Contents of Job Description and Job Specification


Contents of Job Description and Job Specification

Contents of job description

A job description is a formal document defining what an employee is supposed to do on a certain job. It summarizes the tasks, responsibilities and duties of a position holder; hence it describes the job not the job holder. It is used by three key stakeholders: the human resources department, the employee or potential employee, and the employee’s supervisor or manager. It is an important tool in recruitment. The manager uses it initially to gain approval and budget to recruit someone for the role. It is then used as part of the advertising program to attract candidates. Once someone has been recruited, the job description is used as the basis for performance management and identifying training and development needs. Although job descriptions vary in structure and form, they all contain three main elements which are; – job identification, job summary and duties and responsibilities. However, other contents such as relation to others, supervision, working conditions etc. may be included.

Job identification or organization position: This includes the job title, alternative title, department, division and plant and code number of the job. The job title identifies and designates the job properly. The department, division etc. indicate the name of department, where it is situated and the location given by the name of the place.

Job summary: this serves two important purposes. First it gives additional identification information when the job title is not adequate; and secondly it gives a summary about that particular job.

Job duties and responsibilities;- This gives a total listing of duties together with some indication of the frequency of occurrence or percentage of the time allocated to each major duty.

Relation to others: – this gives helps the person to locate the job in the organization by indicating the job immediately below or above it in the job hierarchy.

Supervision: – This will give an idea of the number of person to be supervised along with their job titles and the extent of supervision.

Machine: – These will give information about the tools, machines and equipment to be used.

Working conditions: It gives information about the environment in which a job holder must work.

Hazards:it gives the nature of risks of life and their possibilities of occurrence.

Additional Information:-In addition to the above components, most employers’ direct candidates and employees to relevant organizational information such as the company’s vision and values. While the main sections of the job description might be used to determine eligibility for a role, both the job candidate and the employer should consider the organization’s culture and ethics to determine if they are a good fit.

Characteristics of a good job description

A good job description should have the following qualities;-

a) The job description should indicate the scope and nature of work including important relationships.

b) The job description should be clear regarding the work of the position, duties, etc.

c) More specific words should be selected to show;-

i) The kind of work

ii) The degree of complexity

iii) The extent to which problems are standardized

iv) The degree of skills required

v) The extent of worker’s responsibility for each phase of the work.

Limitations of job descriptions

Prescriptive job descriptions may be seen as a hindrance in certain circumstances:

  • Job descriptions may not be suitable for some senior managers as they should have the freedom to take the initiative and find fruitful new directions;
  • Job descriptions may be too inflexible in a rapidly-changing organization, for instance in an area subject to rapid technological change;
  • Other changes in job content may lead to the job description being out of date;
  • The process that an organization uses to create job descriptions may not be optimal.

Contents of job specifications

Job specification is also referred to as man specification and is a statement of minimum acceptable human qualities needed for the job. It gives the knowledge, background and experience that a person should have to perform the work efficiently hence it helps to ‘look’ for the right person for the job. Its main components are

  • Knowledge is an organized body of information that a person mentally possesses as a result of formal education, training, or personal experience.
  • Skill requirements: skills include on the job skills and any specialized competencies.
  • Experience: describe minimum experience required to perform job satisfactorily; may include preferred/desired experience).
  • Abilities: Ability includes physical ability, metal ability, aptitudes.
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