A job description is a written statement that describes the duties and responsibilities of an employee which is specific to their role within the company.
Job descriptions are based on objective information and an uderstanding of the competencies and skills required to accomplish needed tasks, and the needs of the business to produce work.
They clearly identify and spell out the reponsibilities of a specific job, and should include information about working conditions, tools, equipment used, knowledge and skills needed, and relationships with other positions.
The best job descriptions are living, breathing documents that are updated as responsibilities change. They do not limit employees, but rather, cause them to stretch their experience, grow their skills and develop their ability to contribute within the company.
Why is a job description important?
A job description has four main uses:
Organisation - it defines where the job is positioned in the organisation structure. Who reports to whom?
Recruitment - it provides essential information to potential recruits (and the recruiting team) so that they can determine the right kind of person to do the job (see person specification)
Legal - the job description forms an important part of the legally-binding contract of employment
Appraisal of performance - individual objectives can be set based on the job description
Contents of a Job Description
The main contents of a job description are:
This indicates the role/function that the job plays within an organisation, and the level of job within that function (e.g. Finance Director would be a more senior position than Financial Accountant - although both jobs are in the "finance department")
Who the employee answers to?
This is a summary of the role
This section is specified to any requirements the employer requires from the employee:
Example: the employer might specify that the employee must hold a current bank account in their own name!
Main Tasks, Duties, Responsibilities:
A description of the main activities to be undertaken and what the job holder is expected to achieve (e.g. in the case of the Management Accountant, this might include "Complete monthly management accounts by 10th working day of each month and prepare report on all key performance variances")
Knowledge, Experience & Skills:
A description of knowledge, experience and skills required for the position.