What should job descriptions contain

Job description - definition, content and template

Job descriptions are time-consuming at first, but then make your day-to-day business easier. Ultimately, you save time and money. Here you can find out what content a job description must contain - with a sample template for download.

Download the job description template here.

What is a job description?

The job description is the written, standardized documentation and precise description of the characteristics of a job. It defines tasks and activities, goals, competencies, responsibilities and duties associated with the position and is therefore an important tool in personnel planning.

A job description is always independent of a person, i.e. it does not contain any personal data. Instead, the position is defined as the smallest organizational unit in the organizational structure of a company. It defines a certain position in the company by separating it from other positions or relating it to it.

The following terms are also used as (fuzzy) synonyms for job descriptions in everyday HR work:

  • Job description
  • Job description
  • Position guide

Important distinction to the job description: All three synonyms usually contain personal data!

Job description vs. job advertisement - attention, risk of confusion!

The wording of the job description and job advertisement is similar, but they refer to two completely different things. While the job description drafts the abstract position, the job advertisement serves to apply for a specific position in the company. The job advertisement is usually identical to the content of a job advertisement. It draws on the central content of the job description, but is far less detailed.

A job description can therefore be the perfect basis for your job advertisement. Applicants can quickly see whether they are a good fit for the position or not. And you narrow the circle of candidates from the outset - and in the best case, save yourself unnecessary effort in the recruiting process.

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The content of a good job description

With the help of the job description, the company approaches the specific content of jobs. Would you like a specific example of a new job to be created? You would like to strengthen your marketing team, but you do not yet know exactly which areas of responsibility the new one or the new one should cover. In the job description you then define the following points with the help of the Marketing department:

What are the routine tasks of the position to be advertised?

  • Example: daily social media planning and reporting

How far does the budgetary responsibility extend?

  • Example: € 5,000 per month

What is the requirement profile?

  • Example: Studies with a focus on marketing, at least three years of professional experience

You can specify and design the job description step by step using these and other thematically appropriate questions. How to proceed in three steps:

  • Define the central purpose of the job description in advance
  • Get content-related input from the department for which a job description is pending
  • Work out text modules - and remember: A job description should not be a novel, but rather short, concise and precise statements!

What must a job description contain in terms of content?

1. The name of the position
Example: Online Marketing Manager

2. The main tasks of the job
Example: Development of an online strategy to acquire new customers

3. The secondary tasks of the position
Example: reporting and analysis of the campaigns

4. The goals of the job
Example: Increase in the number of new customers in 2021 by 15 percent

5. The area of ​​responsibility of the position
Example: Sole responsibility for campaign planning in the social media area

6. The competencies, powers and duties of the job holder
Example: Creation of monthly reports and presentation in the management journal

7. The superiors
Example: Marketing Director (line manager)

8. The colleagues and deputies
Example: Direct Marketing Manager, Social Media Manager, Corporate Communications Manager

Do not forget! A job description can only fulfill its purpose if it is permanently up to date. For HR, this is a challenge in day-to-day business, especially when restructuring departments or when merging corporate divisions.

Template for a job description

Our template for a job description for download contains all the essential components. Please note that you must observe company-specific guidelines and specifications for your personal job description.

Download: Template for job description

This template for the job description will help you to outline new positions in a meaningful way. This makes it easier for you to find the right candidates for your vacancy.

 

Benefits, advantages and disadvantages of the job description

Job descriptions help managers and employees as well as the HR department.

In addition, job descriptions are also important guidelines for job holders, as all of the tasks that they have to perform within the framework of their employment contract are derived from them. Therefore, job descriptions are also attached to the employment contract. The job description can help motivate the job holder by allowing them to read soft factors such as the meaning and purpose of their area of ​​responsibility from the document.

Important arguments for the job description

The job description improves numerous processes in HR. Ideally, it ensures noticeable time and cost savings in HR because it affects various workflows. Need more arguments? Job descriptions ...

 

  • facilitate job postings
  • simplify the selection process in the application process
  • promote the hiring process
  • improve the onboarding process
  • are the basis of successful personnel planning

To the same extent, the job description can serve as a management tool. The responsible manager can use a job description as documentation for the process design when goals are agreed or tasks are delegated.

These are the advantages and disadvantages of job descriptions:

Benefits of a job descriptionDisadvantages of a job description
Base document for job advertisementsHigh initial expenditure of time for manual processing
Basis for target agreement discussionsJob holders feel restricted in their freedom and innovative strength
Starting point for personnel requirements planningJob holders do "work according to the rules"
Orientation for necessary training and further educationDetails obscure the big picture and the interrelationships
Motivation boost for employees - they recognize the purpose of their tasksRegular adjustment and supplementary printing in the job descriptions
Transparency in the company“Bureaucratic monster” and the resulting over-organization
Basis for training new employeesNot a realistic image in an increasingly dynamic world of work
Guideline for delegation of tasks by executivesDetails obscure the big picture and the interrelationships
Minimizing the risk of overlapping and exceeding competencies
Promotion of responsible behavior

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