The Importance of The Job Description: Why you should never hire without one

Filed in Business — March 27, 2021

One of the most crucial elements of running a business is the hiring process. Employees are vital to completing day-to-day operations that have a long-term effect on your company. During the hiring process, you read through applicant files, conduct interviews, examination, and background checks, and then make an offer to that one candidate. All of those steps and phases of the process are important and present their own challenges. But the key to it all and starting point of everything is the job description. You identify the role or position that needs to be filled and then you work on the Job Description.

The Job Description provides clarity to both the candidate as well as the employer on what their scope of work will be. The truth is that not all titles are created equal and while a role may mean one thing to one company it may be different for another. Your business exists because there is something that you provide differently or better than anyone within the market therefore the roles and responsibilities of anyone working for your company will also have differentiating factors.

The Job Description provides a safeguard for you as the CEO and accountability for your team member. Having a guiding document allows you a point of reference as opposed to shooting in the dark as to what the expectations were when the position started. Shooting in the dark, both of you feeling your way, and sometimes even simply “winging it” will definitely lead to confusion, delays, misunderstandings, tasks neglected, and an overall unproductiveness.

Having clear expectations from your employee and the employee having a precise idea of what is expected from her sounds so much better, right? Because it is! It’s like coming to a meeting to present but having nothing prepared. You might think I know the topic so I’ll just rely on my stock knowledge and instinctive intelligence. You might get really lucky and nail it but do you really want to base it on luck? Because if luck isn’t on your side, then you’d be doing a lot of thinking and internal processing WHILE presenting and that is not an ideal situation. You could have awkward pauses, questions you couldn’t answer confidently or not answer at all, you could start fidgeting, and ultimately just not present as confidently and comfortably as you were supposed to. Relate that to not having a job description. You hire someone with excellent credentials and experiences, nevertheless, the lack of a job description will still eventually confuse and fluster the employee.

A clear and solid job description would include the job title, purpose of the job, detailed description of tasks and responsibilities), qualifications required or preferred if any, job location if applicable, will it be a part-time or a full-time role, ideal candidate details if any, and the work environment for that position. You may also have the employee’s salary range and compensation package added to the job description. 

A Job Description can also serve as a reference point for future evaluations of the employee’s performance. The clear expectations established from the beginning would serve as a solid foundation for the assessment. The job description would also be a point of reference and a basis for setting goals and managing priorities for the employee, as well as stating the obvious, to provide a complete and clear sense of what is required of the role.

Having a job description is not enough. It must be specific and detailed, with no ambiguity. Of course, there will be candidates who do not fulfill all of the criteria, but a well-thought-out and well-written description will significantly minimize the number of incidents.

If you are vague and not upfront with the job specifics from the start, workers will ultimately get dissatisfied with their jobs and resign because they think it isn’t a good match for them. When this happens, you could go through the hiring and training phase all over again. In other words, the company would have a higher employee turnover rate. Simply because you lacked a clear and detailed Job Description.

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