Employers should develop job descriptions that clearly define the essential functions of every job before advertising the job or interviewing applicants. A job description should have clear, concise, non-technical language, and avoid unnecessary words. The job description should focus on words that have a single meaning with detailed explanations for words that may be interpreted differently. Each sentence should begin with an active verb and use the present tense. Examples of job functions should be provided. The desired outcome of the work should be described, rather than one method for accomplishing that outcome. For example, instead of "writes down notes during meetings" put "records notes during weekly meetings." Writers should avoid using gender-specific language, jargon, technical language, proprietary names (Xerox), and ambiguity.
The best way to create and manage consistent, concise and effective job descriptions is to start with best-practice job description templates. A well designed template ensures employees, managers, HR and the organization overall get all the information they need, while making the associated tasks easier for everyone.
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.
To make it easier to create and manage job descriptions that are complete, clear and consistent, it is best to start with a job description template. The number of templates you need will depend on the variety of jobs in your organization, but as with all things - less is more. But while many HR professionals and managers agree that job description templates are a foundational talent management tool, many struggle with knowing exactly what to include in their templates.