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Writing Effective Job Descriptions. Donna VanRooy Sam Ramirez. What is a job description?. A formal statement of duties, qualifications, and responsibilities associated with a job. A communication tool that tells employees where their jobs leave off and another’s begins

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Writing effective job descriptions l.jpg

Writing EffectiveJob Descriptions

Donna VanRooy

Sam Ramirez


What is a job description l.jpg
What is a job description?

  • A formal statement of duties, qualifications, and responsibilities associated with a job.

  • A communication tool that tells employees where their jobs leave off and another’s begins

  • A document that tells employees where their position fits within the department and within the organization


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What are the primary uses of a job description?

Recruiting

Job Vacancy Posting

  • Job Classification

  • Classification code

  • Exempt/non-exempt

Job Descriptions

  • Legal Compliance

  • ADA adherence

  • Applicable employment laws

  • Performance Management

  • Performance standards

  • Career development discussions


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Errors and consequences of poor job descriptions

  • Exaggerates or downplays the importance of the job.

  • Lists qualifications that are not really needed for the job

  • Underestimates the qualifications necessary to be successful on the job

  • Job description is out-of-date because the job has changed


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Errors and consequences of poor job descriptions

  • Candidates without proper qualifications may be hired.

  • Recruitment and retention problems may occur because the employer is not accurate in their assessment of the qualifications necessary to successfully perform the job

  • Prospective and current employees may not have an accurate perception of the job’s duties and responsibilities and may experience performance problems or problems with prioritization.


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What are the major components of a job description?

  • Job Heading

  • Job Summary

  • Essential Duties, Tasks and Responsibilities

  • Qualifications (Education, Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, Special Skills, Licensures and Certifications)

  • Working Conditions & Physical Requirements


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What are some characteristics of a good job description?

  • A short story, not a novel, 1 to 2 pages tops

  • Focus on position, not person/performance

  • Focus on present, not past or future duties

  • The best job descriptions do not limit employees, but rather, cause them to stretch their experience, grow their skills, and develop their abilities to support organization

  • Dynamic rather than static, should be updated as requirements change


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How do you create a job description?

  • Use secondary sources – research (Google it)

  • Have incumbent draft a job description

  • Contact Human Resources

  • D.O.T. Dictionary of Occupational Titles - http://online.onetcenter.org/


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First, develop a job heading

  • Dept./Div.: Human Resources/Finance

  • Title: Asst. VP for Human Resources

  • Incumbent: Salvador Ramirez

  • Classification: Senior Manager - Q

  • Status: Full-time, exempt

  • Schedule: M – F, 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

  • Control #: FAF001

  • Date: January 10, 2008


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Next, create a job summary

  • Two to three sentences that describe position

  • Indicate reporting relationship

  • Indicate level of direction received

  • Example: Under the general direction of the VP for Finance, the AVP for HRserves as the college’s chief HR officer. The AVP for HR is responsible for managing all HR and Payroll functions in support the College’s mission.


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Types of supervision received

  • General Direction (incumbent receives guidance of broad goals and overall objectives and is responsible for establishing methods to attain them. Generally incumbent is in charge of an area and typically formulates policy, but does not necessarily have final authority)

  • Direction (establishes procedures for attaining specific goals in a broad area of work. Only results are typically reviewed. Develops procedures within limits of policy guidelines)


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Types of supervision received -cont’d

  • General Supervision (incumbent develops procedures for performance of variety of duties; or performs complex duties within established guidelines)

  • Supervision (indicates that the incumbent performs a variety of routine duties within established policies)

  • Close Supervision (indicates that the incumbent is assigned duties according to specific procedures, work is checked frequently)


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Then, identify major job functions

  • Oversight of benefits programs

  • Oversight of monthly, biweekly and student payrolls

  • Oversight of employment processes

  • Interprets personnel policies

  • Oversight of employee relations

  • Oversight of compliance issues

  • Supervises five (5) staff members


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Identify job duties within functions

  • Manage health and dental plans, including retiree health care plans

  • Administer 403 (b) RA and SRA retirement plans, as well as College’s 457 (b) plan

  • Manage college’s self-funded workers’ compensation program

  • Administer college’s tuition remission program

  • Manage college’s life insurance, supplemental life insurance and AD & D, short and LTD programs, unemployment compensation


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Tips for writing job duties

  • Duties describe what, how and why? “Schedules speakers for bi-monthly departmental seminars by calling individuals from established listings, ascertaining availability, determining event dates and composing confirming correspondence.”

  • Start with action verbs-“Answers telephone.”

  • Duties should be essential to the position; avoid listing marginal duties - “Conducts orientation sessions.” –Yes - “Uses staple remover.” - No


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Tips for writing job duties

  • Always use disclaimer -“The following duties are not to be considered a complete list of duties and responsibilities assigned to this position.”

  • How to determine essential duties - ADA

    • job exists to perform duty – “proofreader”

    • frequency of duty – “widget maker”

    • importance of duty – “airline pilot”

    • apply the walk like a duck test


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Identify qualifications

  • Identify minimum qualifications to help broaden pool – http://online.onetcenter.org/

  • Make sure qualifications relate to job duties

  • AVP HR - Bachelor’s required, masters’ preferred. SPHR certification preferred. At least 7 years of progressively responsible supervisory experience in higher education human resources. Knowledge of federal and state employment laws. Able to use computers. Strong written and oral communication skills.


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Working conditions & physical requirements

  • HR will handle these requirements

  • Should be ADA compliant - essential

  • Examples – walking, talking, bending, reaching, understand language, speaking, climbing, crawling

  • Working Conditions & Physical Requirements

    • Work is normally performed in a typical interior/office work environment. No or very limited physical effort required. No or very limited exposure to physical risk.


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Pulling it all together

  • Combine job heading, job summary, duties and qualifications (HR will do physical requirements)

  • Date it

  • Review with your supervisor and with employee

  • Update it as needed, review at least annually

  • Submit electronic Word copy to Human Resources who will place in database


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Other resources

  • Blank template will be on-line

  • Generic sample job descriptions will be on-line

  • HR has 100 electronic job descriptions on file

  • Job Description Lab Sessions

  • Repeat of this presentation

  • D.O.T. Dictionary of Occupational Titles - http://online.onetcenter.org/

  • http://jobdescriptions.unm.edu/jdeweb.cfm


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Next steps

  • Identify which job descriptions need to be done and who will do them

  • Involve employees in creating job descriptions

  • Give each employee a copy of their job description

  • Develop a timeline so that all descriptions are completed and submitted to HR by March 31, 2008

  • If multiple employees will be covered by same job description – list employees


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Financial Aid Office example

Director of Financial Aid

Assistant Director

Assistant Director of Financial Aid

Assistant Director of Financial Aid

Financial Aid Counselor

Office Specialist

Data Entry/ Office Specialist

Financial Aid Counselor

VP, Enrollment Services


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Financial Aid Office example

VP, Enrollment Management

Director of Financial Aid

Assistant Director

Assistant Director of Financial Aid

Assistant Director of Financial Aid

Financial Aid Counselor

Office Specialist

5 job descriptions for the department

Data Entry/Office Specialist

Financial Aid Counselor


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Questions?

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