The Purpose and Content of a Job Description

Every organization, no matter how small or large, needs employees to carry out its mission. Whether it’s stocking shelves, manning a cash register, or processing customer transactions, every position has its own unique duties and responsibilities. That’s why it’s so important for businesses to provide detailed job descriptions and expectations to applicants.

A job description outlines the specific duties and responsibilities of a position, including what the employee is expected to do and the standards that are expected in that role. When an employee knows what is expected of them and what their performance measures are, they can develop a plan to be successful in their role.

Many managers think a job description is simply a list of job duties that lists key responsibilities and describes responsibilities in terms of activities to be performed.

However, a job description should go beyond this and provide detailed information about the position.

A well-written job description will include:

  • The title of the position;
  • The department or division the position reports to;
  • The location of the position;
  • What the position requires in terms of education, experience, and skills;
  • Duties – a list of the tasks required of the employee;
  • Responsibilities – a detailed description of what the employee is responsible for;
  • Performance standards – what is expected of the employee in terms of quality, quantity, timeliness, and safety;
  • Achievements – what is expected of the employee in terms of results.

Here is a sample job description for an insurance sales representative position:

“The insurance sales representative is responsible for selling life, health, and property insurance products to customers. The job requires the sales representative to have a good working knowledge of insurance products and be able to sell them effectively. Sales representatives must be goal-oriented individuals with the ability to communicate persuasively. While the initial focus may be on selling the products to existing clients, the position also requires maintaining relationships with clients and meeting sales goals through new business development. “

The job description should be tailored to the specific company and position. However, the general elements outlined above should be included. A job description can be a valuable tool for managers in understanding what is expected of their employees and setting performance standards. Companies sometimes make the mistake of thinking that a job description is simply a task list to be used when hiring a new employee. In reality, the job description should be used as a tool for communicating expectations to current employees as well. By providing a clear description of the job, employees can better understand their responsibilities and know what is expected of them.

When it comes to job performance, most individuals don’t intentionally perform poorly. People tend to thrive within a role that is meant for them. Setting clear expectations within a job description ultimately save the employer and the employee a lot of time, and helps to avoid this from occurring at all. A strong and well-written job description assists in scouting for the perfect candidate required for the position.


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