Job Descriptions – Are they Working for You?
Eight tips for writing an effective Job Description
A job description is one of the most important employment documents you can have. A well-written document will help employees understand their responsibilities and continues to provide performance guidance to the employee and his/her supervisor throughout the lifetime of that job. It is also an important recruitment tool and should clearly communicate the basic requirements, specific credentials, skills, attributes and traits needed to enable a superior performance.
To ensure it broadly encompasses all the necessary information, you can use a Job Description Template which can then be adjusted according to your requirements. Every employment position within an organisation needs a foundation document that sets out its specific job requirements.
A job description should have the following information:
· Job Title: For example: Financial Controller.
· Main Purpose: The objective of the person in the designated job title. For example; “To efficiently and effectively lead the organisation’s financial accounting, reporting and control activities in line with best practice”
· Reporting Line: For example; Reporting to the General Manager
· Tasks and Duties: This section contains a brief description of the duties relating to this position. Try to divide the duties in sections. Such as Operations, Sales, Administration, Employment, Safety, etc.
· Key Accountabilities and Indicators of Effectiveness: This is probably one of the most important parts of the job description.
Done correctly, this part should clearly indicate;
1. The areas of key focus of the position (usually 3-5) and;
2. How the employee and the manager will measure the level of success of each
Tip: Try if all possible to quantify and qualify these indicators.
· Skills and Qualifications: List of critical skills, experience and qualifications which are required to be competent in the job.
· Attributes and Traits: It is important to be clear on what kind of traits and personality type you are looking for in an ideal applicant. For example: Tact and diplomacy, systematic, creative, confident communicator etc.
To cement the importance of the document and to indicate that the employee understand the essential functions of the position, ensure that the document is endorsed with signatures from both parties
Things to avoid when writing Job Descriptions
Remember it is an offence to make references to anything that discriminates applicants (e.g. religion, race, sex, age, physical or mental disability, national origin and nationality). Try also to avoid the common phrase “minimum of xx years of experience” as it could be perceived as age discrimination.
The best option is to use a Job Description Template from Signature Staff’s library of over 400 job descriptions.
Author – Mats Eriksson