6 Elements Every Job Description Must Have

Jul 5, 2018
min read

A job description is a document that describes the tasks, duties, and responsibilities required for a specific job. All companies, no matter their size, should have job descriptions for all of their jobs.

Why are they important?

Often, this document will be used during the hiring process to attract a pool of candidates. However, job descriptions serve a much broader purpose; they are essential in identifying the various employee attributes needed for the job. They are also one of the most widely used pieces of evidence during employment claims and are often used during performance reviews or during disciplinary actions when an employer is unsatisfied with an employee’s performance.

Job descriptions also provide both employer and employee clarity as to the parameters of the position. Because of this, job descriptions need to be carefully crafted and updated as a means of mitigating risks.

Here are 6 essential elements of a job description:

1. Job Title & Summary

A title helps define the nature of the job and provides the employee with a sense of identity. In this summary, make sure to include the following:

  • The department this job belongs to
  • The location of the department/job
  • The reporting relationship is for this position
  • The names of the managers/supervisors
  • The date of the day the job description was created/updated

2. Statement of Job Purpose & Objectives

Write a brief, but a concise statement, describing the purpose and objectives of the job in question. An effective statement describing the job's objectives and purpose will help applicants determine whether or not the position suits them.

3. Major Job Duties

List all significant job duties in order of most important to least important and provide indications as to the amount of time spent on each duty. Be sure to include any tools, equipment, and work aids required to perform the job.

4. Scope & Limits of Authority

Clarify job responsibilities and areas where duties may overlap–who is ultimately responsible for what. Outline any cash, tool, equipment, facilities, and budgets attached to the job.

Explain the nature and extent of supervision given and received as well as the level of authority over others. Clearly outline the consequences of errors and poor performance.

5. Mental/ Physical Effort & Working Conditions

Provide a brief description of the quality of work environment, the types of hazards or dangers involved, the culture of the company and work. Outline the type of effort demanded by the job, such as physical lifting or mental demands.

Doing so will give prospective candidates an important idea of what the working conditions are like and what is required from them on the job, as well as help them determine whether or not they are the right fit for the job.

6. Required Qualifications

Clearly outline the job qualifications needed for the job. The section should include skills, training, education, abilities, experience, certificates, and licenses. The description should be detailed enough that prospective job candidates can determine whether or not they possess the necessary qualifications for the job.

Looking to create your own job descriptions? Visit our friends at TalentLyft for 500+ job description templates.

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Katherine is a Client Experience Intern at Humi, is secretly obsessed with tigers, has a passion for learning new things, and is at the finish line for getting her CHRP.

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