Niles Associates, Inc
Guidelines for Writing Job Description     

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Conditions Change Requirements Change
Managers Change Salaries Change
But frequently the job descriptions remain the same!
The job description is the starting place in preparation to fill a position, so be sure to have the search manager review and approve the description before the search gets underway.
It's a lot easier to find what you are looking for if you know what you are looking for.
Job Description Elements
Summary
  • A brief section to summarize the position
  • Generally includes the title, location, broad statement of the functions
  • Often used as part of a job posting
Essential Functions and Responsibilities
  • Standard to begin each task description with a verb
  • Be specific: General statement can be followed by specifics
  • Bullet format is easy to read
  • Caution on numbering, for it's often perceived as a hierarchy of expectations
  • Good practice to include expectations
  • Often includes estimate of percentage of time spent on main functions
  • Include the how and why if they are not obvious
  • Provide information on the level of authority as it relates to specific functions
Additional Duties and Responsibilities
  • That which is performed occasionally
  • That which is non-essential
Supervisory Responsibilities
  • Approximate number and type to be supervised (employees, rep groups, etc.)
  • Brief description of the type of authority (hire/fire, performance development, etc.)
  • Also include level this position report to
Supervisory Responsibilities
  • Approximate number and type to be supervised (employees, rep groups, etc.)
  • Brief description of the type of authority (hire/fire, performance development, etc.)
  • Also include level this position report to
Fiscal Responsibility
  • Indication of level of financial responsibility, if any, and for what area (P&L for region, division, etc.)
Experience, Skills and Knowledge
  • Often categorized by required and preferred. Be sure that requirements and functions are congruent
  • Experience should reference required/desired level of accomplishment
  • Number of years relative to experience and skills should be included, generally stated as a minimum
  • Balancing act between being too specific vs. too general. Too specific locks you into a tight profile that could eliminate good candidates. Too general and you get responses that aren't even close to what you need
  • Absolutely avoid protected class issues (race, gender, age, disability, etc.)
  • If overnight travel is part of the position, estimate a percentage involved
Working Conditions and Culture
  • Frequently not included, but can be helpful, e.g., high pressure, entrepreneurial, ability to work independently without much supervision, etc.
Compensation
  • Frequently stated in terms of a range
  • If incentive/bonus program is part of the position, explain how it works and make a realistic projection of value based on current revenue and/or projected revenue
  • Include information on benefit package (health, life, retirement, etc.)
 
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