Job descriptions are useful for staff recruitment, selection, appraisal, evaluation and training. A well written job description will clearly explain the duties, responsibilities, limitations and accountability of a role.
This page will give you a basic overview of what a job description is and provide you with links to expertly written job descriptions that you can use as guides.
What is a job description
A well written one will set out the overall objectives of a role, the skills needed of anyone who wishes to apply and will list the duties they will be expected to perform. They are useful for HR staff as well as applicants, and are vital for candidate attraction and role definition.
Importance of job descriptions
They can save an employer a considerable amount of time and effort simply by encouraging applications from the best candidates and dissuading unsuitable ones. Essentially they will;
Grab the attention of the best candidates.
Help jobseekers to quickly see if they are suitable for a job.
Assist employers to identify key tasks that employees need to perform.
They give the job applicant an idea of the skills, qualifications and abilities needed to match the job.
At staff appraisal time or when a promotion is being considered they can be useful when judging an employees performance.
They can act as a screening tool by dissuading unsuitable applicants from applying.
Writing up a job description
It’s not as difficult as it seems. The trick is to carry out a thorough analysis of the job being advertised and gather as much information as possible so that you have a clear understanding of it’s responsibilities and duties.
They should be brief, clear, concise, to the point and well written.
If you are writing more than one job description the try to have a consistent format.
Over time, work duties and roles change, so it’s best to update your job descriptions on a regular basis, rather than continually use the same one.
Do not under-state or over-state the requirements of the job.
These should be listed in order of importance.
Try to list at least 10 duties.
Before writing a duty, ask if it’s important and question what it will achieve.
Use bullet points to list these.
What to include in a job description
Scope for progression and promotion
Required education and qualifications from an applicant.
How to apply
Employer contact details (name, telephone and email address)
Employers culture, identity and sector.
Who the role is responsible to.
Closing date for applications.
Job start date
Salary and benefits available
Information about the employer / company.
Disclaimer (typically at the bottom, it should stress that the job description is not an exhaustive or comprehensive list of all possible job responsibilities and tasks).
Be sure to avoid any discriminatory language in a Job Description.