What about internal communications coordinator, family protection consultant, or Process operative? These titles are for a fax-machine operator, insurance salesman, and chicken factory employee, respectively.
When job titles like “lifeguard” start to be replaced with “wet leisure assistant” (seriously, Ceredigion County Council hired for that post), companies need to start reconsidering their human resources strategies.
The problem with confusing job titles and descriptions is that they attract the wrong candidates. And, once employed, workers won’t know what’s expected from them if their actual duties differ from what they were hired, on paper, to do.
Typically, job descriptions include a precise job title, short summary of the responsibilities involved, the specific set of skills or experience required, and a salary range.
Things to avoid? Jargon, legalese, ambiguous list of duties.
If you don’t know where to begin, start writing down the description of your ideal candidate.
Among your employees of similar rank, what kinds of words do you associate with your most valued? Use those same adjectives to seek your future employees.
Most importantly, be precise. Use descriptive action verbs (advise, compile, report, etc.) instead of vague action verbs (be, do, work, assist, etc.). To be precise, you must write in complete sentences that leave no room for misinterpretation.
Prioritize the most important responsibilities of the job. If you are writing “occasionally” next to an assignment, consider leaving it off. Explain these more peripheral functions in the in-person interview.
In addition to explain what and where these job tasks will be completed, consider offering reasons why you need them done and how often. If you want to attract the right candidate for a job, they must be aware of your motivations behind hiring them in for this particular position.
Where does this position rank next to others in the same firm, and why is it so important? Your reasons for hiring a new associate or law firm professional should compliment their reasons for applying to the job.
Finally, every time you hire for a new position, you should take the opportunity to reevaluate the job descriptions for positions already in place. It’s important to ensure there is no duplication of responsibility within your firm. And, it will make hierarchies and reporting systems clear for both new and old employees.
Are your job descriptions accurate and up-to-date? Do they comply with the Fair Labor Standards Act, Americans with Disabilities Act, and Family and Medical Leave Act? If not, your organization may be next-in-line for an investigation by a governmental agency or even a devastating lawsuit.
In fact, just one poorly written job description could leave your company exposed. Job descriptions are typically the first document looked at in legal disputes or during a regulatory agency’s inquiry.
And with the rise of disputes stemming from the employer-employee relationship, particularly claims arising under the FLSA, FMLA, and ADA, you need to take keen look at your job descriptions to ensure they’re legally compliant.
You will learn easy steps to create job descriptions that are:
- Accurate, clear, and defensible under the FLSA, ADA, and FMLA;
- Written in a manner that clearly defines the responsibilities of employee positions; and
- Consistent with best practices under other federal employment laws.
Before you start advertising for a “waste management and disposal technician” to empty your trash, think about whether or not it’s really your job titles and descriptions that should be thrown out.