When employers advertise jobs they want to make the position sound as attractive as they can to potential candidates. They will not always include the not so nice parts of a job in the advert, but will include all the best bits. It can be quite a shock to start work and find your job includes things that were not mentioned, not even at the interview. Can you believe the job description from an employer? Only sometimes, unfortunately.
Find Out What Your Duties Are Before You Start
Job descriptions should be as detailed as possible, in fairness to both employees and employers. They should always include what duties are expected of you, what education level is required and what experience is needed, if any. They should also include details of any on-site training that will be provided.
There are not actually any legal requirements for job descriptions in America, but it is in the employers own interest that it has the essential tasks you will be expected to perform. Although they are not a legal document they should comply with federal and state labor and employment laws. They can be as formal or informal as the employer wants, and often small businesses will not even bother with a written version.
There can be benefits for the employer too. No matter what size the business is, if there is a dispute arising from an employee’s performance, they are written documentation that can be produced to help the employer’s side of the case. They can also be useful for performance evaluations, compensation issues, employee complains and ADA accommodations.
Updates With Input From Employees
Jobs and duties can change over time. New workers start, promotions happen, people are moved around or an increase or decrease in the turnover of the company can result in it needing people to take on different tasks. The way to deal with this is to update the job description, but with input from the person who is carrying out the work. With discussions between employer and employee, agreement can be reached on the changes to the job description.
A document decided upon in this way provides clarity for everyone involved, and will keep the workplace running smoothly.
The Disclaimers on Job Descriptions
Most job descriptions and contracts of employment carry a disclaimer, which says something like ‘you will be expected to perform any and all other duties assigned by the supervisor’. This does not mean you can be asked to do a task that is outside of your knowledge and then be penalized because the work is below standard. It is meant to cover additional work that does not result in material changes to your responsibilities. Another disclaimer that many job descriptions carry is that they do not constitute a contract of employment.
Whenever you are applying for a new job, never be afraid to ask questions about the job description. Find out some of the finer details about the job so that you know exactly what you will be doing before you start work.