A job specification could be considered a more precise job description that details the exact educational degrees, experience, skills, and requirements for a role. In most cases, these terms are used interchangeably and nearly always describe the same document.
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.
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.
A job description is a critically important document used for hiring and managing employees. It communicates the responsibilities of the person doing the job, and the qualifications and skills that are needed to complete it. Having a template for all job descriptions within a company or organization will help keep them consistent and uniform in style and substance, as well as ensure a fair hiring process. Create a document that provides a snapshot of the company and the department, and then provides a space for the job duties and required qualifications related to each particular position.
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