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A job description is a list that a person might use for general tasks, or functions, and responsibilities of a position. It may often include to whom the position reports, specifications such as the qualifications or skills needed by the person in the job, or a salary range. Job descriptions are usually narrative, but some may instead comprise a simple list of competencies; for instance, strategic human resource planning methodologies may be used to develop a competency architecture for an organization, from which job descriptions are built as a shortlist of competencies.
Creating a job description
A job description is usually developed by conducting a job analysis, which includes examining the tasks and sequences of tasks necessary to perform the job. The analysis considers the areas of knowledge and skills needed for the job. A job usually includes several roles. The job description might be broadened to form a person specification or may be known as Terms Of Reference. The person/job specification can be presented as a stand alone document though in practice, it is usually included within the job description.
Roles and responsibilities
A job description may include relationships with other people in the organization: Supervisory level, managerial requirements, and relationships with other colleagues.
A job description need not be limited to explaining the current situation, or work that is currently expected; it may also set out goals for what might be achieved in the future.
Prescriptive job descriptions may be seen as a hindrance in certain circumstances:
- Job descriptions may not be suitable for some senior managers as they should have the freedom to take the initiative and find fruitful new directions;
- Job descriptions may be too inflexible in a rapidly-changing organization, for instance in an area subject to rapid technological change;
- Other changes in job content may lead to the job description being out of date;
- The process that an organization uses to create job descriptions may not be optimal.
- Strategic human resource planning
- Competency-based management
- Competency-based recruitment
- International Standard Classification of Occupations
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