For most HR and hiring managers, writing and updating job descriptions for employees is not the most enjoyable part of the job. But it’s worth the effort, as detailed job descriptions are very important to attracting the right candidates when you are looking to fill an open position.

And there are legal factors to consider, too.

If a disgruntled former employee or job applicant sues, your job posting can provide the official definition of their day-to-day duties, so the more accurate it is, the better.

Here are three tips for creating a job description that helps you find the best candidate while protecting you from lawsuits:

  1. Focus on responsibilities. Before you start throwing around titles and salaries, spend some time discussing the necessary job responsibilities. This will help you define what kind of person you really need to hire. This will also help your team sift through the applicant pool to find the ideal candidate for the position.
  2. Be specific about essential activities. One of the most important pieces of a job description is the delineation between essential and nonessential activities. Essential functions are duties that are central to the position. The HR Daily Advisor states, “From the ADA standpoint, the most important thing the job description does is to delineate the essential functions. This is because in accommodating employees with disabilities, they must be able to accomplish the essential functions of the job…”
  3. Consult with legal counsel. If you are concerned about a job description, it may be beneficial to consult with your in-house or outside attorneys. They will be able to ensure you’ve constructed an airtight description.

You can learn more about job descriptions and legal issues in these articles from Inc. and HR Daily Advisor.

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