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9 Elements for Developing a Good Job Description


developing a job descriptionIn continuing with our recent blog articles… 3 Critical Steps for Creating an Efficient Employment Process and How to Perform a Detailed Job Analysis… the first step of the hiring process focused on the job analysis.  Once the job analysis is completed, this becomes the basis for developing a concise job description which we’ll cover in this posting.

A well-written job description is critical for ensuring your employees understand the responsibilities and requirements of a particular job.  It is also a key resource to help you review employee performance, hire employees, develop recruitment advertising and make sure your compensation is competitive so you can attract the most qualified candidates. 

When developing a job description, it is important to be sure you do not violate disability nondiscrimination laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act.  Compliance guidance is available from the Office of Disability Employment Policy and the Job Accommodation Network (JAN).  For more information on recruiting and hiring people with disabilities, please review the Recruiting & Hiring section on Disability.gov.

Here are nine core elements for developing a good, concise job description:

1.  Job Summary Overview

A summary statement is a brief outline of a job's purpose and goals and should be about three or four sentences. The job description details, such as tasks and experience, will be covered in the remaining parts of the job description.

2.  General Information

  • Job title and classification:  The job title should be concise (i.e. Web Developer). Be sure to indicate whether the job is exempt or nonexempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
  • Worksite location
  • Management/reporting responsibilities: Identify whether this position has direct reports and where this position fits on the company organizational chart

3.  Tasks

  • Identify no more than 10 tasks (for example: managing accounts payable, managing payroll administration).  Be as concise as possible and try to keep the task descriptions to one line each.  Be sure to also include a basic statement that communicates other responsibilities that may be required within the scope of this position.
  • The tasks should be organized in a logical manner.  Begin each task description with an action verb such as develop, organize, manage, create, oversee or coordinate.
  • When describing each task, include the benefit of the task when possible.  For example: “Update marketing database to assure all client information is current”.          

4.  Skills

  • Identify the skills, expertise and knowledge base necessary to perform each task listed in the job description.
  • Describe any special skills that require additional training, certification, etc.

5.  Experience

  • Identify relevant past experience required.
  • Include any special professional certifications that may be required.
  • Include any special education requirements.

6.  Work Conditions

  • Work hours
  • Travel requirements
  • Unusual environmental conditions

7.  Compensation

  • Pay range and benefits information
  • Bonuses and any other incentives

8.  Company Description

It’s important to include a description of the company as well.  You want to sell the candidates on working for your company so it is important to make a great first impression.

9.  Disclaimers

A disclaimer can be typically placed at the end of the job description to provide flexibility in adding or changing job responsibilities.  The following is an example of this type of disclaimer:  “This job description may be changed to include new responsibilities and tasks or change existing ones as management deems necessary.”

Review Job Descriptions Regularly
It’s a good idea to review job descriptions on a regular basis as the tasks, responsibilities and requirements may change.  In addition, you want to make sure you have realistic expectations about the jobs being performed.

Look for Friday’s Blog Posting on How to Create an Effective Job Posting!



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