"It's just a job description… What could possibly go wrong?" you ask. Well, keep reading…

Pre-Hiring Phase

Monica heads HR in a multinational and she is asked to hire a new employee for fulfilling two key roles in the company; one is for Marketing and the other is for Creative Content Writing. But her boss had specifically asked her to hire one candidate to fulfill both the roles, because of the budget constraints. One of the perks of having a pre-written and updated job description for each employee tells you whether or not a pre-existing employee already possesses the talent you are looking for. It would have saved Monica the difficulty of going through the entire recruitment. She could have then just identified the most appropriate employee for the job and then just realign the workload.

Monica instead picks up an old Job Description from the company archives and does a little altering and posts it in various places. A number of candidates then apply to the post and few are shortlisted by Monica’s assistants. She then interviews the shortlisted - spends about 20 minutes knowing them and another 15 minutes answering questions which most of the candidates had asked before. She is tired of answering the same question and finds out that most of them specialized in Marketing but none of them had a knack for writing. She is disappointed and eventually because of budget constraints hires the best candidate out of the lot.

The HR Head did not have a clear-cut and well-written job description because of which a significant portion of the interview was spent answering questions that could have been mentioned in the job description. The productivity of the recruiter had diminished notably. More than that a candidate was hired who was not suitable for the roles he would be expected to fulfill. A precisely written Job description appeals to the relevant talent and brings him in without emphasizing too much on screening.

Post-Hiring Phase

So a few months later the Employee had complained to Monica for he was being made to fulfill duties that he wasn’t expecting. Because of his lack of performance, he was then let go.

The same cycle of mistakes would then again be repeated they realize what had gone wrong all this time. It would have had gone a long way, had time been spent on making job descriptions for all the employees.

Had the Employee that left been a little smarter to realize that he was being made to fulfill roles his job description didn’t mention; he would have filed a case against the company and asked for compensation. A well-written job description is your first line of legal defense as an employer. This could give the employer a grip against faulty claims made by employees as well.

A training and skill development initiative could have been taken by the employer for their selected employees to fulfill the required gaps. But to do this a job description needs to be present at hand to assess that need. Had Monica been aware of this, she could have maybe set up the new recruit for a creative writing course and it would have gone a long way for the employee as well as the company.

In the Long-Term

A job description is a base for most of the HR Management tasks that they perform. May that be recruiting, skill development, performance review or compensation?

It is your primary means of communicating with the talent and the candidate needs to know what he/she should expect from the job and the company as a whole. This is important for the best performance output. Consequently, it provides a foundation for a performance review in the long term and most importantly - the duties of the employee then align with the vision of the company.

Everything that a company does adds on to its image. So does a job description. It doesn’t reach out to just a candidate but a bunch of candidates and maybe others. Similarly, how the candidates present their best through their CVs, companies as an employer need to showcase their true best self and the duties that the candidate is expected to perform - with their job descriptions.

The significance of a job description cannot be emphasized enough. Employers may choose to write a clear-cut job description themselves or outsource it to other agencies or individuals. If candidates can get creative to stand out during a job application, then why not employers do the same? Writing the perfect job description may be time-consuming, but the return outweighs the cost, most of the time in this case.

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