What Should Be Included In an Effective Job Description?

What Should Be Included in an Effective Job Description?

An effective job description is vital to ensure a company hires employees who can perform the position applied for, but it also an invaluable resource once an employee is onboarded.

To create an effective job description, the employer should include the following elements:

  1.   Job Title: While this might seem like an obvious detail to include, the more specific your job title is, the more likely the right candidates will apply for open positions. Specificity in a job posting will help the posting appear in search results, putting it in front of interested applicants. When posting the job title, it’s important to use terms that are well-known in your industry, and not terms that are internal or acronyms not known in the industry.  Additionally, for post-employment potential claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act, the employer should avoid using the same job title for exempt and non-exempt employees.
  2.   Job Summary: For any job posting, an employer should also include key details about the type of work the company does, i.e., marketing, hospitality services, IT, etc.

The job summary should include the logistical expectations for the position. This includes whether the position is part, full time or temporary, whether over-time is expected and whether it is mandatory, whether the employee is exempt on non-exempt, the general hours and days of the week the employee is expected to work (the days an employee may be required to work is very important if the employee may be required to work on weekends), and whether travel is required.  If travel is required, the job description should include an estimated percentage of the employee’s time that will be spent travelling.  Given the current climate, the job description should state whether it is remote, in-office, or hybrid. The company should also include the reporting structure for the position.

  1.   Job Responsibilities: The meat of job description should be about the position itself. This is the most important section of a job description.  Job descriptions should be carefully drafted with input from supervisors as well as other employees that currently hold the position.

Once the company gathers this information, the company must ensure all of the essential functions of the position are included by determining which functions are crucial to the position.  This is particularly important under the Americans with Disabilities Act and in the event of a worker’s compensation claim.  If there are physical demands of the position, this also should be included in the job description, including whether the employee must be able to lift a certain amount of weight, if the employee will be required to stoop, bend, etc.

Additionally, a job description should include a statement that the employee may be asked to perform other duties required by management, that the job description is not an all-inclusive list of the duties and may be changed with or without notice.

  1.   Job Qualifications: In this section, the company should include any educational requirements, specific skills or software the employee will need to possess and whether past experience is required.  It is important that if the company requires certain skills that those skills are based on business necessity and that the company only employs individuals in that position who possess those skills.  Otherwise, a poorly drafted job description could result in discrimination claims if someone is hired without the required skills.  The company can also include other requirements, such as being a good communicator, being flexible, being a self-starter, being able to work with others and other soft skills.

Other Tips:

  • Job postings should include information about the salary range and benefits the company offers such as medical, dental, and vision insurance, retirement plan, vacation time, and any other benefits that are unique to the company which may attract candidates.
  • Once a new employee is hired, include a statement that the employee is able to perform the essential functions of the position with or without reasonable accommodation. Have the new employee sign and date the job description to certify he or she understands the job description and its requirements.
  • Employers should regularly review job descriptions and include the date the job description was created as well as any dates the job description was reviewed and/or revised. In the event a job description is revised, all employees in that position should sign the new job description and again affirm the employee is able to perform the essential functions of the position with or without reasonable accommodation.

How a Labor and Employment Attorney Can Help

When drafting a job description, it is beneficial to consult a labor and employment law attorney to review the job description to insure it contains all the essential elements of a job description to help the company attract candidates and to clearly state what is expected of employees performing the position.  Our labor and employment lawyers are recognized as Super Lawyers in the area of Employment and Labor law, a distinction received by the top 5% of lawyers in a given field, and also in Best Lawyers in America.

Why Hire Us

If you have questions about creating a job posting, let our experts help.

Ranked in the 2023 U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” list regionally in 12 practice areas, we have experts in many areas of law to give our clients top-notch representation. In business for more than a century, our firm can mix its experience with the ability to evolve with the changing times.

To get started, contact us at 251-319-4659 or info@johnstoneadams.com.

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