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How to write a good job description for a psychology role

Published on: 13 Nov 2023

Job descriptions are about much more than defining a role.

They’re your best tool to attract and inspire the best candidate for your job in psychology and strengthen your employer brand in the process.

Having an accurate list of responsibilities and skills is essential to that.

You can’t run a successful recruitment process without getting the job description right. It’s also an important document for employees to refer to throughout their time with you.

First and foremost, though, it’s about finding the right person.

Follow our top tips and, in a sea of thousands of job descriptions in the psychology field, make yours stand out.

Get the title right

You may think the job title is a given, but according to Indeed checking it’s fit for purpose is a must. 

It’s the first thing candidates see when they’re job hunting, and your words will need to match their search on jobs apps and websites.

So make sure you use every word to communicate your role effectively, including:

•    Focusing on the job’s core role
•    Including the level of seniority
•    Avoiding jargon
•    Including key job search words

Cover the essentials, but only just

Your HR department will have their own requirements, but these are the essential details you should include in a job description for your psychology role:

•    Job title
•    Who the role reports to, and where it sits within the team and organisation
•    Main areas of responsibility and objectives
•    Required / desired education, training and experience
•    The abilities and personality traits you’re looking for
•    Opportunities for promotion and progression
•    Description of the organisation’s culture and values
•    Location and travel expectations
•    Salary 
•    Other benefits

So far, so easy. But many job descriptions are unnecessarily long. 

Does that long description of the organisation need to be there in full? Why not link to your website for information instead.

Be realistic

Long lists of ‘essential’ experience and qualities can be intimidating.

Work out what you most want to see in a candidate and cut everything else out.

Why put off someone who might be ideal  by demanding skills which aren’t essential to the role?

And be truthful about the main duties of the role. If the job has changed since the last time the post was hired for, take the time to review and update the description.

If you misrepresent the role, you might not find the candidate you’re looking for and could be back recruiting again in a few months’ time.

According to LinkedIn, describing a day in the life of the job is great practice. Of course this involves consulting your team - both the hiring manager and others who have held that role – which is good advice in itself.

Take time over how it looks and reads

Remember you’re marketing your organisation. Will candidates get a good picture of your culture and values by reading this document, or is it just a list of what you want? 

Think about what is it that makes where you work so good, or different. Make sure that you communicate that, not just through the specifics, but the tone of what you write.

Be personable. You’re hoping someone will be able to imagine themselves in the role, so replace ‘the ideal candidate’ with ‘you’.

Pay attention to how the text is laid out.

You can break up longer sections with engaging subheadings and get someone with an eye for design to ensure the document is laid out attractively. See a great example of a job description for a psychologist

And finally, lay out the top perks and benefits.

If you have a reputation for developing people, give some examples of what might be on offer.

If the organisation has flexible or hybrid working, be specific about what you usually allow. If there’s a great office culture, say so. 

Find the perfect candidate for your job in psychology

By following these steps, you should be well on your way to finding a candidate that’s a great fit.

Once you’ve finished writing your job description, read our advice on interviewing candidates and tips on how to hire the right candidate.

Find out how you can attract the best talent or email to speak to the Jobs in Psychology advertising team.