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.
According to the ADA, an employer may not ask disability-related questions and may not conduct medical examinations until after it makes a conditional job offer to the applicant (EEOC, 1995). An individual, as an applicant or a current employee, may wish to disclose that s/he has a disability and needs an accommodation, but is uncertain whether disclosure is possible or advisable. Including a brief and accurate statement in the job description about the employer’s responsibility and the individuals rights may help initiate the interactive process between an employer and an individual with a disability. If an individual is qualified to perform essential job functions except for limitations caused by a disability, the employer must consider whether the individual could perform these functions with a reasonable accommodation. An employer is not required to reallocate the essential functions of a job as a reasonable accommodation.
You may find it useful to leave a section on your template to be used for detailing the supervision of a particular position, and/or the extent to which it is supervised. This can help an individual understand who he or she would report to while performing a particular position, and the role of the position within the hierarchy of a company or organization.
The purpose of a job description is to persuade, as well as to qualify and disqualify candidates before you spend time interviewing them. If you’re looking for someone with a degree in economics, then putting that on the job requirements list will disqualify the candidates without the necessary qualification. On the other hand, the right copy and tone can help you stand out to incredibly desirable candidates.
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