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Job descriptions

Content 
Purpose

Job descriptions are written statements of the primary tasks, functions, responsibilities and relationships of a role. Job descriptions are essential aids to recruitment, job evaluation, induction, performance management and staff development review processes.

Job descriptions should:

  • Provide a clear and concise description of the whole job so its purpose is clearly understood
  • Describe each major task clearly in a separate sentence(s)
  • Describe how much direction and supervision is required to conduct the functions of the position, and the interaction with other positions within the School to achieve a given result
  • Provide a context for understanding the objectives of the position by defining and clarifying its responsibilities, supervision and relationships
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Style

Job descriptions should be produced using the standard template supplied by the Human Resources Department to ensure a consistent style with other recruitment documents.

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Generic job descriptions

Standard templates exist for the following roles:

  • Lecturer
  • Senior Lecturer
  • Reader
  • Professor
  • Research Fellow
  • Lector

If your vacancy has a generic job description, please download the template from the Human Resources website and complete the sections where indicated to make the template appropriate to your role.

These generic job descriptions have been approved by the Pro-Directors and can only be altered where indicated on the template.  You should ensure that any other changes you make do not impact on the grade of the post by ensuring the duties remain within the normal expectations for the role.  You will need to obtain your Dean of Faculty's approval for any other variations, before you send the job description to the Human Resources Directorate.

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Writing a new job description

Please use gender- neutral language when writing job descriptions.

When listing tasks, you should you state what the task is, rather than how you expect the post-holder to carryout the task.

Remember that job descriptions are summaries of key tasks and responsibilities and not exhaustive lists of every single task a post-holder may have to carryout. You should therefore, avoid including every minor task.

Ideally a job description should not be longer than two sides of A4 paper; although length will depend on the nature of the role. Try to avoid too much detail as this can be two restrictive and inflexible to change. However, job descriptions which are too short can be vague, unclear and can be misleading to candidates.

Try to avoid naming specific courses or systems such as computer systems. Courses or systems frequently change and make the job description out of date and restrictive.

Please do not use any jargon or abbreviations which external candidates may not understand.

All job descriptions should include the following statement at the end of the description:

"The above list of job duties is not exclusive or exhaustive and the post holder will be required to undertake such tasks as may reasonably be expected within the scope and grading of the post. Job descriptions should be regularly reviewed to ensure they are an accurate representation of the post."

Include a date at the end of your job description for future reference.

Sample job descriptions of similar roles may be available from the Human Resources Directorate but may need updating to ensure consistency with the School's standard template job description. Sample job descriptions are given to provide illustrations of job descriptions but may not always be of a high quality and therefore should be carefully reviewed to determine if they meet the requirements of your role, are fit for purpose and should not copied verbatim.

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Reviewing an old job description

If you are advertising a replacement position, you should begin by reviewing the old job description (if available) to see if it is still an accurate representation of the post. The job description should be updated to reflect any changes in the role.

Please note that if the position has changed considerably (e.g. grade, increase of hours, duration), the position will need authorisation from Executive Board If you are unsure if any changes to a role’s responsibilities may impact on the role’s grade, you should contact a senior member of the Human Resources Directorate for advice.

Ensure that the style of the job description is in keeping with the standard template job description available from the HR website and includes the standard flexibility paragraph.

Previous job descriptions may be available from the Human Resources Directorate but may need updating to ensure consistency with the School’s template.

Please include the date that you reviewed the job description at the bottom of the document.

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