How to Create the Perfect Catholic Job Description

How to Create the Perfect Catholic Job Description

A detailed and well-thought-out Catholic job description will help you attract the highest-quality candidates. Not only will this save you time and money in the long run, but it will also make candidates more likely to consider your posting.

1. Ease of reading

If there’s one thing you take away from this article, it should be this: make your descriptions scannable. Notice that I didn’t say readable – I said scannable. Do you know how many applications it takes before a candidate lands a job? Research shows it can take anywhere from 21 to 80 applications before an applicant gets an offer. This means that your candidates have likely seen at least 20 application forms before yours at minimum.

Candidates looking for work are likely to scan through applications looking for keywords and phrases more than reading every word. You want to structure your posting with a tired candidate in mind. Avoid chunky blocks of text and opt for shorter paragraphs, subheadings, and bullet points wherever possible. Whether you’re getting a candidate in the first five or first fifty applications, you want to make sure they can easily digest the information you have to offer. Try running your posting through a Flesch reading ease calculator if you want a leg up.

2. Details

You don’t need to share every minute detail, but you need to effectively hit all the significant points. Not only do you want to lay out the basic information of what the applicant will be doing, but you also need to lay out clear expectations and requirements. You want to lay out job requirements (obviously) but also lay out cultural and workplace expectations. If you’re leading your organization by faith, then you’re looking for someone with the hard and soft skills necessary to be a mission fit.

An excellent Catholic job description will have both a “minimum required skills section” and a “desired skills section.” For example, at a minimum, you want someone who has two years of experience, but you would prefer someone with at least four. This will help candidates who hit the minimum requirements but aren’t sure they’re the ideal candidate to self-select in or out of the application process.

3. Expectations

The best job applications clearly describe the kind of person that you’re looking for, and lay out clear expectations on a timeline. You want to have your minimum requirements and daily activities, but also having a timeline of requirements is helpful. If you can lay out requirements for the first week, month, three months, six months, and year, you’re only going to get a more knowledgeable applicant. Usually, it will look like a learning/onboarding phase, then a transition into more responsibility with some supervision, eventually becoming full autonomy and accountability.
Clear expectations in a job description refer to the specific responsibilities, duties, and performance standards that an employer expects from a job candidate or employee in a particular position. These expectations should be clearly stated and defined in the job description to ensure that the candidate or employee understands what is required of them in terms of job performance and behavior.

Some examples of clear expectations that may be included in a Catholic job description are:

  • Compliance ChecklistJob duties and responsibilities: The specific tasks and responsibilities that the employee will be expected to perform on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.
  • Performance standards: The specific measurable goals or targets that the employee must achieve within a certain time frame.
  • Qualifications: The minimum education, experience, or skill requirements that the employee must possess to be considered for the position.
  • Work schedule: The expected work hours and days of the week that the employee will be required to work.
  • Code of conduct: The expected behaviors and attitudes that the employee must exhibit while working for the company, such as professionalism, teamwork, and respect for others.
  • Remote vs. In Office: Make sure you clarify if your employee will be required to commute. The world is transitioning quickly to remote hiring, so this is now a must on all job descriptions.

4. How does faith apply?

You would be surprised at the number of Catholic job descriptions that don’t explicitly state the faith element of the job. Yes, you’re working for the Church, so there’s faith involved. Do you offer time for daily mass during the workday? Do you encourage small breaks for personal prayer or meditation throughout the day? What about offering a day off each quarter to volunteer? You want to make sure the intricate details of your values are laid out in an obvious manner.

5. Salary and benefits

Be transparent about your salary and benefits offerings. No, “competitive salary and benefits package” is not a transparent answer. Yes, frequently salary is commensurate with experience so one number won’t fit all candidates. Include a range of salaries then. In the long run, you will save yourself (and any applicants) time by being up front about how much you’re willing to compensate for the position you’re offering. Extending a job offer is a bad time to realize that “competitive” means something different to you and your applicant.

Do you want a frame of reference for a Catholic job description to start with? Both of these postings lay out requirements, salary, and the ideal candidate.

6. Keywords

You want to ensure that you have the relevant keywords and key phrases in your Catholic job description. If you’re looking to hire a copywriter, but your job posting says “writer” or “content writer,” you may miss out on qualified applicants. Likely, you won’t miss many as long as you’re close but write your descriptions as you would if searching for the job yourself.

If you have specific hard skills required (Quickbooks, Excel, Pro Tools, etc.), make sure those are included by name. You may have candidates searching by skills instead of job titles. In the same vein, don’t use unique, internal terms that your applicants won’t be searching for. Even if you refer to your CFO in-house as “money wizard,” make sure “CFO” is in the description too. Also, if you’re hiring for a position as a 1099 instead of a W2, please make that clear. You might think that’s obvious, but you’d be surprised.

7. Timeline 

Lastly, the hiring process can be long and arduous for the candidate and the employer. Think back to the last time you were in a hiring process. Wouldn’t you have preferred it to be an efficient, timely process? Wouldn’t you have liked to get a reply, no matter how brief, even if you weren’t going to be called in for an interview? Lay out how long the process will take in your Catholic job description (even if just a reasonable estimate): how many rounds of interviews you plan on conducting, and when candidates can expect to get a response.

As a matter of courtesy, respond to all applicants, even a brief “thank you for your application” to the ones you’re not going to interview.

Woman Thumbs UpIn Brief

You want to set people up for success as early as possible. Spending quality time putting together your Catholic Job Description will enable candidates to quickly get to know you and your company and evaluate themselves well before your interviews. And don’t forget to take the whole process to prayer. The ideal candidate will be exactly what God has in store for them and for you.


About the Author:

Joe Coleman is a freelance writer, editor, and audio production consultant. He holds a BA in Philosophy from Loyola Marymount University (and actually uses it from time to time). A former fellow at KNOM Catholic Radio in Western Alaska, he got his start as an on-air host, producer, and news writer. Currently, you can find him in Southern California writing about national parks, outdoor gear, and the role of Catholics in the business world.


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