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.
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.
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.
Internal consistency is very important when developing an overall bank of organizational job descriptions. The employer may want to select specific formats, fonts, logos, and other elements to streamline and standardize the appearance of the documents. Consistent language such as preferred action words and frequently used terms can help create cohesiveness throughout. Internal consistency may also help “ensure equitable comparisons of content across jobs” in justifying employee salary decisions (Milkovich and Newman, 1990).
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