City of Surprise Human Resources
City of Surprise Human Resources


COMPENSATION – Job Descriptions

A career with the City of Surprise goes well beyond a paycheck



Job Description FAQs

City of Surprise Job Descriptions


What is a Job Description?


Why do we need Job Descriptions?


What should be included in a Job Description?


Suggestions for writing a Job Description

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What is a Job Description?


What is a job description?First, A job is a collection of tasks and responsibilities that an employee is responsible to conduct. Jobs have titles. A task is a typically defined as a unit of work, that is, a set of activities needed to produce some result, e.g., vacuuming a carpet, writing a memo, sorting the mail, etc. Complex positions in the organization may include a large number of tasks, which are sometimes referred to as functions. Job descriptions are lists of the general tasks, or functions, and responsibilities of a position. Typically, they also include to whom the position reports, specifications such as the qualifications needed by the person in the job, salary range for the position, etc. Job descriptions are usually developed by conducting a job analysis, which includes examining the tasks and sequences of tasks necessary to perform the job. The analysis looks at the areas of knowledge and skills needed by the job.


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Why do we need Job Descriptions?


Job descriptions for staff positions are necessary for a variety of reasons. Job descriptions are used to:


·          Guide supervisors when evaluating work distribution and departmental organization

·          Analyze jobs to determine appropriate pay ranges and classifications

·          Establish a basis for recruitment, selection, and hiring

·          Help incumbents understand their jobs better

·          Allows performance reviews to be clear and accurate


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What should be included in the Job Description?


Listing of duties and responsibilities in the job description should be limited to what is required to perform the job. Duties and responsibilities no longer performed or those that may be required in the future should not be included in the description. The description is to be written in terms of the position itself, not the capabilities of any individual. 


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Suggestions and tips for writing a Job Description


Well written job descriptions are written in a factual and impersonal style. It should be accurate, concise, and complete. Before writing a job description, you may want to consider these suggestions:


·          Keep sentence structure as simple as possible; omit unnecessary words that do not contribute pertinent information.

·          Begin each duty/task with an action verb.

·          Avoid the narrative form.

·          Be consistent when using terms like "may" and "occasionally." These should be used to describe tasks that are performed once in a while, or tasks that only some employee's perform.

·          Refer to job titles rather than incumbents, i.e., "Reports to _______ Manager" instead of "Reports to Mary Smith."

·          Be precise. This is critical for accurate job evaluation and analysis.

·          Focus on critical activities. Disregard minor occasional tasks, which are not unique to a specific job.

·          Use logical sequence in describing duties and responsibilities, and be consistent.


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Human Resources Department
Office Hours: Monday - Friday 8 a.m. - 5 p.m., closed on City Holidays.
16000 N Civic Center Plaza
Surprise, Arizona 85374

Phone: 623.222.3500
Fax: 623.222.3501
TTY: 623.222.1002
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16000 N. Civic Center Plaza   Surprise, AZ 85374   City Hall Hours: Monday - Friday; 8am - 5pm
Phone: 623.222.1000  |  TTY: 623.222.1002  |  Phone Directory
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