Whether the company is employing someone new, assessing a current employee or determining compensation, a job description provides consistency and clarity for everybody involved.
The Importance of a Job Description from the Hiring Perspective
From the point of view of a candidate, a prospective employees need to know what the job requirements are so they know if they are qualified to apply for the role. In addition to this, the overview of the position aids them in deciding if they are actually interested in applying. If a job description isn't accurate, a company will be hard pushed to grab a prospective employee’s attention.
A clear, detailed description of the job on offer is important to ensure it doesn't encourage the wrong type of interest. For example, a company may write that they need a trainer for their business, however not communicate which type of trainer and therefore get applications from a variety of people, from horse trainers to fitness trainers. It may seem like common sense that people will know which type of trainer you require from your company outline, however to some it may not be.
The Importance of a Job Description from the Career Advancement Perspective
One of the most important things to staff is that they recognise they have a future within the company that they work for, a future that is interesting and attainable. Employees already in an organisation know what job positions are available, what each role entails, and the qualifications they need to have so they can work on obtaining any skills, knowledge and abilities they might be lacking in their current role.
Additionally, managers need to know what the job requirements are in each role so they can encourage each employee to advance their skill set and grow in their career.
The Importance of a Job Description from the Legal Perspective
Thorough job descriptions are imperative to make sure hiring and advancements in the company are done equally, which helps reduce the risk of unfair hiring practices. During the interview process, it can be difficult to remember each and every detail of the role in question; however ensuring there is a job description to hand ensures consistency when interviewing all candidates.
Accurate job descriptions are also used to define salary and additional offerings for the position. They help determine what industry competitors are offering for the same role and ensure pay equity within a company for those who perform similar work.
What to Include in a Job Description Before a company begins interviewing for a role, it is critical to have a written job description in place for each unique position. An effective job description details the key functions of the role, how the tasks will be performed and the required skills needed to carry out the job. It should try to foresee employee growth and address possible questions about the position in the future.
A job description should include the following:
- Job Title: Describes the position, job title, and level
- Salary Range: List the starting salary and include information on potential benefits, such as commission, performance bonuses and annual raises.
- Statement of Purpose and Objectives: A brief statement, summarizing in three or four sentences, the objective of the position.
- Job Description: List the specific responsibilities and tasks the employee will undertake in order of importance and include any accountability the employee may have for meeting certain objectives.
- Description of Reporting Structure: This section provides a detailed description of any roles the employee will hold. This should include supervisory roles as well as who they are answerable to directly and indirectly. It is also important to include if the employee is to work alongside other employees or departments too.
- Experience and Skills: Be as specific as possible when stipulating the experience and skills required for the role. For example, if the position requires using a computer, list the type of software or hardware used.
- Description of Ideal Candidate: Detail other strengths desirable for the job, such as having the ability to work to tight deadlines.
- Work Location and Schedule: Include the geographical location of the job, the days and hours of the position, and include any potential overtime that may be required.
- Another important feature to include in every job description is “any other duties as assigned” as an employer can add new tasks to the position as needed.
Does your company value a clear, up-to-date job description? How is the current system working? I’d love to hear your views.
The contents of this article are necessarily expressed in broad terms and limited to general information rather than detailed analyses or legal advice. Specialist professional advice should always be obtained to address legal and other issues arising in specific contexts.