Author: Jim Riley Last updated: Sunday 23 September, 2012
What is a job description?
A job description sets out the purpose of a job, where
the job fits into the organisation structure, the main accountabilities and
responsibilities of the job and the key tasks to be performed.
Why is a job description important?
A job description has four main uses:
Organisation - it defines where the job is positioned in
the organisation structure. Who reports to who.
Recruitment - it provides essential information to potential
recruits (and the recruiting team) so that they can determine the right kind
of person to do the job (see person specification)
Legal - the job description forms an important part of
the legally-binding contract of employment
Appraisal of performance - individual objectives can be
set based on the job description
Contents of a Job Description
The main contents of a job description are:
- Job Title: this indicates the role/function that the
job plays within an organisation, and the level of job within that function
(e.g. Finance Director would be a more senior position than Financial Accountant
- although both jobs are in the "finance department")
- Reporting responsibilities: who is the immediate boss
of the job holder?
- Subordinates; who reports directly TO the job holder?
- Main purpose - who is involved in the job overall
- Main tasks and accountabilities: description of the main
activities to be undertaken and what the job holder is expected to achieve
(e.g. in the case of the Management Accountant, this might include "Complete
monthly management accounts by 10th working day of each month and prepare
report on all key performance variances")