiding bad hires) and time.

Our job description software has done the heavy lifting by leveraging AI technology to help with your job description research. To show how easy it can be: We have found that our clients are typically spending on average 30 minutes per job to input, edit and finalize their job descriptions in CompetencyCore.

Our goal is to cut that time down to 10 minutes per job, saving HR professionals massive amounts of time when looking at managing jobs across the entire organization.

With the tools we’ve built into CompetencyCore, we’re hearing that people are building their draft job descriptions in as little as 7 minutes.

Don’t take it from us; our implementation specialist got an email from a client he was training, 8 minutes after their session was complete.  According to Neil (our client from Adaptavist), he was able to “draft out a job role in about 10 minutes using our software” which helped the competency project start off on the right foot.


View the 2020 State of Job Descriptions Report

Our complete report contains a wide range of insights from 100+ HR professionals about their job description process. Click here to view the job description survey results -- no sign-in required!


Learn More About Job Descriptions: 

Post last updated: January 6, 2021