Jobs description terms




Jobs description terms


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Jobs description terms


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The following terms can be useful in stating the functions of jobs concisely.  The list is intended to help you avoid the use of indefinite or ambiguous expressions. While it is not possible that two people would agree fully as to the "correct" definitions of these terms, it is necessary for purposes of comparison that description writers and job evaluators define their terms in the same way.


ACCOUNTABLE                                 The requirements placed on an individual employee to perform the work of his position to the satisfaction of his/her superior.


ADAPT                                             To modify or change to fit specific or new situations.


ADMINISTER                                    Manage or direct. (Generally requires some additional explanation to show specific details.  See also manage)


ADVERTISE                                      Create general and specific demand and acceptance for the company's products through use of indirect media such as displays in periodicals, or on posters, radio programs, booklets, folders, signs, etc.


ADVISE                                            Offer an informed opinion or give specialized information to others.


ANALYZE                                          Identify the elements of a whole and critically examine and relate these components separately and/or in relation to the whole.


ALLOCATE                                        To assign or apportion for a specific purpose or to a particular person.


APPRAISE                                         Judge as to quality; compare critically with established standards.


APPROVE                                          Exercise final and decisive authority, causing action to use money, manpower, materials, or equipment.


AREA                                                Type or kind, when used to define an action as in "area of responsibility."


ASSEMBLE                                        Gather from various sources.


ASSIST                                             Help or aid others in the performance of work, where another employee assumes responsibility.  Consists of performing portions of assigned work or carrying out details or the total assignment under guidance of another. (Requires further explanation to show specific details.)


ASSIGN                                            Specify or designate tasks and duties to be performed by others.


AUTHORITY                                     The right to make decisions binding the individual, organizational unit or company to a policy or course of action.


AUTHORIZE                                      Approve or commit; an act implying subsequent action by others.


BUDGET                                           Statement of the estimated expenditures required for a program of action.


CALCULATE                                      Make mathematical computations.


CAPITAL                                           Aggregate sum of money, material and land used to produce

                                                       income in contrast to income received.


CLASSIFY                                         To arrange or organize according to class or category.


COMMIT                                           Pledge or assign to a particular course of action.


COMMUNICATE                                Convey information to others, ensuring that the information is

                                                       received and understood.


COMPILE                                          Put together information or assemble data in a new form.


CONDUCT                                        Manage or carry on, with emphasis on concept of immediate supervision of the task or activity, or personal leadership, e.g. conduct negotiations with union representatives.


COGNITIVE                                      Process of relating thoughts and knowledge, and applying them to solve problems.  (Includes both knowledge and judgment.)


CONFIDENTIAL                                Related to collective bargaining unit representation.  If a position has access to or impact on information or negotiations affecting the wages, hours, and terms and conditions of employment for employees covered by recognized exclusive bargaining representatives, e.g. AFSCME, PTA.


CONTROL                                         Direct, regulate, or guide the use of money, methods, equipment, materials, etc.  Also, the process of monitoring activities to ensure conformance with planned results.


COOPERATE                                      Act jointly with others.


COORDINATE                                   Regulate, adjust, or direct the related actions of others in order to attain desired results.


CORRESPOND                                   Communicate in writing with individuals.


CREATE                                            Produce through imaginative skill.


CREATIVITY                                     The skill or ability to generate new and beneficial ideas.



SERVICE                                           Aid customers in the proper, economical, and effective use of energy; investigate and recommend or take action on customer complaints and inquiries.


DELEGATE                                        Entrust to another person tasks or duties which require exercise of some of the authority of the person originally responsible, as "to delegate an administrative assistant to represent the department at conferences".


DESIGN                                            Devise and execute drawings or diagrams showing the features of an object, arrangement, or procedure.  Does not include preparation of specifications or detailed instructions.  Frequently, the function of designing is shared with others, in which case it is more precise to use design as a noun and state a job's function in relation thereto, i.e., originate, analyze, endorse, approve, etc., the design of .....


DEVELOP                                          Create, disclose, discover, perfect, or unfold a plan or idea, in detail, gradually.  Implies study and/or experiment unless otherwise stated.  When used as "to develop subordinates," see train.


DEVISE                                             Form in the mind by combinations of ideas, new applications of principles, or new arrangements of parts.


DIRECT                                            Govern or control work operations by establishing and implementing objectives, practices, and methods.


DISABILITY                                      A physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of an individual's major life activities; a record of such an impairment; or being regarded as having such an impairment.

DISCIPLINE (V)                                 Ensure individual's or group's adherence to rules and regulations and penalize them for actions contrary to such rules and regulations.


DISCIPLINE (N)                                Branch of education, activity, or interest embodying laws or rules, a set of facts, principles, and theories.


DISCRETION                                     Latitude or freedom of choice within certain bounds.


DISPOSE                                           Sell or otherwise get rid of materials, buildings, equipment, records, etc., which are of no further use to the company, including salvaging any usable material prior to disposal.


DISTRIBUTE                                     Deliver documents, equipment, tools, records, etc., to their proper destinations by mail or personal delivery.


ENDORSE                                         Add support to recommendations of  others.  Implies a willingness to have one's name associated with a proposal or action of another.


EQUIPMENT                                      Fabricated or assembled material in such form as to provide tools and machines with which people work.


EQUIVALENT                                    Alike in significance; virtually the same.  Implies independent study but may be achieved by constructive, relevant experience.


ESSENTIAL FUNCTION                      The fundamental (as opposed to marginal) job duties of the position the individual holds or desires.


ESTIMATE (V)                                   Forecast future quantities, values, sizes, extents, etc., either on the basis of judgment or calculation. 


ESTIMATE (N)                                   The approximation or appraisal of the value, cost, materials, staff, etc. of a program, plan, project, etc.


EXECUTE                                          Put into effect or carry out methods, plans, etc.


FIELD                                               Branch of education, activity, or interest, sometimes referred to as a discipline, embodying laws or rules, a set of facts, principles, and theories.


FILE (V)                                           Arrange records in a methodical manner for preservation and reference.


FILE (N)                                           A device (as a folders or cabinet) by means of which documents are kept in order; a collection of related data records.  May be automated or hard copy.


FORECAST                                        Current prediction of future events based on specified assumptions.


FUNCTION                                       Typically refers to an activity or area of responsibility,  such as plant accounting, planning, analysis, administrative or clerical support, etc.


GOAL                                               Broad qualitative statement describing a fundamental aim of the organization.


GUIDE                                              Lead, step by step.


IMPLEMENT                                      Carry out or fulfill by taking action.


IMPROVE                                         Make better.


INFORM                                           Communicate knowledge to others.


INITIATE                                          Set in motion or introduce.


INITIATIVE                                      Energy or foresight displayed by taking action without being specifically told to.


IN-PROCESS CONTROL                      Control over an employee's work assignment, exercised while the work is being accomplished.


INSPECT                                           Examine materials, equipment, reports, work, etc., to determine quality, suitability for use, etc.


INSTRUCT                                        Teach, demonstrate, or by other methods impart knowledge to others by means of training courses. Direct that a specific activity be performed; may include directing how it is to be performed.


INTERPRET                                       Explain to others (orally or in writing) the meaning or significance of something.


INTERVIEW                                      Question and converse with another person in order to obtain facts or opinions.


INVESTIGATE                                   Uncover facts by systematically finding them, conducting a searching inquiry, and examining various sources.


KNOWLEDGE,                                   Mastery of a field and a thorough understanding of the

ADVANCED                                       application of the pertinent principles; also use or mastery of a field plus a thorough understanding of a specialized area of the field.


KNOWLEDGE, BASIC                         Understanding of the elementary principles of a field.


KNOWLEDGE, BROAD                        Mastery of the principles of a field.


KNOWLEDGE,                                   A "talking" acquaintance with and understanding of the

GENERAL                                          principles of a field.


KNOWLEDGE,                                   Mastery of the entire field.                       



LINE                                                Positions and personnel involved directly in executing the work for which the organization was created.


MAINTAIN                                        Keep is satisfactory condition.


MAJOR LIFE ACTIVITY                      Functions such as caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working.


MANAGE                                           Plan, organize, direct, control, and evaluate operation of an organizational unit, with responsibility for the output.


MATERIAL                                        Substances worked upon, used up, or gradually exhausted.


METHOD                                          Way, technique, or process for doing something.


MONITOR                                         Keep track of, regulate, or control the operation of.


NEGOTIATE                                      Confer with others to reach an agreement.


OBJECTIVE                                       Stated goal of the company or organization or individual.

OPERATE                                          Use equipment or systems for the purpose for which they were intended.


ORGANIZATION                                Structural or functional entity; may be the entire body of a company or the whole of a subdivision of a company.


ORIGINATE                                      Begin or initiate.


OVERSEE                                          Supervise a function or operation as distinct from supervising people.



IMPAIRMENT                                    Any physiological disorder, or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or

anatomical loss affecting one or more of the following body systems: neurological, musculoskeletal, special sense organs, respiratory (including speech organs), cardiovascular, reproductive, digestive, genito-urinary, hemic and lymphatic, skin, and endocrine; or any mental or psychological disorder, such as mental retardation, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, and specific learning disabilities.


PLACE                                              Locate and choose positions for personnel, equipment, or materials.


PLAN                                                Written document which outlines the results of planning, usually quantitative, so future programs can be measured and compared with a series of reference points.


PLANNING                                        Organized process of devising a plan.


POLICY                                            Broad, generalized statement of administrative or management action to be used as a guide or basis for establishing regulations, standards, and practices necessary for effective and efficient operation or conduct of business.


PRACTICE                                         Specific detailed statement of a method of doing work repeatedly or habitually.


PRACTITIONER                                 One who performs with proficiency in a given field of knowledge or profession.

PREPARE                                         To make ready beforehand for a specific purpose, as for an event or occasion: To put together or make by combining various elements or ingredients; manufacture or compound:

PRE-PERFORMANCE                           Control over an employee's work, exercised prior to its

CONTROL                                         start.


PROCEDURE                                     Established sequence of steps or actions to carry out a task.


PROMOTE                                         Advance employees to higher positions; advance or foster ideas; or encourage the use of company equipment or services.


PROPOSE                                          Recommend or suggest for consideration or adoption.           


PURCHASE                                        Commit use of company funds for a specific purpose, whether by oral or written contract or by exchange of money for goods or services.


QUALIFICATION                               The personal and professional attributes including the skill,

STANDARDS                                    experience, education, physical, mental, safety and other job-related requirements established by the employer as requirements which an individual must meet in order to be eligible for the position held or desired.  Qualification standards may include a requirement that an individual not pose a direct threat to the health or safety of the individual or others.


                                                       Essential Qualification Standards include the minimum qualifications necessary to perform the essential job functions.


                                                       Non-Essential Standards include qualifications other than those required to effectively and safely perform the essential job functions.



WITH A DISABILITY                         An individual with a disability (1) who satisfies the requisite  skill, experience, education, and other job-related requirements of the position such individual holds or desires; and (2) who, with or without reasonable accommodation, can perform the essential functions of that position.


ACCOMMODATION                            Any modification or adjustment to a job application process that

                                                       enables a qualified individual with a disability to be considered for

                                                       the position the qualified individual desires; or any modification or

                                                       adjustment to the work environment or to the manner or circumstances

                                                       under which the position held or desired is customarily performed, that

                                                       enables an applicant or employee to perform the essential functions

                                                       of the position.


RECOMMEND                                    Present a matter to another person for action or approval.


RESEARCH                                        Specific inquiry involving prolonged and critical investigation,

                                                       having for its aim the study of new facts and their interpretation, the

                                                       revision of accepted conclusions or theories that may be affected by

                                                       newly discovered facts, or the practical application of such new or

                                                       revised conclusions.  Example: Technical research to develop new

                                                       products for the company.


RESPONSIBILITY                              Accountability to some higher authority for certain activities in a

                                                       given sphere and for a given time.


REVIEW                                            Consider or examine facts or results for accuracy, completeness,

                                                       and suitability.


SCOPE                                              Extent of authority, responsibility, activity, or influence.


SELECT                                            Choose that which appears to be best suited for a specific purpose.


SELLING                                           Creating general and specific demand or acceptance for the

                                                       company's products or services through direct contact with potential

                                                       customers, with or without securing agreements to buy.


SENSITIVE                                        Matters involving contacts more than normally susceptible to

                                                       adverse reaction or involving important policy matters.


SPECIALIST                                      One who devotes him or herself to some special branch of activity

                                                       in his business or profession.


SPECIFIER                                        One whose job includes as a major function the preparation of



SPECIFY                                           State precisely or in detail, or name explicitly.  Frequently, the

                                                       function of specifying is shared with others, in which case it is more

                                                       precise to use the noun specifications and state a job's function in

                                                       relation thereto, i.e., originates, analyzes, endorses, approves, etc.,

                                                       specifications for ....


STAFF                                              Positions or personnel which exist to help line or operating

                                                       departments do their work more effectively; usually established to

                                                       take advantage of specialized talent or knowledge.


STUDY                                             Apply thought to any subject of investigation, in order to arrive at

                                                       the most suitable conclusion.


SUPERVISE                                       Personally oversee or control work performance and conduct of

                                                       others, where there is opportunity for control or inspection of work



TRAIN                                              Teach, demonstrate, or guide others in the performance of assigned



TRANSCRIBE                                    Transfer information (words or figures) from one form or method of

                                                       preparation to another, without changing its substance or nature.


VACANT POSITION                           An active, unfilled position for which it has been determined that

                                                       open recruitment may proceed because there is no individual with

                                                       right to recall or preference for reemployment, or any transfer who

                                                       is qualified to fill the position; and, because no other internal

                                                       transfer action is contemplated for the position.


VERIFY                                            Confirm or establish the authenticity of data by examination or

                                                       other means.


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