In our previous HR post, we discussed the importance of job descriptions (Job Descriptions – Why Have Them?).  Now we’d like to give you some pointers for writing the job descriptions.

Where to Start?

Current Employees

Do you have current employees in the position?  If so, ask for their help. They most likely know their duties better than anyone else. Starting with a blank page can be overwhelming, so ask employees to keep a log of their duties for a certain time frame (i.e. two weeks) which can be used as a foundation. In general, employees are willing to help if you present it as an opportunity to accurately reflect all they do for your organization.

Job Audits and Questionnaires

Supervisors may want to shadow current employees, and document day-to-day tasks. Questionnaires also work well if you have multiple employees in the same role. This allows feedback from multiple viewpoints.

Internet Research

Job Descriptions are all over the internet. You can often find a great basis for a job description; just be sure to adapt it appropriately to your organization. It’s also a good idea to investigate competitors occasionally as well.


What to Include?

· Job Title

· Supervisor:  Title of the person to whom the position reports.

· Status:  Exempt or Non-Exempt, according to FLSA regulations.

· Last Revised Date:  We recommend that job descriptions be reviewed/updated annually.  Many employers integrate a job description review with the employee’s annual performance review.

· Position Summary:  On average, three sentences or less to describe the general purpose of the job.

· Essential Functions:  Include a bulleted list that describes the major tasks/duties of the role. This piece is not only important for role clarification and performance measures, but it will also be analyzed if an ADA accommodation request is made. Eliminate implied subjects and start statements with present tense action verbs as in “Greets office visitors” and “Creates and manages annual marketing budget.”

· Qualifications:  Minimum requirements for Education, Work Experience, Certifications or Licensures.

· Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:  Additional skills required or preferred (i.e. “Computer proficiency with knowledge of MS Office applications” or “Excellent verbal and written communication skills”).

· Work Environment and Physical Requirements:  Describe the work environment and what is physically required of the employee, as in “primarily outdoors, exposure to weather, must be able to lift 50 pounds, etc.” Often mentions ability to sit or stand for long periods of time, operation of appropriate equipment, and exposure risks. 

· Work Schedule:  Indicate shift/typical hours and if part-time or full-time.

· Disclaimers:  End with any necessary statements (EEO, ADA, plus a statement that the description may not be an exhaustive list of duties and that the employer reserves the right to modify the job description when necessary).

· Signatures:  Though not required, it’s recommended that once the supervisor reviews the job description with the employee, both the employee and supervisor sign and date the document.


If you have questions or would like help with your job descriptions, feel free to contact us.



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