How to write the perfect engineering job description

To attract the top engineering talent, you need a compelling, accurate and intriguing job description. Simple in theory, but at RTRS, we see many companies fail at this first hurdle. With an annual shortfall of between 31,000 – 59,000 engineers, it’s crucial that your job description stands out – and we’re here to help.

A well-written engineering job description acts as a marketing, recruitment, business and performance tool. It helps candidates to understand what the engineering position will allow them to achieve, that they have the ability to perform the role and that they will be sufficiently challenged. It also saves recruiting companies time by only attracting the right candidates, but job descriptions can be difficult to draft. We recommend starting with the following format to make writing your next job description a breeze.

Engineering job title

While your next recruit might need ninja skills to successfully deliver your projects, using an obscure job title makes your vacancy difficult for candidates to find or understand. Keep it specific, avoid jargon and add specialisms if required.

Engineering job summary

This is the hook that briefly summarises the company and the position in a way that compels the engineering candidate to read on. Keep it short and snappy, and include details such as the location and line of reporting.

Responsibilities and duties

Here’s where you get down to the nitty-gritty; what they’ll be doing and delivering on. Include:

Day-to-day responsibilities

Ensure that this is clear, accurate and honest. If someone is going to be spending a lot of time completing their own admin, they’ll want to know this upfront, rather than on their first day.

Strategic responsibilities

Detail how the engineer will contribute to the overall success of the business and what longer-term duties they will be responsible for delivering.

It’s important to keep this section as focused and as short as possible, to avoid turning people off, while also accurately reflecting what the role requires. Try to use outcome-based statements, explaining what the engineer will be doing, not how to do it, and focus on key deliverables. If the position requires a spot of photocopying once a year, it’s not worth mentioning here.

Skills and qualifications

This is the difficult part; deciding the essential skills, without dissuading candidates who would otherwise be a good fit. Discuss these requirements with the manager, team and, if possible, the previous job holder.

Outline realistic, essential and desirable skills, including hard skills (such as education and qualifications) and soft skills (such as communication, problem-solving and personality traits). Be specific; if you need someone advanced in Excel, asking for “computer literate” won’t return the candidate you require. Similarly, if you need someone to explain complex technical information to non-technical members of staff, spell it out rather than assuming “good communication skills” will attract your ideal engineer.

Salary and benefits

Salary and benefits play an important part in why we come to work. Including these in the job description allows engineering candidates to decide if the pay is worth the work involved.

Speak to one of our recruitment consultants to determine a competitive salary for the position, and list all of the benefits that make working for you so great. Flexible working, free parking, subsidised food – if you offer it, shout about it.

Mistakes to avoid

The top mistakes to avoid are:

  • Going into too much detail
  • Having unrealistic expectations
  • Using internal jargon
  • Not involving the relevant people
  • Being discriminatory
  • Not maintaining it

By following our top tips, you’ll have the perfect job description in no time and, if you’re struggling, speak to one of our consultants for their help and advice.

If you need help recruiting, get in touch or submit an enquiry – we’d be happy to help!