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Why bother writing job descriptions?

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in Human Resources

Writing job descriptions for all of the positions in your company may sound like a lot of work, especially when they are not required by any law. But there are plenty of legal reasons why you should have them.

1. Defend against discrimination claims. If applicants claims that you rejected them because of their gender, race, etc., you can show a court that you rejected them because they did not meet all job qualifications.

You may be lucky enough to have a situation where multiple applicants meet the minimum qualifications for the job. So how do you break the tie? It is perfectly legal to base the decision on unwritten criteria, even a gut feeling. But it's better to base the decision on criteria that's already listed in the job description (which may not have been listed in the job ad).

For more than 200 jobs, you'll get model job descriptions and job advertisements ... a checklist for determining exemption status ... what to ask during interviews ... and what never to ask. It's all at your fingertips with the Job Descriptions & Interview Questions Sourcebook

2. Determine essential functions for Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) purposes. Employees must be able to perform essential job duties, with or without reasonable accommodation, in order to qualify for ADA protection.

3. Classify employees as exempt or non-exempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Exempt status is not determined by job title alone; the key is actual job duties.

Having written job descriptions is all well and good — but only if they are accurate. The job description must match the reality of the job, not what management thinks the job entails or the lofty standards management would like it to entail. Requiring a master's degree when a high school diploma will do may unfairly exclude applicants and lead to discrimination claims.

Including a 75-pound lifting requirement when the job only requires lifting 25 won't stop an employee from qualifying for ADA protection. Giving managers the duties of hiring and firing employees on paper, but without giving them actual decision-making power, could qualify them for overtime pay as a non-exempt employee under the FLSA.

The job descriptions and sample want ads in the Job Descriptions & Interview Questions Sourcebook not only make it simple to find great candidates. They help you comply with federal law.

Plus, you'll have a record of your good-faith efforts to evaluate each job – important if the feds or an employee ever question your decisions.

... and this power-packed CD even provides Word docs you can easily customize to suit your needs. Get the Job Descriptions & Interview Questions Sourcebook here.

The best-written job descriptions include:

Regularly performed job duties. It is more important to list what must be performed and accomplished than how, if there is more than one way to do it. Being too specific on how to accomplish a duty could lead to ADA issues when an employee asks for an accommodation.

Periodic duties. Include frequency and importance. Just because a duty is not performed regularly does not mean it is not essential. For example, you may want your IT personnel to be able to handle a server crashing, even if it doesn't happen very often.

Minimum qualifications for education, experience, etc.

Performance standards (e.g., sales quotas, words per minute).

Working conditions. It is necessary to indicate unusual conditions, such as exposure to extreme temperatures or to chemicals.

For each of 200+ job titles, the Job Descriptions & Interview Questions Sourcebook gives you: book cover
  • Model job advertisements and job descriptions to make it easier for you to be precise in your advertisements for employees so you can attract the candidates most suited to your needs – taking a lot of the work out of your work!
  • A handy checklist to help you determine exemption status for each of the 200+ jobs under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act. This is a simple way to prevent costly misclassifications, claims and overtime lawsuits.
  • A set of job-specific interview questions, plus a comparison chart for evaluating candidates for each job. As with the other documents, these documents are in Word, so you can easily edit or add questions as you please.
And there's even more:
  • A library of more than 350 skill-based questions, from adaptability to integrity to sales skills. (Such as: "Give an example of a time you did more than was required in your job.”) Plus special questions for recent graduates.
  • Questions not to ask, to avoid legal problems, from the obvious ("Have you ever been treated by a psychiatrist?”) to the seemingly innocent ("What kind of work does your spouse do?”).
With such a wealth of information, the Job Descriptions & Interview Questions Sourcebook is a must-have for any manager or HR person who does hiring, and for any others who simply want to make hiring easier.

Get your copy now!

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