The job description represents a job guide which informs candidates about the specific tasks and responsibilities associated with the targeted position. This guide contains, apart from day to day requirements, the education and experience necessary in order to be considered for the job, the future schedule and the relationship with the other employees in the unit. Such a document enables a strict control over the hiring criteria, accounts for candidate’s rejection when the criteria are not met and helps maintaining a healthy working environment after the hiring phase, as all employees are aware of their role in the company.
Writing a job description
The job description is written by the HR manager, by the head of the department in need of personnel or by the person who will directly guide and supervise the future employee. Due to its importance in the selection process and future work conduct, the description must be drafted after a meticulous analysis of the company’s needs and requirements. A thorough evaluation of the role which the candidate must fulfill and a clearly established goal will help create the profile of the perfect applicant for the position.
Therefore, before putting the job description on paper it is essential to answer the following questions:
• What are the main tasks associated with this position?
• What are the company’s goals and what type of employees can help the company with them?
• What education must the applicant have?
• Is experience relevant in the field in which we are hiring?
• Are we ready to train the candidate on the job?
• Which are the main personal features we appreciate at our workers?
• What skills are necessary to perform the assigned work?
• How much time will the assignments require to finish? Does the company agree with paying extra hours?
• Will the candidate need to travel frequent or relocate in order to perform the assigned job?
• Will the employee work on their own or collaborate with a team of co-workers?
• Who in the company will guide and supervise the new employee? Who will receive reports from the person hired on this position?
These questions cover most of the information which must be specified in a job description. The next steps in achieving a complete description are organizing the information and put it in the specific structure for a professional presentation.
Consequences of poorly written job description
A well written job description will act as a selecting tool for applicants. Candidates reading the document will evaluate their skills, education and experience, compare them with the ones required in the description and decide if they are suitable for the position. As a consequence, most of the candidates applying for the job will fit the profile, making the hiring process more effective and less time consuming.
On the other side, the poorly written job descriptions are more likely to encumber the selection process and cause serious consequences for the company’s image, its placement on market and its long term efficiency. These are the most frequent fallouts of the incomplete or inappropriate job guides:
• Extra time and effort needed to select the applicants who are capable of handling all job requirements;
• Discourage valuable candidates to apply because of the lack of information provided, inconsistency or inadvertences;
• Attract people without the necessary education or experience;
• Make compromises when hiring a candidate and thus decrease company’s capacity of performing at high levels;
• Invest more time and money in employee training.
Restrictions of the job description
While the advantages associated with job descriptions are incontestable, there are also drawbacks related toss their usage. However, with proper employer-employee communication, these pitfalls can be avoided.
Creative jobs – Candidates for jobs which require “outside the box” thinking may feel restricted by the job description, especially if the procedures are listed in a technical manner. A good way to offer creative minds the space they need is to set goals and leave them decides the best ways in which these goals can be achieved. Furthermore, a discussion employer-employee may clear the waters and set a proper working environment for both parties.
Flexibility – The Company functions as a whole, not as a union of separate departments. Therefore, it is essential to encourage job interaction and let employees enough freedom to work in overlapping sectors. Setting limitations may discourage employees and may deprive the company of precious ideas and strategies.
Updating responsibilities – In a fast paced environment, remaining consistent to a job description dated a year ago it is almost impossible. The job evolves and so does the employee, therefore constant updates need to be done to the description so as to keep it functional and maintain the employee’s responsibilities balanced. When new tasks are assigned, it is recommended that others are removed from the employee’s shoulders so that they can remain effective throughout the day and deliver work within the established deadlines.
The job description is a versatile tool which can effectively work in favor of both employer and employee from the beginning of their collaboration until the end of it. However, in order for the relationship between the two to function properly, it is essential that the description is accurate, highly informative, well-structured and always available for updates and improvements.
How to Create A Job Description
A job description is created by doing an analysis of the job. This should include understanding what each task will entail and the order in which the tasks should be done.
The knowledge required for said job should also be posted on the description in order to weed out potential candidates who don’t have the required knowledge to properly do the job.
Most job descriptions will list whether or not the candidate will be working alone or must work with others. Will the candidate be required to work on computers doing such things as data entry or filling out other important documents?
Some descriptions go on to inform the reader of specific skill sets required in the performance of the job. They may also go on to list goals and expectations of the job.
Many candidates will be weeded out under educational requirements. If a job requires a bachelors degree for example and the candidate only has an associates this would automatically weed out said candidate.
By utilizing a description to its full advantage, a company can pre select the potential employees and weed out those who don’t pre qualify. Once that is done the employer can then go through the remaining candidates and select those best qualified for the job.
Interviews aren’t always an easy task. Many potential candidates may meet the description requirements but fall short in other categories such as working well with others or working well alone.
Many companies take their time in hiring new employees in order to completely analyze potential candidates for their skills and promptness in showing up for testing and interviews.
As the process drags on many employers find that some of the candidates are again eliminated or they drop out after finding other jobs. This of course makes it easier for the interviewers.
A description should at all times list what is expected in the job, goals and special skills required, educational requirements and whether or not the employee must work alone or as a team player.
Descriptions can easily vary for the same job so it’s important for people to inquire to the potential employer should they have any questions regarding any specific details that they may not fully understand.
Once a description is out in the media, it can still be changed as required and updated to reflect any new requirements or needs for the employer.