Paralegal. Receptionist. Legal assistant. Attorney. Custodian.
We know what these positions entail, right? So why is it necessary to write a job description? After all, someone applying for any of these positions should already know what the core job responsibilities are or they wouldn’t be applying for them. Writing down the position’s job requirements takes valuable time – time that you could be using for other vital business needs. What’s the point?
There are several benefits to having detailed job descriptions for each position in your company.
Having a detailed job description will assist you in determining what skills, education and experience you are looking for in an employee. Knowing this information at the beginning of the recruitment process allows you to tailor the job posting so that the candidates have clear expectations of the open position. For example, a receptionist will certainly expect to answer the phone and greet customers, but do they know they will also be required to schedule appointments? Will they need to file or ship packages? How about cleaning the break room? These are all questions that should be answered before extending an offer to a prospective employee and having a written job description ensures that both the employer and employee have an understanding of the responsibilities of the job.
While compensation for a position is typically not listed on the job description, the job description should provide enough information to research the market value for the position to set a competitive salary.
Now that you’ve hired your employee, it’s time to orient them to the new position. Having a job description allows you to create a checklist to ensure that the employee is aware of both primary and secondary duties and is properly trained for both. It helps set expectations and reduces stress on the employee, so they can be assured they are covering all of their new duties.
You hired your employee because they bring a certain skill set to the position; however, it’s likely they will require some training and development to perform certain aspects of the job. A job description allows you to identify the gaps between the skills the employee already has and those necessary to perform the job effectively. In addition, having job descriptions for each position in your organization allows current employees to learn what skills they need to obtain in order to move into another position within your company.
- Manage performance
What better way to measure an employee’s performance than by comparing it to a detailed job description? With an official description of job duties, it’s easy for both you and your employees to know whether they are meeting their performance expectations.
Even though job descriptions are not required by law, having a detailed job description can assist in ensuring that you are complying with applicable employment laws, including the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Equal Employment Opportunity, and the Fair Labor Standards Act just to name a few.
While there are certain key components to a job description, there is no standard format.
Emily Possidento, MBA, SHRM-SCP is the HR Consulting Senior Manager at MCM. She has more than 16 years of experience in hiring assistance, assessments, and organizational development. Prior to joining MCM, she worked for a Fortune 100 company, as well as a privately-held executive search firm.
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