by: Tione Torrens

Job descriptions can serve many functions in a business’ experience with their employees.  A job description can serve as a method to communicate a clear understanding of job expectations and duties, the information needed to help classify exempt or non-exempt job status, and identify any physical requirements of the job. 

Here are just a few creative ways to use job descriptions at your company:

  • Writing employment advertisements
    • Make sure to list the job title and clearly define the education, skills, knowledge and work experience along with any other requirements for the position.
  • Selecting employees
    • Based on applicants resume, application and interviews, reference the job description can be a great tool in reviewing and comparing applicants to help you select the most qualified candidate.
  • Setting performance standards
    • By sharing their job description with every employee on their first date of hire and periodically throughout their tenure with your company, you can be more assured that your employee has a clear understanding of your expectations.
  • Conducting performance reviews
    • When it’s time for a performance review, the job description can serve as a tool to assist you in evaluating the employee’s performance in comparison to what is expected of them as outlined in the job description.

While job descriptions are not required by law, they may be admissible in court should an employment lawsuit be filed.  With that being said, please review these best practices when creating a job description:

  • Have all job descriptions reviewed by an employment law attorney.
  • Ensure and clearly state the exempt or non-exempt job status under the Fair Labor and Standards Act and applicable state laws.
  • Determine and list essential and non-essential job functions in the present tense action verbs (ex: manager ensures…)
  • Avoid including procedures or justifications; include only responsibilities and required skills.
  • Refrain from using job titles that reference gender (ex: Cleaning Woman).

To learn more about how job descriptions can, specifically, assist you in the recruitment process, please consider attending our one-time only seminar – 6 Ways to Hire Smarter – provided in conjunction with your local SCORE chapter on Wednesday, July 20, 2016.  To register, please click here.

About Paychex:

Paychex, Inc., (NASDAQ: PAYX) is a leading provider of integrated human capital management solutions for payroll, HR, retirement, and insurance services.  By combining its innovative software-as-a-service technology and mobility platform with dedicated, personal service, Paychex empowers small – and medium-sized business owners to focus on the growth and management of their business.  Backed by more than 40 years of industry expertise, Paychex services approximately 590,000 payroll clients across 100 locations and pays one out of every 15 American private sector employees.  Learn more about Paychex by visiting, and stay connected on Twitter and LinkedIn.

About the Author: 

Tione Torrens joined Paychex in 1994.  She has held several positions at Paychex which include 13 years of management and leadership experience.  In her current role of Sr. HR Generalist, Tione consults small- to medium-sized businesses on human capital management matters from hire-to-retire which includes, but is not limited to, compliance-related matters and strategic business analyses and how to incorporate that into their human capital management needs.  Tione is a graduate of Western International University in Phoenix, Arizona where she studied Business Management.  Tione also has a Sr. HR Professional certification with the HR Certification Institute and a Senior Certification Professional with the Society for Human Resources Management.

Job descriptions & the employment life cycle