More about Job Description (JD)

A job description (JD) is a written statement of what the job holder does, how it is done, under what conditions it is done and why it is done. It describes what the job is all about throwing light on job content, environment and conditions of employment. It is descriptive in nature and defines the purpose and scope of a job. The main purpose of writing job a description is to differentiate the job from other jobs and state its outer limits.

Contents: A job description usually covers the following information:

1) Job title: Tells about the job title, code number and the department where it is done.
2) Job summary: A brief write up about what the job is all about.
3) Job activities: A description of the tasks done, facilities used, extent of supervisory help etc.
4) Working conditions: The physical environment of job in terms of heat, light, noise, and other hazards.
5) Social environment: Size of work group and interpersonal interactions required to do this job.
6) Social environment: size of work group and interpersonal interactions required to do the job.

Specimen of Job Description

Title Compensation manager

Code HR / 2310

Department Human Resource Department

Summary Responsible for the design and administration of employees compensation programs


1) Conduct job analysis
2) Prepare job descriptions for current and projected positions.
3) Evaluate job description and act as a chairman of job evaluation committee.
4) Insure that the company’s compensation rates are in tune with the company’s philosophy.
5) Relate salary to the performance of each employee. Conduct periodic salary surveys.
6) Develop and administer performance appraisal programs.
7) Develop an overseas bonus, other employee benefit plans.
8) Develop an integrated HR information system.

Working conditions: Normal, Eight hours per day. Five days a week

Report to Director, Human Resource Department.

Problems with Job descriptions

Job description serves as a valuable guide for both the employees and the employer. Employees know what they are supposed to do well in advance. Employers on the other hand can take collective steps when the duties covered by the job descriptions are not performed as required . In actual practice several problems crop up consciously or unconsciously while formulating job descriptions.

1) It is not easy to reduce all the essential components of a job in the form of a clear and precise document.
2) Job descriptions are sometimes not updated as job duties change.
3) They can limit the scope of the activities of the job holder, reducing organizational flexibility.

Writing Clear and specific job descriptions:

Accordingly the following guidelines should be kept in mind while writing job descriptions:

1) The JD should indicate the nature and scope of the job, including all important relationships
2) It should be brief factual and precise, use active verbs such as collect mail, sort out mail, distribute mail etc. avoid statements of opinion. Give a clear picture of the job, explain all the duties and responsibilities of the job in greater detail.
3) More specific words should be chosen to show (1) the kind of work (2) the degree of complexity (3) the degree of skill required (4) the extent to which problems are standardized and (5) the degree and type of accountability
4) The extent of supervision available should also be clearly stated.
5) The reporting relationships must also be clearly indicated (e.g who reports to whom, frequency etc).

Mode of writing

The job analysts has to write the JD after proper consultations with the worker and the supervisors .The preliminary draft about the job must be discussed in the presence of both the worker and the supervisor to uncover gaps, deficiencies etc.

Excerpts from HRM VSP