Why Reviewing Job Descriptions is Critical

One of the first things we request from clients when kicking off a recruitment is the job description. We use the job description throughout the entire recruitment process, including posting it on job boards, pulling talking points for the screening call, and creating the framework for our behavioral based interview questions. It is one of the most critical tools we use to gauge if a candidate has the technical experience to perform the various job duties. When a client either doesn’t have an updated job description or one at all, which is not uncommon, it is a top priority for us to draft one.

What information is included in a job description? A job description generally opens with a brief summary of the company and an overview of a few key job duties the role is responsible for. It will continue on to list in more detail the specific responsibilities/duties of the job as well as the job requirements/qualifications (degree, years of experience, soft skills, etc.). The job description may shed light on the compensation range or benefits that will be offered. Some, but not all, include physical requirements, work schedule, and work environment. As a conclusion, job descriptions will make an affirmative action/ Equal Employment Opportunity statement.

You may be wondering what purpose job descriptions hold beyond the hiring process. If it is a requirement for an employee to be able to effectively communicate, then as an organization you should hold yourself to the same standard. An accurate and clear job description will communicate to your employee the expectations/standards for that role and they will know where their skills align and where they have opportunity for growth. A job description should be used throughout the employment of the employee – during regular reviews of the employee to provide feedback on performance and hitting expectations, or to help guide the employee in their professional development and growth. By incorporating the job description into regular reviews, it will also help keep it up to date and confirm that it aligns with the actual job duties being performed.

Suggested times to update/revise a job description:

  • When flying the position
  • During regular employee reviews
  • If the organization is experiencing growth/changes

What can you conclude from the suggestion above? Job descriptions should be evaluated at a minimum once a year. This does not mean a complete overhaul of each and every job description, but it does mean reading through to check for consistencies between the job description and job duties being performed, measuring workload, and even making sure it meets the organization’s legal and compliance obligations.

If this has never been a priority for your organization, you don’t know where to start, or you have questions about compliance, we may be able to help. Morrison has assisted organizations at every stage of the process, and we’d be happy to chat through your organization’s needs. To get in touch, contact Shawn Miller, Principal and Manager of Morrison’s People Solutions Services.

About the Author
Janae Swartz is a consultant with Morrison, working primarily in our People Solutions practice. To get in touch with Janae, please find contact information for Morrison here.


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