Job Descriptions Made Simple

Writing job descriptions can be as complicated as you want them to be. In all my years of recruiting, there are some accepted conventions that seem to be in every good one.

Remember the purpose here is to have a clear outline of duties and responsibilities to make the screening process as direct and simple as possible. Putting on my legal hat here,though I'm not claiming to be a lawyer, it also is good practice to have a documented format as part of your hiring criteria. (For more on that contact a good employment lawyer.)

Required Elements

Here the categories that should be addressed are with a brief overview of each;

Job Parameters – The basic who, what, where and when of a job. What is the job title and department? Who does it report to? Where is the job located? (if necessary) and what is the schedule (days/hours) of the position if necessary?

Responsibilities – This is where you describe as best as possible the specific responsibilities of the position. Don't get too carried away here. If you can describe 85% of the tasks that are to be accomplished here you have gone a long way toward a good responsibilities section.

Skills/Knowledge/Abilities – This is sometimes described as qualifications but what you are really trying to convey here is the specific skills, required knowledge and the special abilities required for a position.

Salary/Benefits – This section includes the salary range, whether or not this is a salary or hourly position and are there any fringe benefits beyond the standard employee benefits package.

Optional Elements

Finally, I have noticed a trend in some of the job outlines that have come across my desk. This trend has some positive qualities if done correctly but it can also be problematic and difficult to quantify as part of a useful and functional format.

This section is a deliverable or expectations section. In this section you define what a successful candidate will achieve in a certain period of time. The positive aspect of this section is that if done properly, it gives a candidate a good idea of what is expected of them in this position.

While I like the forward looking aspect of this, my personal opinion is that this belongs in an offer letter or job analysis. In the sample job description, we will not use this section. offer letter or job analysis . In the sample job description, we will not use this section. Another good resource for format ideas is the small business administration

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