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HR 101 – What to do when . . . You need to compile a Job Description – Part 5

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Please note that this pertains to South African Labour Relations and Best Practice requirements.

In the final installment of this series, let’s have a look at some more of the “Do’s” and “Don’ts” of writing a Job Description.

• Do ensure that the questions “what”, “why”, “how” and “how often” are answered, clearly and concisely. Remember to use words that are easily understood so that there can be no confusion.
• Do make sure that there is sufficient detail for each task. Again, you don’t want to confuse the issue – make sure that it is simple and to the point.
• Do use examples in order to highlight or explain tasks, especially where a task is described in general terms.
• Do use short and concise sentences.
• Do begin all sentences with an action verb (for example use words like assists, advises, controls, approves or authorizes.)
• Do use precise numbers (for example – reports into two directors rather than reports into a number of directors.) It is better to be specific.
• Do number the task.

– Don’t use an individual’s name in preference to job titles (for example – reports into Operation’s Manager rather than report into Joe Soap – Joe Soap may leave the Company in the next few weeks and then who do they report into?)
– Don’t include duties or responsibilities of others where these don’t directly affect the job that is being described.
– Don’t include incidental activities which occur once only and are never likely to be repeated.
– Don’t lose the basics of the task by putting in data that is totally irrelevant.
– Don’t describe attitudes and opinions – stick with the facts.
– Don’t start sentences with “if” and “when”.
– Don’t pad the job description to make it look more important than what it is. Some times things just what they are – leave it simple clear and concise.

Remember always, the Job Description must fit the job not the person or the person must always fit in with the Job Description.