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How Do You Write an Effective Job Description? - FocusIMS

How Do You Write an Effective Job Description?

Learn how to write an effective job description for successful recruiting, selection, training, and performance evaluation.

A job description is a statement that details the particulars of a specific job or position with an organisation. It describes the duties and employment conditions in great detail. Businesses often do a job analysis that examines the role in depth to develop a thorough description of what the work entails.

How are job descriptions used in organisations?

A job description outlines the duties of the position and the perfect applicant for it throughout the hiring process. With a full description that makes the position sound alluring, the job description aids in targeted recruitment to find the best people. 

Hiring managers might use it when choosing applicants for interviews to screen applicants. The items in the description can be the framework for interview questions.

Job descriptions help the HR department plan and carry out training. HR specialists analyse job descriptions to determine the essential competencies that workers require, and they then focus training sessions on those particular subjects. 

The organisation as a whole, specific sections, or certain roles may all require training. HR uses job descriptions to identify who needs what kind of training.

The specifics in the job descriptions could serve as benchmarks for evaluating employees. Supervisors assess an employee’s performance using the tasks and duties as a guide. The job description can also help set goals or develop growth plans between employees and their managers.

Why is it important to prepare a job description?

It’s crucial to write an effective job description for both legal and practical considerations.

1. Challenge

Larger businesses often have job descriptions, but they may no longer be relevant when companies and occupations change. Small businesses do not always create job descriptions. They instead rely on the capacity to casually explain expectations to a limited number of workers.

Job descriptions can occasionally go neglected in start-up businesses or those undergoing reorganisations or restructuring.

2. Performance

In the most fundamental sense, it may be easier for an employee to have a precise and thorough grasp of his work with a job description. While the employee may believe he has flexibility, it is difficult for him to prioritise his workload and manage his time.

Additionally, workers may get irritable if they need clarification about how their position fits into the company’s overall strategy. An employee who knows what is typical for his job each day feels more valuable in his position.

3. Leadership

Job descriptions are valuable to managers who need to recruit, onboard, and motivate staff. It is essential to write an effective job description. Without it, it can be challenging to hire workers who are the most excellent fit.

When managers lack a detailed description of the tasks new hires frequently undertake, it can be challenging to train and develop them. Long-term success in motivating staff to perform depends on having stated goals and clear expectations.

4. Legal Concerns

If you use updated job descriptions, you could avoid a lot of legal problems. If hiring managers have a strong job description, they will find it easier to keep interviews focused on job duties and competencies. If candidates believe the questions are unfair or unrelated to the position, they may file a discrimination lawsuit.

A precise alignment between job analyses, descriptions, and screening procedures is the best way to avoid these problems. Promotions and evaluation tools both raise similar issues. Honest evaluations are more straightforward when work duties and standards are well-defined.

What are the most important components of a job description?

A clearly defined job description helps provide a clear picture of what the organisation requires and provides incumbents with autonomy to fulfil expectations successfully. We’ll cover everything you need to know in 6 key steps.

1. Organisation Structure

Start with the Organisation Structure and define the organisation’s functions. These will change as the organisation grows and morphs. Referring to job advertisements can sometimes give you a good idea about how other organisations in your industry break down their functions and responsibilities.

2. Key Objectives

Identify the key objectives for each job description. What is the real purpose of this job description? What does it aim to achieve for the organisation? E.g. for a marketing Role might be to Deliver X number of qualified leads to Sales for a specific budget. An HSEQ Role might be to complete some inspections/audits with one particular qualitative goal.

3. Identify the responsibilities

Are responsibilities the backbone of a job description? What are the essential tasks? For example:

  • Accounts – ensure that all accounts get paid on time. Ensure all invoicing for the month is completed by the 4th day of the month.
  • Injury Management Role – ensure the effective management of all workers’ compensation claims.

Add to the Job Description the procedures that are responsible for completion. It can be a straightforward path to ensuring all tasks get done.

4. Identify the Authorities 

It can be tricky to balance providing autonomy for staff, so they can efficiently and effectively get what they need to do whilst managing the organisation’s appetite for risk. I usually describe authorities as what a person in this role is allowed to do. An example is a person in an Estimating position who can send quotes up to $X without any other approval. 

An example for a training manager might be to book up to 10 days of training for operational employees. Anything above this might need approval from the general manager. Another typical example is an authority to purchase – an employee in the field may have the power to purchase up to $X before needing to clear it with management.

5. Skills, Training and Experience

Next, identify the skills, training and experience required to fulfil the role successfully. The first ones we specify are the bare minimums for the specific position. For example, they must have a white card or a driver’s licence. Next, determine the foundational skills/ experience. You can identify a training plan or target training where you are in a growing organisation and upskilling staff.

6. Review and Continual Improvement

Lastly, as with every part of an integrated management system, review and improvement are essential. Appraisals discuss with the people covering the role the details of the role that are working, the parts of the role that aren’t and possible actions to address. These actions may be to change the procedure, automate part of the process, and provide additional training for the person filling the role.

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