Hobbs grew up in Christchurch. Her mother is director Aileen O'Sullivan.
After studying acting but deciding not to pursue it as a career, she got her start in radio drama productions. She moved into film and was assistant director for Jane Campion's An Angel at My Table. Her directing credits after moving to Australia in the 1990s include Heartbreak High and The Slap. She then worked on the UK series Broadchurch. She began directing episodes of The Crown beginning in season three, and was nominated for an Emmy Award for directing that season's final episode. She won an Emmy Award for directing the season-four episode "War".
She has a daughter and a son. Her husband is director Jonathan Teplitzky.
- Tailor, Leena (14 January 2021). "Meet Jessica Hobbs: The Kiwi filmmaker behind The Crown". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 20 September 2021.
- Burgham, Lydia (19 September 2021). "Emmys: Kiwi director behind The Crown Jessica Hobbs wins award for best director in a drama series". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 20 September 2021.