A well-written job description is vitally important to making sure your employees understand a job’s responsibilities and requirements. 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 best talent.
When developing your job description, be sure to comply with 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 see the U.S. Department of Labor’s page on Hiring People with Disabilities.
The following are a number of the major components of a good job description:
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.
- Job title and classification—the job title should be concise (e.g., Senior C# Developer). Be sure to indicate whether the job is exempt or nonexempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
- Worksite location
- Management/reporting responsibilities –- identify this position in terms of direct reports and position in the company organization chart
- Identify no more than 10 tasks (for example, managing accounts payable, managing payroll administration). Be as concise as possible–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.
- Your tasks should be organized in a logical manner. Begin each task description with an action verb such as develop, organize or coordinate.
- When describing each task, include the purpose of the task when possible. For example: “Update marketing database to assure all client information is current”.
- 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.
- Identify relevant past experience required.
- Include any special professional certifications that may be required.
- Include any special education requirements.
- Work hours
- Travel requirements
- Unusual environmental conditions
- Pay range and benefits information
- Bonuses and any other incentives
- When using the job description for recruiting purposes, it’s important to include a description of the company as well. Remember, you are selling the candidates on working for your company–so it is important to make a great first impression.
- 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 a 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 tasks and requirements may change. In addition, you want to make sure you have realistic expectations about the jobs being performed.