Your Blueprint for Creating a Job Description

The job description is where your hiring criteria are first formally set forth. But this doesn't mean just any garden-variety job description will do. The job description you'll construct will be airtight. And it'll have to be. Why? Because the job description will eventually drive the job ad, the candidate selection process, and a new employee's first performance appraisal.

Think of the job description as your blueprint. Do a good job of constructing it, and all the subsequent pieces of the hiring process will more easily fall into place. There are important elements that may be included in a well-written job description:

  • The job or position title (and job code number, if applicable).
  • The department within the organization in which the position exists.
  • The reporting structure for the position, both up and/or down, as applicable. For example, the title of the person(s) to whom the position reports and any position(s) and/or numbers of employees over whom this position has supervisory responsibility.
  • A brief summary (one to three sentences) of the position and its overarching responsibility or function or role within the organization and how it interrelates to other functions within the organization. A list of the position's essential or key job duties. You could also include a list of the less important or marginal job duties identified as such, the estimated time to be spent on each duty (which should total to 100 per cent), and the frequency of performing each (daily, weekly, periodically).
  • Whether the job is exempt or nonexempt.
  • Whether regular and prompt attendance is required.
  • A qualifying statement that the list of job duties is not exhaustive and may be revised from time to time as per business needs.
  • The qualifications for the position (meaning, the specific knowledge, skills, employment, or other experiences, training, language, or aptitudes required for the job).
  • The educational requirements for the job, if any, such as degrees and licensing.
  • Qualities or attributes that contribute to superior performance in the position.
  • If appropriate, a statement of the physical demands of the position (for example, lifting or mobility requirements).