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Writing Job Descriptions
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Writing Job Descriptions

Job descriptions play a crucial role in developing staffing programs, enhancing employee communication. They are also a helpful tool when it comes to attracting top talent. To serve an organization efficiently and effectively, they must contain several essential factors. However, there are challenges businesses face when creating job descriptions. Therefore, they must be aware of a job description’s purpose and know what to include in them.

Job Description Defined

A job description is a statement in writing that identifies a specific job’s role, duties, responsibilities, requirements, qualifications, and reporting relationships. It also corresponds to the company’s vision. They are developed based on job analysis information, skill, competency requirements, and the organization’s needs to generate work. If they’re designed and maintained as a living document, they’ll serve a company well. And they should be regularly updated to reflect changes, thus acting as a plan instead of an irrelevant document.

Why Are Relevant Job Descriptions Important to an Organization?

There are a significant number of reasons why writing and maintaining job descriptions is vital to an organization.

1.     They help ensure you’re hiring the best talent

Job descriptions can help potential employees understand if the role is a good fit. They also, assist organizations with making better hiring decisions.

2.     They establish employee accountability

Job descriptions help create standards for periodic performance reviews and evaluations.

3.     They encourage increased productivity

When your employees understand their job demands and expectations, they’re more likely to ensure their output rises to that expectation.

4.     They mitigate legal risk and decrease liability

There is no law requiring that an organization establishes written job descriptions. However, they can serve as helpful legal documentation if an employee files a lawsuit.

5.     They ensure staff duties align with the company’s vision

6.     They assist with creating interview questions

7.     If expectations and requirements aren’t met, they can help determine where training is needed

8.     They support the development of compensation plans

Now that we’ve covered why job descriptions can significantly impact an organization, how should they be written? What components should you include for them to serve the organization and its employees well?

How to Write Effective Job Descriptions

Before you begin writing your job descriptions, consider analyzing the job itself. Gather information about duties and responsibilities and observe similar or identical jobs as people are performing them. You can also interview employees and supervisors. Consulting with outside resources can also be extremely helpful if you’re a new business or even a seasoned one.  An example would be the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook.

After you’ve obtained adequate information, it’s time to begin putting everything together!

1.     Start with the purpose of the position.

First you must be able to clearly define why this job exists and what role does it play in the company’s business.

2.     Define the job title

Make sure your title is clear, informative, direct, and not too jargony.

3.     Consider the potential employee as you write

While maintaining honesty, it’s good practice to create the description with enticement. For example, showcase the offer, details of the position, and the advantages (e.g., higher than market pay rate or exceptional benefits).

4.     Create both a high-level and detailed list of critical responsibilities and duties

5.     Describe expected job experience, qualifications, knowledge, skills, and required abilities

6.     List the values expected from both the employees and staff

7.     Include any specific information, such as working conditions, minimum physical requirements, and whether travel is required

8.     Incorporate if the position is on-location or telecommuting

After finalizing your job description, make sure your candidates can find it. And consider sharing it on job boards and social media. Upon completing the hiring process, have your employee and supervisor review the description for confirmation and clarification.

Job Description Challenges

A quick note about challenges surrounding job descriptions. While details are necessary, employees can use them as leverage within a lawsuit, such as a wrongful termination suit. The employee can claim that the job they performed wasn’t part of their job description.  Job scope, duties, and responsibilities can also change with time. In addition, job descriptions can quickly become outdated in an ever-changing work environment.

Consider including a disclaimer stating that duties and responsibilities are not comprehensive and that you may assign additional tasks. You can also clarify that the job scope may change in conjunction with the company’s needs. You could reduce legal risk by adding phrases like, “…and other responsibilities as required.” And it’s a good practice to periodically review your job descriptions (at least once a year) to maintain accuracy. You can then update information as needed (e.g., duties, responsibilities, and scope).

Job descriptions are an essential communication resource for organizations. While there are several challenges you may face when writing job descriptions, they can significantly benefit your business. So, if you’re looking for support with writing compelling job descriptions, call us today! At Belfield Management Solutions, we aim to help take your business to the next level of success!