Developing job descriptions is an issue that many employers deliberate. Initially, some employers may be daunted by what they perceive to be a lengthy and complicated process. Yet, with constructive tools such as job analysis, sample job descriptions, and on-line resources like Career Onestop from the U.S. Department of Labor, informed employers are able to obtain valuable information about their organizations. This publication addresses relevant background information, which includes the role of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) in developing job descriptions, how to formulate job descriptions, special features of Career Onestop that assist with the development process, and relationship to the accommodation process.
Many job seekers consider job descriptions a valuable screening tool. Conveying job expectations and requirements in a written job description can attract qualified and interested candidates. Inappropriate language used in job descriptions reveals discriminatory or inappropriate phrases and offers a quick indicator that an individual may want to apply elsewhere. For example, an employer should avoid citing standards that may unnecessarily screen out particular groups such as individuals with disabilities. In contrast, a description written in a respectful tone with appropriate etiquette may encourage an individual to apply.
Here’s a sample of job descriptions, ranked from good to bad. Looking through them alongside their scores makes it obvious why some are better than others, and is a good exercise to teach yourself to get better at writing them.
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.
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