What Information Is Included on a Job Posting?

Woman in job interview
PeopleImages/DigitalVision/Getty Images

Question: What information is included on a job posting?

Answer: 

A job posting is the way an organization communicates with the public about a vacant position that it wishes to fill. The posting gives applicants a good idea about what qualifications are necessary, what the new hire will do and how much the job pays. The posting allows the organization to communicate to the public what it wants in the person who fills the job.

The following information is included in most job postings.

General Description

The general description provides a broad overview of what the position does. If you were to ask the person who last held the job what they did for a living, this would be what that person would tell you. The general description does not delve deeply into what the position does because that information is provided in greater detail in a subsequent section of the posting.

Duties

The duties are the responsibilities or tasks that the position is responsible for. It varies from posting to posting and organization to organization just how specific the duties are stated. Postings for higher level jobs tend to have the duties more broadly outlined. Lower level jobs tend to have more distinctly defined responsibilities.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

The knowledge, skills and abilities -- also known as KSA’s -- for a job are the attributes that an individual needs to bring into the job to be successful.

KSA’s are the things that an organization does not have the time, resources or capacity to teach a new hire.

Knowledge in this context is the body of fundamental information the new hire must know. Skills are demonstrable physical activities required to do the job. Abilities are behaviors required to perform the work.

Of course, organizations and managers are going to train new hires on the daily tasks to be performed, but KSA’s are what a person has to have coming into the door. The job posting does not necessarily list all the KSA’s needed to do the job well, just the ones that new hires need coming in the first day.

Education and Experience Requirements

Education and experience requirements tell applicants the mix of formal education and work experience they need in order to be considered for the job. These requirements help organizations target their postings to entry-level, mid-career or late-career applicants.

Many times organizations will allow for some flexibility between the amount of education and experience required. They will often allow applicants to meet a total number of years between education and experience. For example, an organization could post a job that requires a bachelor’s degree plus three years of experience in a related field. To allow for people who did not go to college, the organization could allow experience to substitute for education on a year-for-year basis. To allow people with additional education and little experience, the organization might allow a master’s degree substitute for two of the three years of experience required.

It depends on how flexible the organization wants or needs to be.

Starting Salary Range

The starting salary range lets applicants know what the organization is willing to pay for the job. Organizations -- particularly government organizations -- are very reluctant to go outside this range.

The top of the posted range is not necessarily the top of the position’s salary range. Organizations are reluctant to bring in someone at an absolute maximum salary. With a successful track record within the organization, an employee may eventually make more than the posted range.

Sometimes postings will say that the starting salary is “commensurate with skills and experience” or something similar.

This can be frustrating for applicants because people want to know what they can expect to make. Posting a salary as commensurate with skills and experience allows organizations to consider a broad range of candidates and does not lock the hiring manager into offering a salary within a predetermined range.

Application Instructions

Application instructions tell applicants how and when to apply for the job. It is absolutely critical that applicants follow these instructions to the letter. Each directive in the instructions is included for a reason. Applicants may not know why a specific document such as a college transcript is required, but each applicant must provide it. Failing to follow application instructions is one of the common mistakes that will get your application thrown away.