Career Advice

What Is a Job Description and How Much Can It Vary?

Aptena 17 May, 2021

If you're about to start a new job, you might be wondering about the job description and how much it can vary. The following is some information that can answer those questions.

What Is a Job Description?

A job description is an outline of the duties and tasks involved in a particular role. It explains to prospective and new employees what to expect if they come to work for the company in that role. The job description may be long or short, and it might include jargon that explains that other tasks may be involved. Workers should pay close attention to such jargon because it may give a potential employer an excessive amount of leeway. Prospective employees should also speak to management and ask them to reiterate the job duties once more.

Where Can You Find Job Description Information?

A job description can generally be found within a job posting on a job search website. More detailed job descriptions may be available once the worker begins the onboarding process or once the individual gets to the interview portion of the application process. Once a person is fully employed with a particular company, he or she will have access to the company intranet and other resources that will provide a much more detailed description of the work duties involved in a particular role. Again, the employee should take notice of the wording and read the full description of the job for future references.

How Much Can Your Job Description Vary?

Many issues sometimes arise when employers ask employees to do work that is not within the job descriptions. Whether an employer can change job duties and roles depends mostly on whether an employment contract exists. Contract jobs have more stringent policies than non-contract jobs do. An at-will employer may have a lot of wiggle room when it comes to job descriptions and tasks. The law tends to side with at-will employers on many matters. However, an employer can be found guilty of an offense if discrimination, harassment, retaliation, or federally protected classification have anything to do with their decision to change someone's role duties drastically.

Always try to resolve problems in-house if they come about. It would be best to consult with an attorney if you have a serious issue with an employer over your job role, and the employer does not take steps to resolve it.