Job Description: Definitions, Components, Job Specification, Writing Job Description

What is Job Description?

A job description is the immediate product of the job analysis process the data collected through job analysis provides a basis for job description and job specification.

A job description should be written concisely and with the primary purpose of informing the employees. It is not so much a legal document, as it is a way to advise prospective and current employees about what is expected from a specific job.

What is Job Description
What is Job Description?

A job description is a list of the general tasks, functions, and responsibilities of a position. It also includes qualifications needed by the person in the job, the salary range for the position, etc. It is a written statement showing the job title, tasks, duties, and responsibilities involved in a job.

A job description is usually developed by conducting a job analysis, which includes examining the tasks and sequences of tasks necessary to perform the job. The analysis looks at the areas of knowledge and skills needed for the job.

Among the outcomes of the Job Analysis, one of them is the Job Description. It is a written statement that describes all the aspects of the job. The aim of the Job description is to simplify and standardize the Human Resources activities of an organization.

It also helps the employees to understand what is expected from them while doing their jobs. In order to make it useful, the job description should be comprehensive.

Definition of Job Description

Definition of Job Description
Definition of Job Description

These are some definitions of job descriptions given below:

A job description is an organized, factual statement of duties and responsibilities of a specific job. In brief, it should tell what is to be done. How it is done why. It is a standard of function, in that defines the appropriate and authorized content of a job.Flippo
Job description is a pertinent picture (in writing) of the organizational relationships, responsibilities, and specific duties that constitutes a given job or position. It defines a scope of responsibility and continuing work assignments that are sufficiently different from that of other jobs to warrant a specific title.Pigors and Myres
Job Description: is a written record of the duties, responsibilities, and requirements of a particular job. It is concerned with the job itself and not with the jobholders. It is a statement describing the job in such terms as its title, location, duties, working conditions, and hazards.

According to Zerga, who analyzed 401 articles on job descriptions about 30 years ago. A job description helps us in:

  1. Job grading and classification
  2. Transfers and promotions
  3. Adjustments of grievances
  4. Defining and outlining promotional steps,
  5. Establishing a common understanding of a job between employers and employees,
  6. Investigation accidents,
  7. Indicating faulty work procedures or duplication of papers,
  8. Maintaining, operating, and adjusting machinery,
  9. Time and motion studies,
  10. Defining the limits of authority,
  11. Indicating a case of personal merit,
  12. Studies of health and fatigue,
  13. Scientific guidance,
  14. Determining jobs suitable for occupational therapy,
  15. Providing hiring specifications,
  16. Providing performance indicators.

“Job description” is different from “performance assessment.” The former concerns such functions as planning, coordination, and assigning responsibility; while the latter concerns the quality of the performance itself. Though a job description is not an assessment, it provides an important basis for establishing assessment standards and objectives.

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Components of Job Description

Following are the components of job description:

  1. Job Title
  2. Job Summary
  3. Job Relationships
  4. Job Duties and Responsibilities
  5. Performance Standards and Working Conditions
Components of Job Description
Components of Job Description

Job Title

The Job description should provide information about the job title, the code number of the job, department, division, and plant location. It should also include the title of the immediate supervisor.

The date when the job description was written should also be mentioned as well as the date of modification should also be mentioned.

Job Summary

The job summary mentions the major functions of the job. It could also include information about the view of employers on the role and importance of the job and its holder to the organization.

The job summary should also include the expected results and information on the freedom available to each holder of the job.

Job Relationships

The job description should also include information about the position of immediate supervisor and immediate subordinate in the organization. It should also describe the nature of the relationship with the outsiders and other authorities in the organization.

Job Duties and Responsibilities

It provides a comprehensive record of duties and responsibilities which are associated with the job. It mentions the time taken for performing each duty and how often the duty has to be performed. It usually de- scribes the major duties which have to be performed.

Performance Standards and Working Conditions

Job Specification

Another outcome of the Job Analysis process in Job Specification. It specifies the minimum acceptable qualities required to be possessed by an employee to perform the job in a satisfactory manner. The following are the important aspects that should be included in the Job Specification:

  1. Education and Training
  2. Work Experience
  3. Skills and Competencies
  4. Physical Strength
  5. Stress Coping Ability
  6. Special Needs
Job Specification
Job Specification

Education and Training

It states the required level of formal education. It mentions the technical or professional qualifications required. It also mentions the minimum training requirements which the job holder must have completed.

Work Experience

It mentions the minimum work experience required for the effective performance of the job.

Skills and Competencies

Job Specification also states the types of skills necessary for the performance of the job. For e.g. it might specify that for the performance of the job, computer skills are required.

Physical Strength

In certain cases, in order to perform a certain job, a level of physical strength is required in the job holder. Job Specification should mention such requirements.

Stress Coping Ability

Where the job holder experiences a lot of stress and has to meet many deadlines, then the job specification should mention the stress management ability of the candidates.

Special Needs

Many times, the performance of a job in a satisfactory manner requires certain types of special skills, knowledge, and ability. For e.g. for per- forming a certain type of job, the candidate might have to travel in an extensive manner, may have to work at odd hours, or may require good memory power. The job specification should clearly mention these requirements in detail.

Writing Job Description

A Job description is a written statement of what the job holder actually does, how he or she does it, and under what conditions the job is performed. This information is in turn used to write a job specification.

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This lists the knowledge, abilities, and skills needed to perform the job satisfactorily. While there is no standard format you must use in writing a job description, most descriptions contain at least sections on:

  1. Job Identification
  2. Job Summary
  3. Duties and Responsibilities
  4. Supervision
  5. Relation to Other Jobs
  6. Machine
  7. Working Conditions
  8. Social Environment
Writing Job Description
Writing Job Description

Job Identification

It includes the job title, alterative title, department, division, and plant and code number of the job. The job title identifies and designates the job properly, the department, division, etc., indicate the name of the department where it is situated whether it is the maintenance department, mechanical shop etc.

The location gives the name of the place. This portion of the job description gives answers to two important questions: to what higher-level job is this job accountable. And who is supervised directly?

Job Summary

A job summary describes the contents of the jobs in terms of activities or tasks performed. The job summary should clarify the nature of the job. Primary, secondary, and other duties to be performed on the job should clearly be indicated separately.

Duties and Responsibilities

This is the most important phase of the job description and should be prepared very carefully. It describes the duties to be performed along with the frequency of each major duty. Responsibilities concerning custody of money, supervision, and training of staff, etc. are also described in this part.


Under it is given the number of persons to be supervised along with their job titles, and the extent of supervision involved general, intermediate, or close supervision.

Relation to Other Jobs

It describes the vertical and horizontal relationships f workflow. It also indicates to whom the jobholder will report and who will report to him. It gives an idea of channels of promotion.


Machine, tools, and equipment define each major type or trade name of the machines and tools and the raw materials used.

Working Conditions

The working environment in terms of heat, light, noise, dust, fumes, etc, the job hazards and the possibility of their occurrence and working conditions should also be described. It will be helpful in job evaluation.

Social Environment

It specifies the social conditions under which the work will be performed. In this part, the size of a workgroup, interpersonal interactions required to perform the job, and development facilities are mentioned.

What is a job description purpose?

A job description is the immediate product of the job analysis process the data collected through job analysis provides a basis for job description and job specification.

What is the job description in hrm?

A job description is a list of the general tasks, functions, and responsibilities of a position. It also includes qualifications needed by the person in the job, the salary range for the position, etc. It is a written statement showing the job title, tasks, duties, and responsibilities involved in a job.

What is a job specification?

Job specification is a statement of the minimum acceptable human qualities necessary to perform a job properly. It is a standard of personnel and designates the qualities required for acceptable performance. Job specification is a statement of summary of personnel requirements for a job. It may also be called “standard of personal for the selection.