Job Descriptions – A waste of time or a forgotten art?

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Job Descriptions – A waste of time or a forgotten art?

Writing a relevant job description seems to be a lost art, driven by HR and the organisation’s bureaucracy to “Tick” boxes and drive KPI’s and reports.

I wonder how many hours are wasted creating 12-page job descriptions that are then supposed to support many more hours focused on the “Tick Boxes” to pointless staff appraisals where the hiring manager has already decided on the outcome but HR and Bureaucracy needs a record to cover more “Tick Boxes”.

I know for a fact (I have friends in high places doing a lot of admin rather than their real job), that when it comes to “Staff Appraisal” time the dread of administration required to complete the task drives them nuts. ? It never ceases to amaze me that this kind of behaviour still exists when there are much more important outcomes to be achieved.

As a recruiter, we get all sorts of Job Descriptions through. Some you can write on the back of postage stamp others are 12-15 pages long and some don’t exist other than a quality sit-down brief where you design the desired requirement. As a recruiter, we need to wear the hat of a Business Analyst. To really understand what you need to hire we need to speak to the person interviewing and making the hiring decision. We need to understand the job, focusing on what the actual work is and the outcomes necessary to make the person, team project a success. The old school arbitrary system of listing pages of attributes the person will have, the key skills the person will bring with them etc is just noise in a modern world that will not attract the right people.

The company culture, the company’s project goals, business goals and other key criteria that you only pick up when you actually take the requirement from the person actually doing the hiring are essential ingredients your recruitment partner needs to find and positively engage candidates for the position.

Do you want to hire the right people fast or waste time screening people out? The language, message and appeal have to be right. Forget HR and corporate Bureaucracy – it’s time the game changed.

Quite often I will read a Job Description, laugh a little and call the hiring manager and the conversation goes a like this:

I have read the Job Description, now can you tell me what you really want in your own words? When are you free to sit and go through your real needs. Believe it or not, I have had numerous managers saying Thank you at the end of the Job Description Analysis.

Do we really need job descriptions?….

The winning job description template can be found here.

If you need help establishing your recruitment strategy feel free to contact us.

For more hiring tips, check out this article “Looking for staff and don’t know where to start?”

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Ellis Taylor
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