How to get more from your job descriptions

Job descriptions are an overlooked and under-represented area of the recruitment process

How to get more from your job descriptions

Job descriptions are an overlooked and under-represented area of the recruitment process. Cobbled together by some stressed out HR practitioner, they’re often used just once by an employer before being deleted and forgotten.

But what if a job description could be used as a development tool? A way of building upon and up-skilling a new hire all the way through their employee lifecycle?

HRD Canada spoke to Ian Wayne and Sarah Beckett of HRSG, creator of the job description, competency and career pathing software CompetencyCore, to hear how technology can help take your job descriptions to a whole new level.

“One of the big misconceptions around job descriptions is that people mistakenly believe they’re a job advert,” prefaced Beckett. “They’re simply not the same thing.

“A job ad is a marketing document. It’s a way to position the role, outwardly facing, to engage the biggest number of top-level candidates as possible. This often contains information about the company, why it’s such a great place to work, what their values are etc. These aren’t necessarily aspects which are needed in the more formal, internal facing, job description.”

While a job advert will have elements of what the job actually entails, it won’t go into much detail.  For instance, the ad won’t cover the competencies required to be successful in the role or the full detail on knowledge and job requirements.

This is where technology comes in.
“Tech helps by significantly slashing the amount of time it takes to go into the extra detail,” explained Wayne. “Sometimes people are building out job descriptions purely for compliance reasons – basically because they ‘have to’. They’re taking that job advert, which has the minimal amount of description but contains the marketing element which attract candidates, and running with it. Once it’s done its job of attracting a new hire, that job advert is discarded until the company decides it needs to hire again.”

Instead, employers need to start thinking about job descriptions as long-standing documents which will evolve with the changing needs of the organization.

HRSG’s job description software , CompetencyCore, empowers employers with the tools to ensure that their descriptions are up-to-date and reflect the reality of how roles evolve over time.

“This tool will take the responsibilities listed, the summary of the job description, and it will then use machine learning to suggest competencies from HRSG’s database at the proficiency level required for the role,” added Wayne. “This is a great starting point for any employer – rather than starting from scratch to select competencies on an individual basis.”

These documents can then be used as a way of upskilling and developing employees – as well as helping with retention rates.

“Retention is a huge issue in many companies – and part of this boils down to helping people understand what opportunities are available within the organization,” continued Wayne. “But how will you do this without any good description of the actual roles on offer – and what the opportunities would look like? With this tool, you can start to build out good information on your career paths – which will help you retain the best talent.”

As jobs are evolving more rapidly than ever before, technology can help you reflect those changes simply by analyzing updates to the job requirements, and suggesting competencies that better reflect the job requirements at that point in time.

“People are doing this work anyway,” added Beckett. “They’re already creating these job descriptions. And so, rather than spending our time on creating a single-use, disposable document, why not craft a strategic, viable document which can be used across other areas of the employee lifecycle. You’ll be adding so much more value to the work you’re already doing.”

To learn more on how to enhance your job descriptions, download HRSG’s free whitepaper here

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