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Building a Recruitment and Retention Plan

Write an Accurate Job Description Quick Tool [2.1.4]


Once the job analysis is complete and tasks, competencies, attributes, and training and supervision needs are clearly defined, an accurate job description can be written. A job description typically encompasses general tasks, functions, and responsibilities of a position; to whom the employee will report; qualifications required by the employee; and potential salary range. For a more detailed explanation of a job description, visit the resource, Job Description Definition  [2.1.5.a.1]. Part of the process of writing a job description is to come to consensus on the responsibilities and scope of the position, discussed when analyzing the position.

The article, Importance of Job Descriptions to Organizational Success [2.1.5.a.4] outlines the need for effective job descriptions to manage employees and to protect the agency.

Task 1: Determine the Sections of the Job Description

Job descriptions can vary, but generally, components are standard. For a summary of typical job description sections and alternative component terms, the resource, Job Description Components [2.1.5.a.2], is useful to help understand what sections are involved. The Job Description Form [2.1.5.a.2.a] provides a completed sample and template that allows you to document required information.

Task 2: Determine the Language to Describe the Tasks

A job description should be written in such a way that it allows any person to understand what the employee does (physical, mental, and relational activities of the job), how it is done (procedures, methods, tools, and information used to carry out tasks), and why it is done (objectives of tasks). It should also explain the position in terms of relationships with other employees (supervisors, supervisees, and coworkers) and how the position affects the organization’s mission and vision.

The Department of Labor’s Handbook for Analyzing Jobs suggests that job descriptions should be written:
  • With terse language;
  • Using a direct style;
  • In the present tense;
  • With an active verb beginning each task description and the summary statement;
  • With an objective for each task; and
  • Without unnecessary or unclear words.

Task 3: Utilize Job Description Tools to Complete the Job Description

The resource,Tools to Help Write a Job Description [2.1.5.a.3], includes links to an online job description writer, sample forms and job descriptions, and a link to tips from experienced sources. It also offers behavioral health-specific resources on writing a job description based on competencies in the field of substance abuse treatment, and describes how to use competencies to develop a career ladder or lattice.

Two sample job descriptions for prevention specialists, used by Operation PAR, Inc., Pinellas Park, FL can also help you in creating a description that reflects the position in focus:

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