Job Descriptions and Job Postings

They are not the same

Job descriptions and job postings are often used interchangeably, but they have distinct functions and differences. Let’s clarify the distinctions between the two.



Job descriptions outline the tasks, qualifications, and responsibilities of a specific job.

They are typically created through collaboration between HR, the hiring manager, the compensation team, and sometimes the employee currently performing the job. HR is responsible for ensuring that the job description follows internal and external rules and guidelines, such as job architecture, corporate branding, and diversity policies.Two different eyes. By Soroush Karimi from Unsplash.

The hiring manager or line executive outlines the job’s activities and goals. It is recommended that the employee also review the job description to provide input on their actual duties and skills. The compensation team adds salary and bonus information.

Job descriptions are used to decide compensation structures and evaluation schemes and are often grouped into job families.


Job postings are a marketing tool used for recruiting purposes and are typically displayed on the company’s career website or job board and may be linked to an applicant tracking system. They are designed to attract good candidates and promote the company.

Two similar buildings. By Luisa Frasser from Unsplash.

As such, job postings often omit details such as salary and internal goals but may include information about the company and its values. They may also be less technical and more persuasive in language than job descriptions. Job postings may also include multimedia elements such as pictures and videos, while job descriptions are typically text-based and may be structured for use by other systems like skills analysis or task analysis.

Job descriptions are often kept on an internal platform and may be linked to other tools like HR systems and performance management systems, while job postings are intended for external use.

The bottom line is that job descriptions are the foundation for internal activities such as workforce planning, compensation, or performance management… and externally as a blueprint for creating job postings. They are different in purpose, level of detail, language used, platform used to create and store them, and people involved.

These differences are important to keep in mind for later not running into problems in talent management processes and achieving goals in talent acquisition.

(Pro-Tip: Our Global Job Catalog tool provides you with pre-filled suggestions for extra quick progress in writing job descriptions for large workforces. Send us a note if you are curious to see how it works.)