Benefits and Compensation

Never Put These in a Job Description

Essential job elements … exposure to physical hazards … pay grade … the list of what should be in a job description is long. But what should you keep OUT of job descriptions?

Here’s a checklist taken from BLR’s popular Job Descriptions Encyclopedia. How many of these “no-no’s” will you find in your job descriptions?

1. Instructions about how to do the job. ("Pick up the tool, select the proper size fitting, and gently burnish …") Instead, talk about outcomes and areas of responsibility.

2. Opinions or recommendations. ("This job is the hardest job in the plant." "Computerizing the inventory will make this job more efficient.") Just talk about the job with reference to how it is currently done, not how it might be done.

3. Negative statements. ("Does not answer the phone while supervisor is out of the office.") Talk about what the jobholder does, not what he or she doesn’t do. (That could be a long list!)

4. Abbreviations and technical terms. ("Performs Gaz-Jac reroll if random SIT readings exceed PPLT.") Even if their meanings are well known to the jobholder and the supervisor, spell technical details out, so that those who might refer to the job description in the future—like maybe an agency investigator or a judge—will know what it is saying.


Your job descriptions are already written and keyed onto CD format. Thousands of HR managers have depended on the print version of this product—now they’re flocking to get SmartJobs on CD! Try it at no cost or risk. Go here


5. Duties to be performed in the future. ("When the conversion is done, employee will handle task X.") The general rule is that a function must have been performed for a period of 3 months before being included in a job description, in order for the worker to be familiar enough with it to provide the job analyst creating the description with the necessary information.

6. Occasional or temporary duties. ("Assists Department G on request," when that only happened once two years ago.) Include such tasks if they are essential functions, however.

7. Generalized statements. ("Handles emergencies.") This could range from simply calling 911 to being site coordinator for the entire emergency operation during a major meltdown. Clarify what you mean!

‘It’s Not in My Job Description’

Finally, the job description should never restrict supervisors from assigning additional duties not specified in the job description. (However, these extra duties and responsibilities should not be considered "essential functions" of the job.)

To cover that aspect, many organizations include this statement in every job description:

This job description in no way states or implies that these are the only duties to be performed by this employee. He or she will be required to follow any other instructions and to perform any other duties requested by his or her supervisor.

Wouldn’t It Be Great ?

Job descriptions are a must-do HR task, but they are not quick to do and they are not easy— what with reviews, updating, and legal review of essential functions. Wouldn’t it be great if they were available, already written?

Actually, they are. We have over 500 of them, ready to go, covering every common position in any organization from receptionist right up to president.

BLR has now released its collection of 500 job descriptions, formerly only available in the classic, but shelf-filling, Job Descriptions Encyclopedia, in a program called SmartJobs on CD. That’s cause for celebration—your job descriptions are a click away from being done.

And we’re talking about virtually all of them, covering every common position in any organization, from receptionist right up to president. They are all there in BLR’s SmartJobs.


Throw your keyboard away—More than 700 prewritten, legally reviewed job descriptions ready at the click of your mouse. Use as is—or easily modify, save, and print. Pay grades are already attached. Try BLR’s remarkable SmartJobs program at no cost. Click here to learn more.


These are descriptions you can depend on. Our collection has been constantly refined and updated over time, with descriptions revised or added each time the law, technology, or the way business is done changes.

Revised for the ADA, Pay Grades Added

BLR editors have taken apart every one of the 700 descriptions and reassembled them to be ADA-compliant. And now they’ve added pay grades for each job, based on BLR’s annual surveys of exempt and nonexempt compensation, as well as other data.

According to our customers, this is an enormous timesaver, enabling them to make compensation decisions even as they define the position.

SmartJobs also includes an extensive tutorial on setting up a complete job descriptions program, as well as how to encourage participation from all parts of the organization. That includes top management, employees, and any union or other collective-bargaining entity.

Twice-Yearly Updates, No Additional Cost

Very important these days are the updates included in the program as a standard feature—essential at a time of constantly changing laws and yes, emerging technologies. And the cost of the program is extremely reasonable, averaging less than 66 cents per job description … already written, legally reviewed, and ready to adapt or use as-is.

You can evaluate BLR’s SmartJobs at no cost in your office for up to 30 days. Just click here and we’ll be delighted to send it to you.