[IPAC-List] Customer Service Position Description

keith.poole at phoenix.gov keith.poole at phoenix.gov
Thu Jan 6 16:11:21 EST 2011

I was originally thinking Joel was looking more for a job posting position
description, but he is looking for class spec...my bad, here is a link to
a customer service class spec. We wouldn't use a phrase like "maintains a
positive attitude" in a spec.


Keith Poole
Human Resources Supervisor
City of Phoenix Human Resources Dept
Employment Services
(602) 262-7140
keith.poole at phoenix.gov

"Phoenix - 2009 All-America City"

Lance Seberhagen <sebe at erols.com>
Sent by: ipac-list-bounces at ipacweb.org
01/06/2011 12:52 PM

Mark Hammer <Mark.Hammer at psc-cfp.gc.ca>
IPAC-List <IPAC-List at ipacweb.org>
Re: [IPAC-List] Customer Service Position Description

I agree with Mark that realistic job previews are a great to use in job
ads and the employee selection process generally. However, Joel's
original question was about what phrases are typically used to describe
job duties and skills in position descriptions, not job ads. Position
descriptions should also discuss working conditions and anything else
needed to achieve the purposes of the position description. But, geez,
it's hard to cram everything into the very concise position descriptions
that most organizations like to use, so we normally throw all of the
juicy details into our fun-filled job analysis reports.


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

On 1/6/2011 2:01 PM, Mark Hammer wrote:

> 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

> Ottawa


>>>> 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



> Howard Fortson, Ph.D.

> CPS Human Resource Services

> 241 Lathrop Way

> Sacramento, CA 95815

> howard at cps.ca.gov

> 916.471-3449

> 916.561.7249 fax

> www.cps.ca.gov

> ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬

> 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

> descriptions:

> 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


> Lance Seberhagen, Ph.D.

> Seberhagen& Associates

> 9021 Trailridge Ct

> Vienna, VA 22182

> Tel 703-790-0796

> www.seberhagen.com




> 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

> or

>> skills?


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

>> such phrases?


>> Thx.


>> Joel



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