Job Descriptions - The Unsung Hero of HR

Want to attract (and keep) right-fit candidates? Start with a top notch job description.

Opening your organization to a pipeline of job candidates is a critical step in growing a deeper bench of talent. Drawing the eye of prospective applicants is as important to your company’s growth as developing the hires you have already made. Having accurate, detailed job descriptions helps build on both fronts: They help you to find qualified candidates and guide your efforts once employees are in place.

Job descriptions, often referred to as HR’s unsung hero, are an essential part of recruiting, training, performance management, and legal compliance. 

If you want to attract qualified candidates, design effective training and promotion programs, and better manage employee performance, keep reading! 

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Accurate, detailed job descriptions are essential for:

1) Identifying and hiring right-fit employees

Job descriptions can define the skills, abilities, and education that are required to be successful in the job. They outline what the daily duties are  and any special skills needed to perform to the job standards. When posting positions, candidates review the requirements and typically self-select to apply (or not to apply) based on those requirements. This can help narrow the candidate pool (saving valuable screening time) and attract more qualified candidates. Job descriptions can also help to identify internal candidates for promotions and reassignments.

2) Aligning employee expectations with roles and responsibilities

By having a clearly defined job description, employees understand what is expected for job performance. Communicating roles and responsibilities of the job ahead of time helps with training and ensuring that the new hire completes a full orientation to the role. The job description can also be used by the new employee as a reference to self-monitor their training and performance. 

3) Assessing, guiding, and improving job performance

A job description can be used as a tool to monitor job performance. When used during orientation and training periods, a new hire can be measured against these expectations to determine how they are performing to the job. Job descriptions should be reviewed on a regular basis to clearly reflect the actual job duties as they change and evolve. There may be times when you create new positions based on the accumulation of job duties as employees grow within the company. In addition, if someone isn’t performing to the job expectations, it can provide back-up documentation for poor performance along with other items. 

4) Reinforcing the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

The description can be used as a tool to evaluate FLSA status (Fair Labor Standards Act). To do this, the job description must accurately reflect the job duties of the position and the elements of the job relevant to the exemption status. For example, having a job title of manager doesn’t automatically allow for exemption status. The exemption status would be based on the managerial duties and how many employees they  supervise. 

For more information on determining FLSA status, please visit: 

5) Complying with State and Federal Laws (ADA and others)

Job descriptions should specify the essential job duties as well as physical and mental requirements, if applicable. By stating these job requirements, it provides a starting point for employees or candidates to engage in the interactive process to determine if they are able to perform the essential job duties with or without accommodations. In addition, medical professionals can review job descriptions to make recommendations regarding the employee’s or candidate’s performance or restrictions. 

For more information on the Americans with Disabilities Act, please visit: 

Make your job descriptions do the heavy lifting. 

Well written job descriptions can help your organization to be more effective in right-fit hiring, performance management, and in implementing compliant HR policies.

Amy Cell Talent is happy to support your organization's needs.  Let us know how we can help! Schedule an appointment with our HR expert, or call us at (734) 747-2936 to determine if this is the right fit for you!

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About The Author: Sonja Parkinson

Top talent sourcer, HR consultant, and municipal search advisor. Passionate about helping clients meet their hiring goals and leading her team to the charge.

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