A job description should include the following:
1. Job title
The job title should be brief and reflect the job’s content, purpose, and scope. It should be consistent with other job titles of similar roles within the organization and have a clear place in its hierarchy.
2. Job purpose
This is a high-level overview of the role, level, and scope of responsibility consisting of three or four sentences providing a basic understanding of why the job exists.
3. Reporting structure
It is helpful to clearly state the role the position reports to, by title.
4. Essential job duties and responsibilities
This section describes the duties and responsibilities assigned to the job. It should focus on those elements of the position that will take up most of the employee’s time.
5. Additional duties and responsibilities
This section lists tasks the employee may do regularly, which are of secondary importance, or tasks that the employee may be called upon to do occasionally. This section should also make clear that the employee may be responsible for assignments not explicitly listed in the job description.
6. Supervisory responsibilities
If the role calls for the employee to manage or oversee other workers, those managerial tasks and the employee’s place in the hierarchy should be clearly stated here.
7. Qualifications and proficiencies
In this section of the job description, list the skills, proficiencies, experience, education, licenses, and certifications expected for the role. This can be important if there is a conflict over the employee’s ability to complete all aspects of the position.
8. Working conditions
Identify the working conditions and physical demands that relate directly to the essential job duties and responsibilities. Describe the type, intensity, frequency, and duration of physical or mental capabilities required. This section should discuss the working environment, exposures that may be regularly encountered, essential physical tasks, and travel requirements. Aside from setting expectations for the employee, this section is helpful for determining appropriate compensation where there may be danger or intense physical activity required to perform the functions of the job. It is also helpful when facilitating a request for an ADA accommodation enabling a doctor to understand if an employee can perform the functions of the job or if an accommodation may be needed.
9. Signature field
The job description should be dated, and the employee and manager should sign the document. Copies should be provided to the employee and manager.
Developing and maintaining job descriptions is an essential HR task that requires time and diligence. Carefully crafted and accurate job descriptions will save you time and money by attracting appropriate applicants, providing a roadmap for employee success once hired, establishing a foundation for pay practices, and mitigating compliance risks. If your organization lacks the bandwidth, resources, or expertise required to establish and maintain job descriptions in-house, consider partnering with an HR services provider that can ensure your job descriptions are written in a way that supports your recruiting, performance management, compensation, and compliance goals.