Job Descriptions

A job description summarizes the duties of a position and states the essential responsibilities of the job. A company relies on a job description to relay this information regarding a work role to potential candidates to encourage qualified applicants to apply and discourage the application of unqualified individuals. The job description also serves to structure job interviews by focusing attention on the work requirements and applicant credentials that are most important to success in the position to be filled. The job description also establishes expectations for potential employees of the criteria that will be used to evaluate future on-the-job performance.

Job Description Content

A job description consists of several elements, one of which is the position title that describes the nature of the work performed. The purpose of a job and the key functions to be performed also are summarized in the job description. Action verbs describe the duties, which the description lists in order of importance.

Job Competencies and Job Description

The skill and knowledge required to be effective in a particular work role are described as job competencies. For example, job competencies for an accounts receivable clerk might include knowledge of particular accounts receivable software and interpersonal communication skills. The job competencies are essential requirements to successfully perform specific work functions and therefore are critical elements of the job description.

Additional Benefits of Job Descriptions

A job description clearly defines a job role and the expected contributions of an employee. As a result, a well-written job description is an element of a legally binding contract of employment, which helps an organization avoid the legal and economic consequences of major human resources missteps. Job descriptions also serve as a baseline for employee training programs. The descriptions also reflect a company’s efforts to comply with federal and state codes and to implement policies that safeguard workers and protect company interests.