Most candidates and employees are familiar with the terms “job posting” and “job description.” While both terms may be used interchangeably, there’s a difference between them.

What’s the difference between them?

In technical terms, a job description is a document that is created and shared internally by a company with employees. It  is used primarily by managers and supervisors, human resource professionals, and company employees. It provides each with a clear understanding of the position and its requirements.

On the other hand, a job posting is an external document that serves as an advertisement for the available jobs in the organization. A job posting is an important recruitment tool. The posting is placed on job boards and websites to attract the right potential employees to the position.

The importance and purpose of each

Besides the technical difference that one is an internal document while the other is an external one, there lies a difference served by each document. Here are key points to note:

Job description
  • This document may serve as a reference point for making important HR-related decisions. Many companies consider it as a compliance document, which clearly states the details of the position, including employees’ roles, duties, and skillsets.
  • When it comes to clarifying internal expectations—of both the organization and its employees—a job description holds the utmost importance. The document can help the management of the company to set salaries, conduct performance reviews, and identify skill-development paths. And, ensure that the right person is at the right job.
  • Key components of a good job description are: Job Title and Reporting Structure, Job Summary, FLSA Status, Compensation, Essential Duties, Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities, Minimum Qualifications, and any Physical Requirements.
Job Posting
  • The posting introduces a job opening to prospective candidates and describes the requirements. The aim of the advertisement is to let potential candidates know about the open role. The content of a job posting is different from that of a job description. The former ‘markets’ the recruiting organization, while the latter describes the details role in the organization.
  • Further, it describes the various duties, responsibilities, and requirements for the position. The advertisement should compel job seekers to consider the position and should grab the attention of the right candidates.
  • Key components include job title, company information, position overview, job location, selection criteria, compensation range, and contact information.
  • Also, check out these tips on improving job postings from LinkedIn.
How to write a job description and a job posting

While writing a job description and a job posting, organizations should be clear about their recruiting goals and strategies in addition to internal needs. Both documents work in tandem to enhance the company’s employment efforts. A job description serves as the basis for the posting.  It is longer with more specifics, since it must cover all essential details of the job, whereas the job posting is more concise and easier to read and understood more quickly by candidates. Understanding the differences between the two documents is key to achieving an organization’s hiring goals.

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