Job Descriptions

The Human Element

Over the years I’ve found that many people struggle with self-confidence. While this can manifest itself in various ways, it routinely pops up and not only among those early in their career. Documented job descriptions help to alleviate these concerns by supporting a no-surprises approach to performance management.

The Business Obligation

An understood job description is the foundation of managing expectations. It provides you a starting point for a job listing when hiring. Once hired, it forms the basis for discussing performance and role changes.

A Humane Approach

Keep your descriptions clear and concise. Identify how this role differs from similar roles (e.g. junior level vs senior level). This is tightly related to defining titles and career ladders.

To set all involved up for success a job description should include:

  1. How does this role support overall company goals?
  2. What level is this role? Entry-level, C-suite, or somewhere in between?
  3. What are the qualifications for a person in this role?
  4. What is the person responsible for doing? (Think both hard & soft skills)
  5. How will performance be evaluated?

It’s important that points 2 and 4 above are defined in a way that can be objectively measured. If not, bias can sway our judgment or give others the impression of it. Whether the bias is real or not, the effects can be equally damaging.

I find it useful to schedule regular reviews of job descriptions to maintain their accuracy. When job descriptions drift out of alignment with reality it can lead to anxiety, confusion, and/or indifference.


  • GitLab Handbook
    While I linked to the Corporate Controller suite of roles, many others can be found here.