How To Write A Job Description - Human Resources Hero

How To Write A Job Description

Job descriptions are one of the most important HR tools you can have in your business. As a general rule, the better your job descriptions are, the better your candidates will be. The best job descriptions will give people a sense of what it will be like to work at your business.

Do I need a job description?

Use your job descriptions to let applicants know if you are big or small, funky or buttoned up, fast-paced or relaxed. If your company requires employees to wear a tie, include it in your job description. Some candidates might just save themselves the time of applying. However, others won’t think of working for a company that doesn’t require ties at work. 

Take the time to be detailed in your job descriptions. The essential duties and qualifications in your job descriptions will be used as a guide for almost every part of the employee lifecycle.  Recruiting, determining salary ranges, creating a standard for performance reviews, training, and succession planning all depend on job descriptions. A good job description can also provide guidance and legal protection for reasonable accommodation decisions and termination. 

With all this at stake, it’s hard to underestimate the value of a good job description. But how exactly do you create one?

Three steps to creating a job description

Writing a job description is a task that may seem simple but is actually a complex undertaking. 

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Do Your Research

The first step in writing a job description is to gather the required information needed to generate the description. The job analysis will assist you in creating a complete and accurate job description. List each job task separately and in as much detail as possible. For example, rather than a blanket statement like “generates reports,” use a more detailed description like “Uses SAP to generate and distribute weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual financial reports under the direction of the CFO.” The more specific you can be, the better.

Conducting a job analysis for an existing position can involve several methods of gathering information. One way to conduct a job analysis is to send a survey to the current employees in the position. You can also conduct interviews with current employees to understand their tasks’ details and spend time observing employees and documenting their tasks. If you are creating a job description from scratch or don’t have the time for thorough observation, you might want to consider hiring an HR professional to utilize their skills to write your job descriptions.

Organize and Evaluate

After you have a detailed list of job duties, It’s time to organize the information. First, outline the essential functions, experience, skills, and education necessary for the role. Next you should group all the job tasks into similar categories. This will help narrow down a long list of tasks into a much shorter list.  Finally, you can weigh the job duties according to their importance to the job and the company and the amount of time being spent on each duty. Remember to keep the Americans with Disabilities Act requirements in mind when determining a position’s essential functions and deciding what duties may be assigned to other employees in the company. Each physical requirement essential to the job – but not listed in the job description – is a potential area needing a reasonable accommodation plan for in the future.

Set Your Salary Ranges

Now it’s time to set salary ranges or pay grades for your specific job titles. Fair and equitable compensation is essential for each position in your company. Here you may want to conduct some online salary research or get assistance from a professional compensation and benefits consulting organization, or conduct your own market survey by speaking with local businesses of a similar size and Industry. 

Make sure your job descriptions include

As a general rule, every job description will include the following:

  • A job  title
  • The title of the employee’s direct report or manager 
  • The essential and preferred Knowledge, Skills, Abilities (KSA’s), experience, and education, including any industry-specific designations or certifications
  •  Job duties
  • Physical requirements of the job 
  • The salary range or grade 
  • Any special working conditions that the employee should be aware of 
  • It’s also helpful to include the company mission or vision, the standard benefits offered to all employees, educational and promotional opportunities, and a brief statement about why the candidate would enjoy working for the company. 

While taking the time to create solid job descriptions may seem daunting, the return on investment of all this painstaking data collection will help ensure that your organization is getting the most from its investment in employees. Good job descriptions help make your company attractive to external candidates, increase employee loyalty to your organization, and help you get a firm grasp on the cost associated with recruiting, interviewing, hiring, and training a new employee. It’s well worth the time and effort. 

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