Job description


What is a job description?

A job description sets out the purpose of a job, where the job fits into the organisation structure, the main accountabilities and responsibilities of the job and the key tasks to be performed.

Why is a job description important?

A job description has four main uses:

Organisation - it defines where the job is positioned in the organisation structure. Who reports to who.

Recruitment - it provides essential information to potential recruits (and the recruiting team) so that they can determine the right kind of person to do the job (see person specification)

Legal - the job description forms an important part of the legally-binding contract of employment

Appraisal of performance - individual objectives can be set based on the job description

Contents of a Job Description

The main contents of a job description are:

- Job Title: this indicates the role/function that the job plays within an organisation, and the level of job within that function (e.g. Finance Director would be a more senior position than Financial Accountant - although both jobs are in the "finance department")

- Reporting responsibilities: who is the immediate boss of the job holder?

- Subordinates; who reports directly TO the job holder?

- Main purpose - who is involved in the job overall

- Main tasks and accountabilities: description of the main activities to be undertaken and what the job holder is expected to achieve (e.g. in the case of the Management Accountant, this might include "Complete monthly management accounts by 10th working day of each month and prepare report on all key performance variances")

- Employment conditions

Definition of 'Job Description'

An accurate description of what a new employee will do in order to decide how to divide the work between employer and employee.


Definition: Creating a job description is a key step in the hiring process. You must be able to accurately describe what a new employee will do in order to decide how to divide the work between yourself and your employee.

Description: A job description is helpful in evaluating whether you need a full-time employee or a part-timer. It can form the basis of advertisements that you run, and can be used to present a clear picture of the job-to-job applicants. Finally, it can play a part in evaluating whether an employee has met the expectations you set.