Common Position Description Mistakes 

by Jun 1, 2023All Posts, Recruitment

According to recent ELMO Benchmark Surveys (2021), the average cost of recruiting and hiring in Australia is approximately $23,000 per new hire. This statistic alone emphasises the need for employers to get this process right, with the correct approach saving you time, productivity, and money.   

In the HR Sector, position descriptions are seen as critical recruitment and onboarding documents. They assist in the development of job advertisements, determine the correct Award and corresponding renumeration, influence the talent pool that you attract and assist in the development of a comprehensive Employment Agreement for role management. There are many simple, yet common mistakes that businesses make in developing position descriptions and today we are going to share some of these with you.



Position descriptions need to be specific to the role and expectations that need filling in your business. They should convey company culture through the use of tone and language, appealing to and attracting the right candidates. Within this you need to avoid the use of generic language and formats that may see your advert quickly overlooked. For example, basic qualification lists that look like they have been copy and pasted opposed to generated specifically. 


Use language that is understood and directed at your intended audience. Avoid the use of language such as ‘rock star’ ‘KPI’s’, as this loose wording will not relate to all candidates. This could see many potential candidates disregard a position as they may not believe they have the experience. Alternatively, they may see the use of terminology as unprofessional and an indicator of workplace culture.

Gender Neutral  

Keep your language gender neutral. It is becoming increasingly important that businesses do more than show respect for diversity. This can be achieved by normalising and modelling inclusive practices, content and dialogue from the beginning of the recruitment process. Incorrect use or overuse of a gender reference or associated adjectives may indeed see you miss out on your next best employee! It could be seen as a simple oversight, but to your audience it can be perceived as an indicator of culture. 


A position description should be detailed and all encompassing. However, you need to be mindful of your audience and their time, ensuring you input the critical and priority components of the role clearly and concisely. Content heavy position descriptions will see your advertisements skimmed or misinterpreted, which may well see you attract the wrong applicants. 

Bullet points and categories within position descriptions make for easy navigation and reading, ensuring that the audience can easily determine if this role is of interest or suitable to their skills, qualifications, and capacities. Do not allow your formatting to be the reasoning behind your lack of applicants or receipt of suitably experienced ones.  

SEO Inclusive 

Often more than not, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is forgotten, but this is an area that you must not forget. It is vital that your position description title and meta descriptor (online blurb), have relative role information and key words to ensure that search engines direct traffic towards your advertisement. You can further enhance this through the placement of links within and to your content and via social media marketing! 

If done well, a position description can streamline the recruitment and onboarding processes. It defines role requirements for new hires, providing a benchmark of expectations and associated compensation. At AHR we find position descriptions a necessary means to developing a comprehensive employment agreement as these documents need to support and be reflective of each other for best practice.  

If you are looking to relieve some of the stress or costings associated with your current recruitment and onboarding processes, the AHR Team can help you. We can provide you with the necessary templates, develop a framework in which we guide and show you ‘how to do’, or we can do it for you by meeting with yourself and stakeholders to gather the required information to develop position descriptions and other associated documents on your behalf.

Call 1800 577 515 today and allow us to spare you time so you can focus on your business needs.  

ELMO. (2021). 2021 HR industry benchmark report. Elmo Software. 

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