Effective Job Descriptions: 5 Critical Elements

In addition to the job title, what elements should small business owners include to create effective job descriptions? The following elements of a job description are critical.

Elements of a job description

  • Direct report. Along with the person's supervisor, list other colleagues he or she is likely to work with on key projects, such as coworkers in the IT or purchasing departments, and any positions that will report to him or her.
  • Key responsibilities. Effective job descriptions should detail the day-to-day tasks and big-picture initiatives with which the individual will be involved.
  • Qualifications. Describe the experience and education, as well as any certifications, needed. Also list the skills required, including the necessary software expertise and interpersonal abilities.
  • Expectations. One of the most important job description elements is an overview of expectations for the person who fills the role. Be sure to detail both the immediate and long-term objectives for the position and define what constitutes exceptional performance. Be as specific as possible to provide a clear overview of your standards.
  • Compensation. If possible, list the salary range for the opening. Also highlight the benefits that will be offered, particularly those such as an outstanding retirement plan or innovative work/life balance program that will distinguish your small business.

Questions about job description elements?

As you strive to create effective job descriptions, remember that they are generally considered legal documents. Avoid references to such characteristics as ethnicity, age, religion and sex. If you have any questions about the elements of a job description, consult your legal counsel.