About Job Descriptions

by Alan Kirk; Updated September 26, 2017

Job descriptions have become extremely important marketing pieces for companies. A well written job description can save companies a lot of time, especially their human resources department. Companies can take a well written job description and post it on their website for when they have positions open. This job description will limit the number of phone calls they receive with questions. Most job seekers now know to check a company's website to look for job descriptions when seeking work.

Significance

A job description is one of the first things a job applicant reads when deciding if he wants to work for a specific company. The job description gives the applicant an idea of items that will be expected of him when he is performing the job that he is applying for. It might also include information such as the amount of travel required in the job and the amount of days he will need to work in a typical week. The job description provides a first impression of both the job and the company he is applying with.

Function

A job description explains the skills needed for a job and the tasks the job includes on a daily basis. Job descriptions help protect the employer from potential lawsuits by explaining the skills an employee must have to be hired. If an employee fails to display the required skills, a job description can be used as a defense against discrimination complaints.

Features

A well written job description should give a good overview of the job itself. It should list the daily activities that are part of the job that the applicant is applying for. Along with this it should list activities that the job encompasses which are done on a less frequent schedule. A job description should also explain where the position falls in the companies chain of command. This includes who the applicant would report to as their direct supervisor. If the position involves supervising other employees, the job description should list how many people the applicant would be responsible for supervising. Most job descriptions will include the phrase "and other duties as assigned" indicating there will be other job responsibilities not included in the job description.

Benefits

Writing a job description can save a lot of time. If the job description is posted with the help wanted advertisement it can answer a lot of questions from applicants before they apply for the position. A well written job description can also maximize the effectiveness of an interview. A well written job description will allow an employee to decide if the position interests them before the interview stage of the application process. A job description allows employers to describe skills an employee must meet the requirements for 100% as "required skills". It can also require additional skills that can increase the employee's ability to get the position, but are not required in an "additional skills" category.

Warning

Writing a poorly worded or designed job description can cause a lot of problems for the employer. The job description might attract applicants that do not have the required skill sets if it is poorly written. A poorly written job description might also result in an employer having to interview more applicants than a well written job description results in. This is because the job description serves as the first filter for employers and employees when seeking an open position with a company.

About the Author

Alan Kirk has been writing for online publications since 2006. He has more than 15 years' experience in catering, management and government relations. Kirk has a bachelor's degree in business management from the University of Maryland.