In this video, human resources professional consultant and trainer Catherine Mattice offers an overview of how to write an engaging job description to attract the right job candidates. She explains that the first step is performing a job analysis then establishing the essential functions of the job. This tutorial also covers the use of unbiased terms when crafting a job posting.
- Where did you get your job descriptions? Did you locate a template online and download it? Did you ask around to see if colleagues had something you could tailor to make your own? This is always a great place to start, but there's more to writing job descriptions than adding your company name and logo to a template. First, let's understand the purpose of a job description. They are invaluable documents, because they are used for so many things, including recruiting, determining salary, and setting performance expectations. You can also use them for career planning, training, compliance, and establishing organizational hierarchy.
Before writing the job description, you must perform a job analysis. This simply means that you spend some time really understanding the job, so you can write an accurate description. An analysis may include observing an employee, interviewing them about their duties, or having employees fill out questionnaires. You could also interview managers and supervisors, review salary surveys and industry best practices, or sift through personnel files. Once you understand the job, you are ready to write the job description. The first step is to establish the essential functions.
The essential job functions is a term related to the Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA, and will help you evaluate requests for accommodation from employees with disabilities. To determine the essential job functions, first consider what tasks are truly necessary or required to do that job. The tasks that are performed frequently, cannot be redesigned or reassigned to other employees, and that would be detrimental to the organization if they aren't performed are the essential job functions. Those should appear in their own section on the job description.
The next step in writing the description is to write a one or two sentence objective for the job. For example, a retail store manager's objective might read, "Responsible for guest services and overall operation "of the store, including measuring business trends, "maximizing sales and profits, developing staff, "and all aspects of merchandising." The objective is a concise statement that sums up the entire document. Now you're ready to fill in the rest. I have included a worksheet for you to fill out in the exercise files for this course.
It will serve as a guide for you as you fill in each section of your job description. As you write your descriptions, here are a few tips to keep in mind in the writing process. You should use a writing style that suits the culture of your organization. Your description might be more formal in a law office, for example, versus a start-up tech firm. Either way, the writing should be impersonal and explicit. Next, make sure you are concise. Once you've written it, go back and evaluate what is most important to be included and what you can eliminate.
Also, be specific when it makes sense. For example, your own job description might say processes payroll bi-weekly, as opposed to frequently processes payroll. Also focus on critical activities as opposed to minor tasks. For example, if the bookkeeper happens to pick up the phone once in a while, that task does not belong in the job description, but if he was the designated back-up for the receptionist, answering phones may belong in there. Make sure to begin each duty or task with an action verb, and always use present tense.
Also be sure to use unbiased terminology. For instance, try to craft sentences that don't use gender-specific terms. Finally, include a page number, revision date, and number, and your initials at the bottom. In the end, always remember to be flexible with job descriptions. They can and should be revised as the organization and its people change and grow. Jobs are fluid and so are job descriptions.
HR consultant Catherine Mattice outlines some of the considerations of the human resources professional, such as balancing the needs of employees with the interests of the organization. She reveals how to conduct an HR audit to identify HR practices that need improvement. She then outlines core HR responsibilities: staffing, training, documentation, compensation and benefits, performance reviews, job descriptions, compliance with state and federal regulations, and more.
- Building trust with employees
- Conducting an HR audit
- Classifying employees
- Setting up compensation and benefits
- Creating and enforcing company policies
- Writing job descriptions
- Recruiting, interviewing, and hiring new employees
- Managing employee performance
- Training employees
- Disciplining employees