A bank of job descriptions can be instrumental in supporting the development of other organizational documents and standards as well. Descriptions may offer a framework for developing performance evaluations. In addition, the information gleaned may provide a common thread for developing employee resumes, policy manuals, annual reports, and organizational media.
The process of developing job descriptions often sheds light on the nature of a job as well as suggests that there are alternative methods of performing essential job tasks. Job analysis may help encourage management and staff to work together in identifying and streamlining the essential and marginal job functions.
A job description typically consists of six major components: 1) essential job functions; 2) knowledge and critical skills; 3) physical demands; 4) environmental factors; 5) the roles of the ADA and other federal laws such as the Occupational Safety Health Act (OSH Act); and 6) any explanatory information that may be necessary to clarify job duties or responsibilities.
According to Torrington, a job description is usually developed by conducting a job analysis, which includes examining the tasks and sequences of tasks necessary to perform the job. The analysis considers the areas of knowledge and skills needed for the job. A job usually includes several roles. According to Hall, the job description might be broadened to form a person specification or may be known as "terms of reference". The person/job specification can be presented as a stand-alone document, but in practice it is usually included within the job description. A job description is often used by employers in the recruitment process.