5 Reasons Why Job Descriptions Are Important

Here’s How To Create One

Job descriptions have been around since the advent of jobs. However, the importance of job descriptions from a big picture concept is still unclear. Most often, HR professionals and recruiters put off writing or updating job descriptions because they think other tasks are more vital. Nonetheless, a good job description might have a much larger impact on the workplace than you anticipate.


#1 – Helps Attract the Right Employee

The purpose of a job description is to ensure the job will meet the needs of the organization and to recruit the appropriate talent for the position. When you clearly specify the qualifications for a specific role, it will be less likely that employees who don’t fit the criteria apply.  This will, in turn, help you save valuable recruitment time by limiting the number of applications that come through the door, thereby improving the quality of the applications that come in.


#2 – Helps Guide Training

Figuring out the type and depth of training a new employee requires can be a difficult task. However, a complete job description helps make it a bit easier. If your job description is thorough, it will be easier to know where a new employee falls short in terms of knowledge, skills, or qualifications and where he/she might require additional training.

Using the skills gaps as a guide, you can put together a customized training plan that will help get the employee into an actionable position faster.


#3 – Offer Protection After Terminations

While job descriptions help bring in qualified employees, a bad hire might still find their way in. In such a scenario, a good job description will serve as back-up documentation for poor performance. If you had outlined the expectations right from the beginning, it would be easier to pinpoint and document exactly where the employee’s performance doesn’t meet the standards. This information will supplement any other documentation of performance issues such as performance reviews, one-to-one meeting notes, and other discussion notes.


#4 – Assist with Retention and Satisfaction

When you look at it from an employee candidate’s perspective, a job description is a sample snapshot of what a candidate’s life with the company will look like. If you fail to put forward an accurate job description, the employee will feel that your company has been deceitful. He/she will also be more likely to quit.

On the other hand, if a job description is accurate, the chances are that the employee will enjoy their job and have a sense of purpose and loyalty towards the company.


#5 – Helps Gauge Performance

After hiring an employee, an in-depth job description serves as a tool to gauge performance. The job competencies, duties, tasks, and responsibilities that are outlined in the description will act as expectation guidelines. Once the probationary period ends, or when it is time for employee reviews, a job description is an excellent tool to measure performance shortcomings or areas where the employee exceeds expectations.

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5 Tips For Writing Better Job Descriptions

  1. Include your mission, vision, and values, especially when listing your job descriptions outside of your own organization’s website. One of your main goals is to attract candidates that share your organizational values.
  2. Improve readability using bullet points, short paragraphs, and concise sentences. Depending on the complexity of the position, limit yourself to 5-10 bullet points that highlight the functions or core competencies needed. List them from most performed to least and include a blanket statement that “other duties, tasks and responsibilities may be assigned at any time.”
  3. Be upfront about total compensation (salary, commissions, bonuses) and benefits (including time off, holidays, health contributions, and retirement plans). Feel free to include other perks like flexible schedules or other unique benefits.
  4. Include physical requirements. Remember, one in five adults has some form of disability. By providing physical requirements up front, you avoid missteps during the hiring process.


Keep Your Job Descriptions Up-to-Date

Job roles and responsibilities keep changing over time—they evolve and expand as their position within the company shifts. For instance, if your employees have been in the same position for a while, it is highly unlikely that their job descriptions are the same as when they were first hired. However, employers often forget the importance of regularly updating job descriptions.

While it might seem like an insignificant part of HR, outlining and updating job descriptions is essential for preparing for future hiring objectives, improving current employee productivity, and ensuring long-term workforce sustainability. Furthermore, these critical internal records will help ensure consistent performance standards and ease the hiring and recruitment process, should the role change or expand in the future.



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