Writing Effective Job Descriptions

Writing Effective Job Descriptions

Human beings undergo a natural life cycle from birth to death, passing through several stages along the way. Organizations might view human resource activities as a similar cycle from the initial hiring to the eventual termination of employment for various reasons such as promotion or transfer. Public health administrators are often involved in this human resources cycle, from workforce planning, job analysis, recruitment and selection, on-boarding, training and development, and coaching and performance appraisal. One of the most critical tasks in this cycle is recruiting and selecting individuals for public health positions who have the right skills and qualities for the position. In addition, it is important that these skills and qualities remain current as the organization and requirements change.

Although each organization and position will have unique requirements, public health administrators can become familiar with best practices in human resources. In the Learning Resources, The Public Health Foundation (n.d.-a) provides insights on public health job descriptions based on Core Competencies for Public Health Professionals, for example. Such best practices will help public health leaders create job descriptions aimed at attracting the most potentially successful candidates for the positions. Human resources professionals may revise job descriptions for existing staff to keep the organization current, as well.

For this week’s Assignment, review the Learning Resources, including the media titled Recruitment, Selection, and Retention. Consider what the individuals considered challenges in hiring and which best practices they follow in creating job descriptions. Then, read the following scenario. Browse through the various pages of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission website, and read carefully through the section titled “Discrimination by Type.” Research online sources for typical salary ranges and similar job descriptions in the Midwest United States.


Imagine you are the Human Resources Director at Lake Troubled Shallows Health Department, from the Final Project scenario. A key employee, a community outreach coordinator, has left the position. The organization needs a new community outreach coordinator. You have been tasked with implementing best practices not only to fill the position but also to reevaluate and improve on the job description.

The Assignment (2–3 pages):

Section I

Create a new job description for a position in public health following best human resource management practices. The job description should include the following:

  • Essential job duties
  • Essential qualifications
  • An average salary range for this position
  • Recruitment and hiring strategies for this position
  • Related employment laws (e.g., civil rights, age discrimination) 

Section II: Summary

Describe how the job description (including duties and qualifications) might be different today from those needed in the recent past (e.g., 5 years ago) and why. Describe which best practices in human resources management you followed when creating this job description and explain why you considered them to be best practices.


  • Shi, L., & Johnson, J. A. (2014). Novick and Morrow’s public health administration: Principles for population-based management (3rd ed.). Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.
    • Chapter 11, “Human Resource Management for Public Health” (pp. 221–240)
  • Behfar, K. J., Peterson, R. S., Mannix, E. A., & Trochim, W. M. K.  (2008). The critical role of conflict resolution in teams: A close look at the links between conflict type, conflict management strategies, and team outcomes. The Journal of Applied Psychology, 93(1), 170–188.
    Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.
  • Grumbach, K., & Mendoza, R. (2008). Disparities in human resources: Addressing the lack of diversity in the health professions. Health Affairs, 27(2), 413–422.
    Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.
  • Hofmann, P. B. (2012). Fear of conflict: Management and ethical costs—Wanting to avoid conflict is natural but should not inhibit appropriate behavior. Healthcare Executive, 27(1), 58–60.
    Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.
  • Manning, M. L., Borton, D. L., & Rumovitz, D. M. (2012). Infection preventionists’ job descriptions: Do they reflect expanded roles and responsibilities? American Journal of Infection Control, 40(9), 888–890.
    Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.
  • Public Health Foundation. (n.d.-a). Competency-based job descriptions. Retrieved October 6, 2014, from  http://www.phf.org/resourcestools/pages/competency_based_job_descriptions.aspx
  • Public Health Foundation. (n.d.-d). Workforce development. Retrieved October 6, 2014, from http://www.phf.org/focusareas/workforcedevelopment/Pages/default.aspx
  • Towers Watson. (2012). Global workforce study: Engagement at risk: Driving strong performance in a volatile global environment. Retrieved from http://www.towerswatson.com/en/Insights/IC-Types/Survey-Research-Results/2012/07/2012-Towers-Watson-Global-Workforce-Study
  • U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. (n.d.). Retrieved October 6, 2014, from http://www.eeoc.gov/
  • Document: Role-Play Scenarios (PDF)