Job descriptions are an essential part of hiring and managing your employees. These written summaries ensure your applicants and employees understand their roles and what they need to do to be held accountable.
Job descriptions also:
Help attract the right job candidates
Describe the major areas of an employee’s job or position
Serve as a major basis for outlining performance expectations, job training, job evaluation and career advancement
Provide a reference point for compensation decisions and unfair hiring practices
A job description should be practical, clear and accurate to effectively define your needs. Good job descriptions typically begin with a careful analysis of the important facts about a job such as:
Individual tasks involved
The methods used to complete the tasks
The purpose and responsibilities of the job
The relationship of the job to other jobs
Qualifications needed for the job
What to Avoid
Don’t be inflexible with your job description. Jobs are subject to change for personal growth, organizational development and/or evolution of new technologies. A flexible job description encourages employees to grow within their position and contribute over time to your overall business.
What to Include
Job descriptions typically include:
Job objective or overall purpose statement
Summary of the general nature and level of the job
Description of the broad function and scope of the position
List of duties or tasks performed critical to success
Key functional and relational responsibilities in order of significance
Description of the relationships and roles within the company, including supervisory positions, subordinating roles and other working relationships
Additional Items for Job Descriptions for Recruiting Situations
Job specifications, standards, and requirements
Job location where the work will be performed
Equipment to be used in the performance of the job
Collective Bargaining Agreements if your company’s employees are members of a union
Proper Language in the Job Description
Keep each statement in the job description crisp and clear:
Structure your sentences in classic verb/object and explanatory phrases. Since the occupant of the job is the subject of your sentence, it may be eliminated. For example, a sentence pertaining to the description of a receptionist position might read: “Greets office visitors and personnel in a friendly and sincere manner.”
Always use the present tense of verbs.
If necessary, use explanatory phrases telling why, how, where, or how often to add meaning and clarity (e.g. “Collects all employee time sheets on a bi-weekly basis for payroll purposes.”)
Omit any unnecessary articles such as “a,” “an,” “the,” or other words for an easy-to-understand description.
Use unbiased terminology. For example, use the he/she approach or construct sentences in such a way that gender pronouns are not required.
Avoid using adverbs or adjectives that are subject to interpretation such as “frequently,” “some,” “complex,” “occasional,” and “several.”
Need help writing job descriptions? Talk to one of our small business counselors today.