The Importance of a Great Job Description

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The importance of a great job description

Have you ever thrown out your back? Brutal. The spine of the human body is central to our every movement. It provides our bodies with a solid foundation and protects the integrity of almost all of the vital functions we use daily. 

Job descriptions serve an identical purpose for human resources in that they support many of your organization’s primary functions: recruiting, hiring, performance evaluations, succession planning, employee job satisfaction, training and development, and even employment law analysis can all operate more efficaciously with a meticulously crafted job description: your HR backbone. While often glossed over as a tedious and administrative task, managers and HR professionals who invest in descriptive and accurate job descriptions will have their efforts paid back in spades.  

Why Are Job Descriptions Important in the Recruiting Process?

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Let’s start with recruiting. According to, “Your job descriptions are where you start marketing your company and your job to your future hire.” In response to an Indeed survey, 52% of job seekers said the quality of a job description is “very or extremely influential” on their decision whether or not to apply to a job post. With the current labor shortage, job seekers need to be heavily marketed and sold on both the company and the opportunity.

Helps Attract the Right Employee

Job descriptions should be written to attract the type of candidates ideal for the role. In addition, poorly written job postings will either have you buried in resumes of unqualified individuals or result in too few candidates expressing interest in the job. The time wasted with either of these outcomes is detrimental to an often-under-staffed team, tight recruiting deadlines, and the business’s bottom line. Carefully describing the job while selling it at the same time is critical to the success of the post and getting suitable candidates hired in a timely and cost-effective manner.

Keep Your Job Descriptions Up-to-Date

The job description’s purpose doesn’t stop at the job board. Regularly updating your job descriptions can give managers additional value for several reasons. It’s important to be strategic about what exactly your current needs are. Keeping your job descriptions updated provides the manager with an opportunity to refresh duties based on any new or evolving business needs. Updating your job descriptions as key duties evolve and job responsibilities change can serve as an exceptional resource for managers during important decision-making cases, such as identifying performance gaps, developing strategies for expansion or downsizing, and succession planning.

Helps Gauge Performance

The job description is instrumental in conducting accurate, thorough, and meaningful performance reviews. It can serve as an outline to which the manager can refer to when providing feedback and aids in measuring progress against expectations. Once an employee is onboarded, the job description serves as an important reference for the new employee to execute and understand their responsibilities.  

Training and employee development can also start with a proper and accurate job description. Being thoughtful about what skills are critical to the position and which skills will benefit the employee to enhance is a strategic way to develop your team. Investing in employee development not only helps the company but also builds loyalty and job satisfaction, which is important to organizational culture and employee retention.  

Offer Protection After Terminations

While it might not seem obvious, job descriptions can play a role in employment law scenarios more often than you think. According to the Houston Chronicle, “…. poorly crafted or non-existent job descriptions pose several problems, including legal risks. They can cause issues in hiring, evaluation, employee motivation, and career development.” If an employer is required to prove, for example, that a terminated employee was let go for failing to meet minimum basic standards for the position, the first thing that will be referenced is the job description. If this is not accurate, the termination can be challenged even in an at-will state.

Update Your Job Descriptions for New Fair Labor Standards

Update your job descriptions for new fair labor standards

Job descriptions also assist employers in determining whether or not a position is exempt or non-exempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Many employers think that just because a position is paid on a salary basis, they are exempt from earning overtime. Still, the FLSA bases the classification on other factors, including job duties. Having these duties clearly laid out in a job description helps define and support the classification and ensure employees are paid properly. Including the physical requirements in the job description also helps employers comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and determine which reasonable accommodations if any, they can make for an employee in need.

Get Professional Help When Writing Better Job Descriptions

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You can maintain and strengthen your human resources strategy by crafting and maintaining detailed and accurate job descriptions. If you are a small business and don’t have an HR professional on your team or the bandwidth yourself, seek an HR consulting firm for a short-term project. You’ll find it a healthy and critical exercise in maintaining and strengthening your strategic “backbone.” 

At EnformHR, we offer project-based HR Services. If you are looking for accurate job descriptions or basic HR Outsourcing, call (732) 534-7844 or contact us online. One of our HR Business Partners will assist with any of your Human Resources Management needs.   

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Cristina Amyot

Cristina Amyot, SPHR, the firm’s President, leads the HR Services Group. Ms. Amyot graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree and Master’s Degree in Human Resource Management from Rutgers University. She holds a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) certification from the Human Resources Certification Institute and a Life, Accident, and Health Insurance License from the State of New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance.

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