Writing Job Descriptions

A job description is a written statement of what the worker actually does, how he or she does it and what the job’s working conditions are. You use this information to write a job specification; this list the knowledge, abilities and skills required to perform the job satisfactorily. There is no standard format for writing a job description. However, most descriptions contain sections that
1. Job Identification
2. Job summary
3. Responsibilities and duties
4. Authority of incumbent
5. Standards of performance
6. Working conditions
7. Job specifications

1. Job Identification; Job identification section contains type of information. The job title specifies the name of the job, such as supervisor of data processing operations, marketing manager or inventory control clerk. Date is the date of the job description was actually written and prepared by indicates who wrote it. There is also space to indicate who approved the description and perhaps a space that shows the location of the job in terms of its plant/division and department/section. This section might also include the immediate supervisor’s title and information regarding salary and/or pay scale. There might also be space for the grade/level of
the job, if there is such a category. For example a firm may classify programmers, programmer III and so on.

2. Job Summary: The job summary should describe the general nature of the job and includes only its major functions or activates. Thus the marketing manager “plans, directs and coordinates the marketing of the organizations products or services.” For the job of materials manager, the summary might state that the “material necessary on the production line.” For the job of mailroom supervisor, the mailroom supervisor receives, sorts and delivers all incoming mail properly and he or she handles all outgoing mail including the accurate and timely posting of such mail. Include general statements like,’’ perform other assignment as required” with care.
Such statements can give supervisors more flexibility in assigning duties. Some experts, however, state unequivocally that one item frequently found that should never be included in a job description is a cop-out clause like other duties, as assigned. Since this leaves open the nature of the job and the people needed to staff it.

3. Relationship; There is occasionally a relationships statement, which shows the jobholders relationships with others inside and outside the organization. For a human resource manger, such a statement might like this:
Reports to: Vice president of employee relationships.
Supervises: Human resource clerk, test administrator, labor relations director and one secretary.
Works with: All department mangers and executive management
Outside the company: Employment agencies, executive recruiting firms, union representatives, state and various vendors.

4. Responsibilities and Duties; This section presents a list of the job’s major responsibilities and duties. You list each of the job’s major duties separately and describe it I a few sentences. This section should also define the lists of the jobholder’s authority, including his or her decision-making authority direct supervision of other personnel and budgetary limitations.

5. Standards of Performance and Working Conditions; Some job descriptions contain a standard of performance section. This lists the standards the employee is expected to achieve under each of job description’s main duties and responsibilities. Setting standards is never an easy matter. However, most managers soon learn that just telling subordinates to “do their best’ doesn’t provide enough guidance. One straightforward way of seeing standards is to finish the statement; “I will be completely satisfied with your work when…” This sentence if completed for each duty listed in the job description result in a usable set of performance standards.

6. Job Specifications; The job specification takes the job description and answers the question; human traits and experience are required to do this job well?” It shows what kind of persons to recruit and for what qualities that persons should be tested. The job specification may be a section of the job description or a separate document entirely.

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