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Guidelines for Writing a Job Description

Introduction:

These guidelines are designed to help managers and supervisors establish the proper relationship between position descriptions, performance planning, expectations and performance evaluation.

Position descriptions form the foundation for several important areas of human resource management including:

-Planning: Position descriptions document the delegations of the responsibilities and objectives of a work unit to individual positions.  They can help managers pinpoint staffing gaps or identify overstaffing.  They are valuable in making decisions about realigning or changing organizational structures.

-Recruiting and Screening: Accurate position descriptions provide the basic information about open positions which is required to make a good match between the candidate's qualifications and the job's demands.

-Orientation: Giving the newly hired employee a position description to review serves as an introduction to the job and provides a framework for performance expectations.

-Training and Development: Well-written position descriptions identify the education, experience, and skills necessary to effectively and safely perform the job.  They can help employees pinpoint their own weaknesses and help supervisors tailor appropriate training programs.

-Career Ladders: Accurate position descriptions are a tool in developing upward mobility programs.  A study of position descriptions can reveal the relationships among certain jobs and the knowledge and skills needed to advance from one job to another.

-Position Classification: Position descriptions make it possible to identify job elements, factors, and levels, which in turn make it possible to classify jobs in the appropriate series and at the appropriate level.

-Compensation: Equitable pay structures are based on the external and internal comparison of jobs.  A well-written position description facilitates accurate matches to survey positions to collect current market data.

-Performance Appraisal: Position descriptions provide the link between the job and appropriate performance expectations.  These performance expectations are a critical factor in evaluating an employee's performance, merit pay increase, and possible readiness for reclassification or promotion.

PREPARING A POSITION DESCRIPTION

The Position Information Packet (PIP) contains a Position Description form and a Position Questionnaire. A position description should give a picture of the overall characteristics of a position. It should give enough detail to accurately communicate the key responsibilities of the position. It is not meant to be an exhaustive list of every duty or function that may be performed. The Position Questionnaire has been prepared to help clarify the functions and tasks and provide enough detail so that it will be clear what is done. A brief description of the main parts of the PIP follows.

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Guidelines for Writing a Job Description

May-06

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