[IPAC-List] Customer Service Position Description

Mark Hammer Mark.Hammer at psc-cfp.gc.ca
Thu Jan 6 14:01:19 EST 2011

I get the ads on our internal government-wide job board sent to me
daily, essentially to see what the state of advertising is and what
sorts of processes people are running. A lot of them have phrases like
those listed in this thread, and I find myself asking "Well, what for?
Why DO I need to be able to maintain a positive attitude or remain calm
under stress? What is it about the job you're not telling me?".

Now, setting aside the fact that a great many job ads are not
particularly well-written, I think what is key here is to provide the
context in which the soft-skill in question is required. In other
words, you need to be able to "maintain a positive attitude" because
THIS is what you're going to be doing, under THESE circumstances, so if
you can't do that, you're not really going to enjoy this job or thrive
in it.

Too many job ads are written as if there are these "mystery qualities"
we're looking for, the choice to select is ours and ours alone, and you
shouldn't concern yourself with whether it's a job YOU want.

That's the whiny way of simply suggesting that any listing of soft
skills make more sense, and are far more informative to prospective
candidates, when they are linked to the context in which they will be
necessary. That makes them more plausible, more translatable into
obvious behaviours, gives some sense of how important they are to the
daily activities of the job, and allows candidates to self-screen out.
I think all the items on Lance's list are quite reasonable, but they can
be leveraged better when connected to job context.

Mark Hammer

>>> Howard Fortson <Howard at cps.ca.gov> 2011/01/06 12:10 PM >>>

I find it interesting that we use "positive attitude" in our abilities.
I would go for your listed abilities below. I think rather than list
out measureable descriptors we get lazy and use things like "positive
attitude" and that is just one example. Not meaning to step on toes,
but sometimes I think competencies are used in the same way. Easy to
put out there but much more difficult to measure.

Great discussion,


Howard Fortson, Ph.D.
CPS Human Resource Services
241 Lathrop Way
Sacramento, CA 95815
howard at cps.ca.gov
916.561.7249 fax
Helping public agencies
acquire, retain & develop
the best employees

-----Original Message-----
From: ipac-list-bounces at ipacweb.org
[mailto:ipac-list-bounces at ipacweb.org] On Behalf Of Lance Seberhagen
Sent: Thursday, January 06, 2011 8:56 AM
To: Joel Wiesen
Cc: IPAC-List
Subject: Re: [IPAC-List] Customer Service Position Description

One needs to distinguish between work behaviors (observable job duties
or tasks) and necessary worker characteristics (KSAs or competencies).

"Maintains a positive attitude" is not a good work behavior because it
is not directly observable. As a worker characteristic, one might say,
"Ability to maintain a positive attitude."

In addition to mental ability, here are some other worker
characteristics that one might see in customer service position
1. Ability to provide courteous service.
2. Ability to provide service with a smile.
3. Ability to treat others with dignity and respect.
4. Ability to listen carefully.
5. Ability to understand needs of others.
6. Ability to speak English fluently.
7. Ability to maintain a high energy level.
8. Ability to remain calm when under stress.
9. Ability to maintain a good appearance.
10. Willingness to serve others.
11. Willingness to follow rules.


Lance Seberhagen, Ph.D.
Seberhagen& Associates
9021 Trailridge Ct
Vienna, VA 22182
Tel 703-790-0796

On 1/5/2011 7:56 PM, Joel Wiesen wrote:

> How typical is it to include phrases like, "Maintains a positive

> attitude" in a customer service position description?


> Are there other such phrases that are often used to describe duties


> skills?


> Might you be able to share some sample position descriptions that use

> such phrases?


> Thx.


> Joel



IPAC-List at ipacweb.org
IPAC-List at ipacweb.org


This e-mail message is intended for the named recipient(s) and may
contain information that is privileged, confidential and/or exempt from
disclosure under applicable law. Unauthorized disclosure, copying or
re-transmission is prohibited. If you are not a named recipient or not
authorized by the named recipient(s), or if you have received this
e-mail in error, then please notify the sender immediately and delete
the message and any copies.
Ce courriel est destiné exclusivement au destinataire mentionné en titre
et peut contenir de l'information privilégiée, confidentielle ou
soustraite à la communication aux termes des lois applicables. Toute
divulgation non autorisée, toute reproduction ou réacheminement est
interdit. Si vous n'êtes pas le destinataire de ce courriel, ou n'êtes
pas autorisé par le destinataire visé, ou encore, si vous l'avez reçu
par erreur, veuillez le mentionner immédiatement à l'expéditeur et
supprimer le courriel et les copies.

More information about the IPAC-List mailing list