job description

What is job description (JD), meaning and guidelines

Table of Contents:-

  • Job Description Meaning
  • Meaning of job description
  • Contents of Job Description
  • Guidelines for Writing Job Description
  • Design of Job Description
  • Use of Job Description
  • Components of Job Description

Job Description Meaning

JD meaning: The JD meaning in job description is a written statement that answers questions such as what the job holder does, how the job is done, under which circumstances it is done, and most importantly, why it is done. It gives information about the job like job content and working conditions. It is descriptive in nature and explains the functions and responsibilities necessary to do a certain job specifically along with its objectives and areas of work.

Data collected for job analysis serves as the foundation for preparing job description. It encompasses the job contents and an organization’s expectations for its employees. Job description typically outline the minimum requirements of jobs for several reasons:

Firstly, achieving a perfect and fully inclusive job description is impossible despite all attempts. As one ascends to the hierarchy of an organization, creating a detailed job description becomes increasingly challenging.

Secondly, most organizations prefer not to describe a job thoroughly, as employees might restrict themselves to what has been outlined and refrain from going beyond those boundaries.

Thirdly, if a job were entirely described, supervision would be automatically addressed by the duties performed, potentially rendering some supervisory staff duties redundant.

Fourthly, technology is evolving rapidly, causing a shift in jobs. An organization must continually update job descriptions to ensure smooth monitoring of employee performance.

Meaning of job description

A job description is a general, broad, and written statement of a specific job, based on the findings of a job analysis.

A job description outlines the work activities that need to be carried out, while a job specification specifies the required skills and experience. The job description provides information about what constitutes the job, and the job specification details the kind of individuals needed for the job.

According to Dessler (2013, page 105), job description is defined as “a list of a job’s duties, responsibilities, reporting relationships, working conditions, and supervisory responsibilities,”.

Contents of Job Description

Contents of the job description are as follows:

1) Job Identification

Job identification also known as organisational position includes the job title, an alternative title, departments, divisions, plant and code number of the job. The job title recognises and designates the job appropriately. The department, division, etc., indicate the name of the department and its location. The location shows the name of the place.

2) Job Summary

It delivers two significant objectives. Firstly, it gives a brief definition which is helpful as additional identification information. Secondly, it is used as a summary to direct the readers to understand the detailed information about the job. It provides the reader with a fast and short explanation of the job content, generally in a few sentences.

3) Job Duties and Responsibilities

The job description clearly describes the duties and responsibilities to be carried out during the job with an appropriate understanding of primary, secondary and other duties. It is also considered vital for any job. It also notifies about the time limit of jobs and sub-jobs.

4) Relation to Other Jobs

It helps in identifying the job in the organisation by putting the job below or above in the job hierarchy. It also shows an idea of the vertical relationship between work and process.

5) Supervision

The extent and the nature of supervision needed in each job are also indicated in the job description. Under this, the number of persons to be monitored is given along with their job titles and the level of supervision involved in the form of general, intermediate, or close supervision. 

6) Machines, Tools and Materials

The job description also comprises the machines, tools and materials required for performing the job. It shows the nature and difficulty of the job and aids in the execution of the training programmes.

7) Working Conditions

It gives the knowledge about the working environment such as heat, cold, dust, wetness, moisture, fume, odour, oily condition, etc. in which the job holders have to perform their work.

8) Hazards

It gives an idea about the kinds of risks to life and limbs and their chances of happening, etc.

Guidelines for Writing Job Description

Guidelines for writing job descriptions are as follows:

job description

1) Use Logical Sequence in the Arrangement of Roles and Duties: Start with the task including the percentage of time assigned to each task and be consistent.

2) Be Brief and Specific: Specific and brief descriptions of the job should be given. Avoid using generalised statements. Give a clear description of job tasks and duties.

3) Mention Duties Clearly and Briefly: When each duty is mentioned clearly and briefly in the job description, everybody can have a quick look at the description and it becomes easy for them to identify every task properly. Further, every task should be identified as “essential” or “non-essential”.

4) Avoiding Unnecessary and Ambiguous Words: Keep sentence structure as simple as possible and avoid the use of unnecessary words that do not contribute to giving pertinent information. For example, “Handle mail” can be written as “sort mail” or “distribute mail”.

5) Avoid Listing Every Duty: Begin the job description by using the phrase “primary duties and responsibilities include….” and then carry it forward from there. i.e., the job description using the phrase “perform other related duties and responsibilities, as required”.

6) Use Particular Examples of Tasks When Necessary: It becomes easy for the reader to understand tasks and duties when appropriate examples of tasks wherever required are used in the job description.

7) Avoid Technical Language: A good job description should use commonly known terms and should include job responsibilities that are easily understandable to everyone.

 8) Express the Number of Tasks Appearing Frequently: Each task should be allotted an estimated time by using a known technique of making a column on the left side of the task with comparable percentages.

Design of Job Description

A primary output of job analysis is the job description, wherein the information obtained is briefly, clearly, and comprehensively recorded. The job description must encompass crucial elements, including essential tasks, responsibilities, required qualifications, and the functional relationships between the job and others.

There is no universally accepted standard format for job descriptions due to the variance in the type of work being analyzed and the job evaluation plan in use. For instance, if the job evaluation form includes physical and intellectual effort, knowledge, skills, responsibilities, and working conditions, the job description should mirror these factors to facilitate a factor-by-factor comparison and evaluation of jobs. Non-analytical methods allow for more flexibility and simplicity, specifying the job title and position in the organization, summarizing tasks, and listing required skills and abilities.

When writing a job description, it is helpful to follow these guidelines:

1. Be accurate in expressing information.

2. Omit attributive expressions like uninteresting, distasteful, etc.

3. Avoid personal pronouns; if necessary, refer to the worker as “operator.”

4. Avoid describing only one phase of the job to prevent giving the impression that all steps are covered.

5. Omit generalized or ambiguous expressions unless supported by clarifying data.

6. Clearly define and straightforwardly state all statements; avoid promiscuous adjectives that reflect personal opinion.

7. Describe the job as most workers with that design perform it.

8. Use simple language and explain unusual technical terms.

9. Establish team relationships in job descriptions for teamwork-oriented roles.

10. The length of the description is immaterial; conciseness is essential even with printed forms.

11. If the job analyst finds insufficient data, they should stop until sufficient data is available.

12. Include the completion date on each description and revise as needed with changes in jobs and occupations.

13. Ensure the job description has the concurrence of the concerned supervisor.

14. Include the initials of the persons who compile the description.

Use of Job Description

Apart from being a basis for job evaluation, job descriptions can serve various purposes. These include:

Recruitment, Selection, Promotion, Transfer: Information regarding the knowledge, skills, and abilities required for acceptable work performance is a solid basis for developing standards and procedures for recruitment, selection, promotion, and transfer.

Supervisor-Employee Communication: The information within the job description outlines the expected work of the incumbent. It serves as a valuable document for communication between the supervisor and subordinate, helping employees understand their associates’ expected tasks and facilitating collaboration among employees at the worksite.

Manpower Planning, Training, and Development: The job description, specifying the knowledge, skills, and ability requirements for effective duty performance, provides a rational basis for manpower planning, training, and development. It aids in identifying sources for more senior posts in manpower planning and helps bridge knowledge and skill gaps for training and development programs.

Work Performance Appraisal: A performance appraisal system rooted in the work performed by the employee, as indicated by the duties in the job description, is sound and objective. Using each duty as a basis for discussion, the employee and supervisor can agree on work performance goals, minimizing subjectivity and focusing on the job rather than the employee’s personality traits, habits, or practices.

Organization and Procedure Analysis: The duties and responsibilities outlined in job descriptions are advantageous for management in analyzing organization and procedures. They reveal how work is organized, practices, and authority and responsibility are appointed.

Industrial Relations: Job descriptions can be used as a factual basis for discussion and problem resolution in industrial relations, especially when issues relate to the work undertaken.

Components of Job Description

A job description should include:

1. Job Title: It represents a concise statement summarizing the job’s nature.

2. Job Objective or Overall Purpose Statement: This statement serves as a brief orientation to the job’s general nature, level, purpose, and objective. It should summarize the broad function and scope of the position in three to four sentences.

3. List of Duties or Tasks Performed: This list comprises an itemized description of principal duties, ongoing responsibilities, and the accountability of the position holder. It should encompass every essential job duty or obligation for successful job performance. The list should prioritize the most critical functional and relational responsibilities, followed by others in order of significance. Include each duty or responsibility that takes up at least five percent of the incumbent’s time.

4. Description of Relationships and Roles: This section outlines the relationships and roles the position holder holds within the company, encompassing any supervisory positions, subordinating roles, and other working relationships.

You May Also Like:-

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top