What's the Real Value of a Job Description?

Here’s a silly little riddle: What does almost every job in the world have in common?

They all have a job description attached to them.

They’re undoubtedly a crucial piece of the talent attraction and selection process. It seems counter-productive, then, that job descriptions are pretty much an afterthought within the realm of HR and talent management.

Think about it from the employee’s perspective. Here’s how it works in many organizations: a job description captures a job seeker’s interest, the person applies, and maybe gets an interview. If they get hired, that job description is then filed away into a drawer for all eternity, never to be looked at again.

On the employer side, job descriptions are a tedious task — bogging down HR specialists when they’d rather be focusing on strategic initiatives. They’re a time-sink and a productivity black hole. And that’s not even considering the time spent getting input from C-suite stakeholders and the like. Straight up: without a solid process or systems in place, it’s painful.

Worst of all, a lot of organizations are overlooking the ongoing uses that job descriptions, done correctly, can provide.

How Can We Bring Job Descriptions into the Modern Age?

Smarter organizations are beginning to see the value in the job description becoming a central piece of their employee lifecycles, using cloud-based job description software to help the “JD” power other parts of their talent management process. And it all starts with competencies. Here are just a few ways that this manifests itself.

  • Companies can map competencies on to their job descriptions in order to accurately define the skills and behaviors needed in this role. Those competencies can include core competencies (values shared organization-wide); behavioral competencies (the inherent behaviors their employees need to display) and technical competencies (the actual, technical skills their employees need to thrive).
  • With those competencies mapped to the job descriptions (the right job description software comes in super handy for this), the hiring person can carry out a structured interview, using the “STAR” method (asking the candidate to describe the situation, task, action, and result) to demonstrate the competency. This level of structure keeps things more objective, organization-wide, and keeps interviews planted in reality.
  • Later on in the employee’s stint, HR or department managers can carry out assessments — again, all linked back to that original job description, and those competencies required from the role. This may take the form of self-assessment, supervisor assessment, the ever-popular 360 assessment, or even some form of testing (depending on industry.)
  • If gaps are spotted, the organization can provide employees with learning resources to develop and strengthen those gaps that were identified.

The benefits of a modern approach to job descriptions

The list above obviously mostly speaks to the benefits that this approach has for the company, the departmental managers, and those HR specialists. But this kind of approach also has significant benefits to the employee as well.

An employee within this system has a sense of purpose, and alignment. They know exactly what they need to do to reach that next level in their role (and increasingly-popular career pathing programs can provide huge incentive for the best talent to stick around.) There’s a system that they can wrap their head around; and once again, it all revolves back around that initial job description that they were essentially hired on.

The One Unchanged Thing in Modern Work

As a thought exercise, let’s think about the changes to the world of work over the past 30 years. In the late 80s, many desks in a typical workplace wouldn’t even have computers on them. Putting out a job ad often meant working with your local newspaper to place a classified ad. HR departments certainly didn’t have the prominence or cachet that they have in the modern era.

Yet job descriptions… yep, in most organizations, they’re pretty much the exact same now as they were back then.


Views: 312


You need to be a member of RecruitingBlogs to add comments!

Join RecruitingBlogs


All the recruiting news you see here, delivered straight to your inbox.

Just enter your e-mail address below


RecruitingBlogs on Twitter

© 2024   All Rights Reserved   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Privacy Policy  |  Terms of Service