Recruiting Trifecta: Job Descriptions, Job Ads & KRAs

Job description, job ad, key result areas (KRAs)… they’re all similar, but they’re certainly not the same. We know HR lingo can be confusing, so we’re here to tone down the jargon and explain the role of each of these three vital documents and how they contribute to setting up a candidate for long-term success. 


First Comes the Job Description

If you’re in the market for new talent, one of the first steps in the recruiting process is detailing what the new role entails. Getting down on paper, in a paragraph or two, what day-to-day responsibilities this employee would take on will help you confirm a need for this role. It may even shed light on a need for multiple hires if the workload seems extreme or disjointed. 


At its core, a job description should offer a clear understanding of whether a person has what it takes to do the job – or if it would even interest them. Make sure you include the following in a job description: 

  • The title of the role
  • The role’s main responsibilities (both day-to-day as well as longer-term objectives)
  • The skills necessary to do the job (what talents a candidate should already bring to the table, as well as any skills the person is expected to learn on the job)


A job description is an internal tool catered to a specific employee and can be viewed as the agreement between the employer and employee regarding what’s expected in terms of job performance. It’s a living document that can (and should) be updated as often as the team member’s responsibilities change. It makes sense for managers to do a check-in on the description of their employees at least annually. The description should live in the employee’s personnel file so HR always has quick access to the up-to-date version. This practice especially comes in handy if ever the team member is injured and must provide their doctor with an explanation of their daily work environment and the physical requirements this entails.


Next Comes the Job Ad

Unlike the job description, the purpose of a job ad is external: to attract top talent to apply for the role. It’s the information you post to job sites, on your website, etc., and should link back to your internal applicant tracking system (ATS) if you’ve got one. Everything included in the job ad should be written for candidates, so get in the mindset of your ideal hire when writing the ad. Not to toot our own horns, but successful recruiters have some real marketing know-how in order to make job ads stand out without biased language or exaggeration. After all, attracting candidates on job boards is a highly competitive game.


What makes up a job ad? Here is the breakdown of what you’ll typically find:

  • An outfacing version of the job description. Limit internal jargon so that an external candidate would be able to understand. Again, be sure to talk about the role responsibilities and necessary skills in a way that speaks to the candidates. 
  • Information about the organization. Everyone wants to know who they will potentially be working for. Be sure to include general details about the company, like how long it’s been in business, how it stands apart from the competition, and any awards or recognition it’s received. Humblebragging is welcome.
  • What it’s like to work at the organization. It’s important to promote your business’s positive employee experience. The job ad is the place to do it. Are there core values your company stands by? Is there a particular perk employees love that’s worth highlighting? Anything that can give candidates a sense of how it will feel to work with your company should be included.
  • Benefits and salary details. Outline what is included in the employee benefits package that will be applicable to this new hire. If appropriate, candidates appreciate any information you can offer regarding salary range or growth potential for a role. Some states require salary information on job ads, but for those that do not, including this information is advised as it helps eliminate candidates who are out of your price range up front. Not to mention compensation transparency is an expectation in the labor market these days.
  • Operational details. From a job ad, candidates should know the specifics like where they would be expected to work (remotely, in an office, traveling to multiple offices or client locations, etc.), what hours they’d work, how many hours, and their FLSA classification – whether they are exempt from overtime or if they could earn overtime. 


Then Comes the KRA

For the non-HR folks out there, the KRA, or Key Result Area, may be a total mystery. This useful tool comes into play during the onboarding process once a candidate is hired. Similar to the job description and job ad, a KRA offers important details about the expectations of the role. However, the KRA gets a lot more specific. 


The KRA is all about goals. An employee may have one major Key Result Area or may have multiple Key Result Areas. These are the performance objectives the team member will be accountable for and held to. There should be no question what a new team member’s KRA is by the time they’re onboarded. Every KRA must be measurable and the best KRAs are quantifiable. This means a leader can objectively know whether or not an employee is succeeding in their role based on meeting, exceeding, or falling short in a Key Result Area. 


Drafting a KRA, job ad, and job description may seem like overkill, but all three are necessary to hire and onboard a candidate who will be happy and successful in their role for the long term. These documents help your new employee understand the role they’re taking on, the company and culture they’re joining, what is expected of them, and how their efforts are contributing to the company overall. Avoid the wasted effort, discontent, and turnover caused by directionless new hires who have been sold a job that doesn’t exist. (According to Employee Benefit News, employers spend an average of 33% of a worker’s annual salary to replace just one employee.) Invest a few hours in thoughtfully creating these three documents and see your hiring improve and your employee satisfaction increase. 

Still unsure of where to start? Partnering with our team means you can take the guesswork out of your candidate search and trust that the right person will join your team ready to hit the ground running. Reach out today to learn more about Montani’s recruiting services.

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