Employers should develop job descriptions that clearly define the essential functions of every job before advertising the job or interviewing applicants. A job description should have clear, concise, non-technical language, and avoid unnecessary words. The job description should focus on words that have a single meaning with detailed explanations for words that may be interpreted differently. Each sentence should begin with an active verb and use the present tense. Examples of job functions should be provided. The desired outcome of the work should be described, rather than one method for accomplishing that outcome. For example, instead of "writes down notes during meetings" put "records notes during weekly meetings." Writers should avoid using gender-specific language, jargon, technical language, proprietary names (Xerox), and ambiguity.
Specify how the position fits into the organization. Indicate who the job reports to and how the person will function within your organization, helping candidates see the bigger picture and understand how the role impacts the business.
A job specification could be considered a more precise job description that details the exact educational degrees, experience, skills, and requirements for a role. In most cases, these terms are used interchangeably and nearly always describe the same document.
The term ‘job description’ is a flexible one, but here I’ll be using it in a modern context, to describe all of the copy you’d use on an online job board. It usually includes information like job title, duties, salary, etc.