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Job Descriptions: Not Just for Recruiting

Job Descriptions: Not Just for Recruiting

Have you given much thought to job descriptions lately? Do you only use them when there is a job vacancy and the rest of the time they are stored on your computer or in a filing cabinet? If so, it might be time to rethink what those important documents can do for your company. Each position in a company should be well thought out in terms of the responsibilities and duties those positions fill and the skills required to accomplish them.

What to Include in a Job Description: Be sure your job description includes the following items described below.

  • Summary: A brief explanation that outlines the purpose of the job and highlights its primary functions.

  • Responsibilities: This is a more detailed list of the functions of the job. The responsibilities of the job that should have the most time devoted to them should be at the top and the list continues with less time consuming tasks, including anything that will take up at least 5% of the employee’s time.

  • Qualifications: A list of the education level, licenses and/or certifications, and experience level needed to do the job.

  • Other information: Other items of note to include: company name and description, job title, growth opportunities, term of employment, FLSA status, the work location and conditions, physical demands of the job, mental demands of the job, work hours, travel requirements, reporting structure, and benefits.

More Than Just a Job Posting: There is more to a job description than just using it as a posting for open jobs. Of course, that is an important purpose, but if time has been spent writing an effective one, there are other uses.

  • Interviews, Hiring, and Onboarding: When looking for new employees, the job description might be their first exposure to the company. A complete and accurate job posting that relies on the job description helps attract the right candidates. During the interview process, the description of duties helps tailor questions that speak to the actual requirements of the job. Upon hiring, the job description serves as document that a new hire can see exactly what is expected of them and can hit the ground running.

  • Employee Management and Performance: When a job description clearly outlines the responsibilities and tasks of a position, it becomes easier to evaluate employee performance vs. the expectations of the job. This not only relates to rewarding employees for high performance, but also provides written proof of the job expectations if an employee needs to be disciplined or let go for poor performance. Again, the job description shouldn’t just be collecting dust after the role has been filled. It should be continually looked to as a guide both for employee and manager as to what is expected on a daily basis. The employee knows what essential functions should be completed each day and the manager can look to it to ensure the employee stays on track. Manager and employee can both use the job description as a guide to foster employee growth and development.

  • Company and Employee Growth: If all the descriptions for each role in the company were taken and merged together, there should be a complete picture of what needs to get done as well as who should be doing it. If there are tasks that are slipping through the cracks, looking at the job descriptions can help determine if responsibilities need to be added to a particular job or is it time to create a new role as the company grows. For employees, as their tour of duty with a company continues, they may find themselves developing new skills or taking on responsibilities not included in the job description. When evaluating the situation by using the current job description, it can be determined if the job itself has changed or perhaps the employee has “outgrown” the job and would be better suited in a new role within the company.

  • Compensation: The job description also provides information as to the value of the job and the proper compensation for the role. There is a clear view of the role’s responsibilities and the education and skills needed to successfully perform the job.

The job description should be a living document, changing as the needs of the company change. It is a tool to help not only hiring managers, but employees, supervisors, owners, and the company as a whole as they all work towards their goals.

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