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As the skills gap widens across the UK, and the search for experienced, qualified, and skilled workers becomes more difficult, your recruitment policy is your first line of attack in making sure your organisation doesn’t fall behind its competitors – and writing an accurate job description is one of the most crucial yet simple weapons in your armoury.

What is the main purpose of a job description?

The purpose of a job description is not just to inform the candidate about what the position entails. An accurate job description will whittle out unsuitable candidates and entice those who you really want. It should give a clear breakdown of duties and responsibilities, outline the chain of responsibility, and highlight expectations.

During the interview process, the job description is the common starting point for the questions, giving both the interviewer and the candidates a formal structure from which conversations can expand. It can also be used as evaluation checkpoints for the new recruit, monitoring both the performance of a new employee and the functionality of the role within the organisation.

Should you include the salary in the job description?

There’s a reason why we work – and that is to earn a living. Job seekers are often looking for the next step up. Whilst the job description isn’t necessarily the best place to highlight the salary, unless you are transparent about your salary levels, you are probably not going to attract the right calibre of candidates. Salary expectations are an essential part of the ‘weeding’ process.

What needs to be in a job description?

Every job description has a common structure – how you fill it in depends on the position you are recruiting for.

The structure comprises:

  • General overview
  • Job duties
  • Purpose of the job
  • Goals and objectives
  • Scope of the work
  • Working conditions – office-based, hybrid, WFH?
  • Qualifications, skill, or experience requirements
  • Immediate supervisor – who you are reporting to
  • Supervisory responsibilities – who you will be managing
  • Special circumstances – for example, is there any travel involved

What happens if your job description is not accurate?

If your newly recruited candidate finds that their new role is not matching up to their expectations according to the job description, this could, over time, create a whole new set of headaches for your organisation.

A job description is a form of advertising, so how it is interpreted by the new recruit is, to a degree, open to interpretation. However, you do not want to waste your time and resources, nor the candidates, by advertising a role that you are not sure about or is open to change. A candidate will often be leaving another paid position prior to joining your organisation, and if they feel as though they have been ‘mis-sold’ a role based on a hugely inaccurate job description, then they may be within their rights to complain.

Assuming that the job description contains the right information, but is generally poorly written, how may this affect your company?

You become an unattractive prospect

In short, if your job description is muddled, unclear, and misleading, no one is going to swipe right for your role. The only people you will attract are those who end up bulk applying for anything that they can find.

This means that the quality of the applicants is low level, and chances are you will not find the right candidate, or worse, end up employing the wrong one!

As an employer, you will end up with higher employee turnover rates, which will lead to instability and affect growth and profitability.

Job Descriptions are moveable feats

For the best results, you need to treat your job descriptions as a living, breathing part of your business that needs to be kept under constant review and tweaked on a regular basis.

In the same way that a new recruit will develop and improve over time, their natural progression will eventually make the original job description null and void. Keeping job descriptions up to date and as accurate as possible on an ongoing basis is an essential part of HR policy practice, and there is external support to help them achieve this. The more that is achieved on an ongoing basis, the more this would save significant time in the future if that now established recruit works their way up the ladder into a new position and the role becomes vacant again.

In fact, it is that very individual who will be best placed to advise on the accuracy of the job description once again, having first-hand experience of exactly what the job entails and what is needed to perform it well.

For more information about Paydata’s job description support service and to discuss your requirements contact us.

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