Are you being Honest when Writing Job Descriptions?


Job descriptions serve several important functions.  They set clear expectations for your staff, managers and the business owner.  AND they protect both you and the employee from the various employment laws.   

Yet, I read and review so many job descriptions that are like hopes and dreams.  A unicorn that does not exist.  This sets your organization, you, and your staff, up for failure.   

Let’s Ask a Few Questions

  • Have you ever been in a role where you felt like you could never 100% succeed? 
  • Have you ever been a manager that is unable to meet your expectations and those of your staff because the expectations were not aligned?  
  • Have you found that you can meet 80% of the job but not 100% with the candidates that you are interviewing?   

In all these cases there are missed opportunities in attracting and retaining the best employees for the role.  Not only that, you may be in a situation where you are unintentionally discriminating against a group of individuals. 

Below are 5 questions you can ask to determine if your job descriptions are an accurate reflection of the work being done by your staff. 

Do your essential functions match what is ACTUALLY done by the staff in that role? 

Essential function:  Sort materials, such as metals, glass, wood, paper or plastics, into appropriate containers for recycling. 

Actual Job:  Sorting material and driving a forklift to move bins to sort. Are your essential functions written in SMARTY goals?  

Are your essential functions written in SMARTY goals?  

  • Essential function states:  Sort materials, such as metals, glass, wood, paper or plastics, into appropriate containers for recycling. 
  • SMARTY Essential Function:  Sort 10 tubs of materials such as metals, glass, wood, paper or plastics into appropriate containers with a 99% accuracy rate per hour to preserve our environment while delighting our clients. 

Do you require a specific level of education that is not necessary for the position? 

  • Does an Accounting Clerk really need a bachelor’s degree in business management or accounting?  Probably not!  This could be revised as:  Associates degree in accounting or business management preferred.  

Do you require a drivers’ license for all positions, yet only 10% of your staff are required to drive in that specific role? 

  • Use the terms preferred vs. required to ensure that you are attracting a wide range of applicants and not discriminating against individuals.  

Are your physical requirements accurate based on what the individual is actually doing? 

Ensuring you have accurate job descriptions is the foundation for a strong culture built on clear expectations and accountability.  Curious to how you build out your entire HR infrastructure in an easy to follow format that weaves in your culture to support staff and company success?  Check out our HR Foundation Library