How to Write a Job Description (Quick Guide)

Every position within an organization requires a description. Write a job description to perform important functions:

  • Describe competencies and skills required for the role
  • Describe where a job properly fits within company hierarchy
  • Describes skills and responsibilities

This article serves as an outline to write a job description that is not only concise, but also delivers required information in a clear and accurate way.

Writing the job description title

The most fundamental element of any job description is a job title. A well-written job title has qualities:

  • It reflects the candidates’ duties and nature of the particular job
  • It reflects ranking of the post
  • It articulates importance of the post
  • It is free of any age or gender implications

A general job title is generic enough to be compared to any similar jobs being offered by a range of companies

Take the example of a job title “Traffic Police Warden”. A bad job title for this position is “Automobile Coordinator”. The title does not provide information about where to coordinate automobiles. In such a case, inclusion of the word ‘traffic’ is mandatory to make the job position clear.

Duties

Write a job description by making a list of responsibilities and duties associated, together with expected time the employee needs to dedicate to particular task. Represent this in a percentage (i.e. web designing 50%, filing 30% etc.).

In terms of length, keep descriptions of required duties to three sentences in length, and make it action oriented with a purpose (i.e. ‘write monthly reports to allow department’s budget monitoring). List of responsibilities and duties varies in length, but keep them short; otherwise the document may start to look like an operational manual.

Employment in small businesses required a combination of responsibilities, this makes it harder to articulate the duties, but till narrow them down to ten or less.

Skills and competency

List the competencies and skills in separate columns, as they imply separate things. Competencies are attributes or traits a candidate displays intuitively. Skills on the other hand are gained through schooling or learnt during previous projects.

Strong communication is a competency, which comes naturally to people who are good listeners. In contrast, preparing and giving effective PowerPoint presentations is a skill gained by selecting the appropriate template, and practicing in front of an audience. There is a modern trend to hire personnel based on their behavioral competencies, such as communication skills, teamwork, and leadership.

Relationships

Each candidate has the right to know where he or she stands in the hierarchical structure of a company, so include working relationships and reporting lines. Write a job description that clarifies responsibilities of the candidate by showing who he reports to, and when. This gives an insight in relation to the organization’s compliance issues.

Working relationships describe the departments and people required by the candidate to keep in touch with. It is helpful to give the candidate a clear idea about extent of his interaction with each department and the department size.

Make an organizational chart to represent relationships in the position, with horizontal lines used for working relationships, and vertical lines in between boxes to show reporting lines.

Salary

Write a dynamic salary range that is in accordance with current pay scales. Do not assign a fixed value to salary for a job post, but work out a flexible salary range according to pay being offered in various organizations. Mention the possibility of increase in salary for variation in experience and education.

Write a job Description – Conclusion

Write a job description that is a lot more than a rough sketch of responsibilities and tasks. A comprehensive job post gives an insight into the priorities involved. It is a clear description of the position for prospective candidates, and a tool for performance measurement, in addition to being a vital reference in case of disciplinary issues or disputes. If a job description is accurate upfront, it will prove to be a helpful tool in the long run.

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