Are Job Descriptions Still Relevant Today?

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How To Make Job Descriptions More Effective

Roles seem to be changing and adapting, and job descriptions often feel too static in comparison. So, are they worth having?

The answer is yes, and here’s why!

Humans tend to prefer structure, especially in the working environment. Even if the structure is changing, they still like to have some form of guidance.

No matter how high you are on the corporate ladder, it can be hard to gauge success and expectations without some guidelines laid out. Typically, the guidelines are in the form of a job description.

If you are self-employed or own a business, it may seem irrelevant. However, you’ll still need metrics to keep you on track. They just might look different than a standard job description.

The idea is to give yourself a direction for why you are doing what you are doing, just like any other employee.

For candidates to accept a new role, they need to have an idea of what they are accepting, it goes without saying. Job descriptions are what we use to inform and entice employees to join our teams.

A job title, an objective or overview, and a supervisor are listed, along with a task list or responsibilities, and a note about what the purpose of the role is in the bigger picture.

That is the basic formula for an effective job description, and it won’t change anytime soon.

To make job descriptions more effective in an ever-evolving role, consider them a moving document. Expect to make changes over time and discuss this with potential candidates.

Don’t make changes to a job description for an already filled role without first discussing the changes with the employee. They signed up for a specific job and while you can change it, without their consent to the changes, you risk losing them.

Lastly, job descriptions are a part of a process and structure in a business or organization, a rather small part. They don’t need to be overly complicated and filled with industry jargon.

They should be focused on what you want to achieve and not become an all-encompassing, catch-all trap, for an entire industry of candidates.

To summarize, job descriptions should be: focused, adaptable, have clear goals, have a clear purpose, and be created for the role at hand, not a specific person.

To learn more about job descriptions you can read our guide to creating them here!

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Frequently Asked Questions


Can an employer make you do something not in your job description?

No, and in most cases an employer isn’t able to make any significant changes without the employee’s direct consent.

Are job descriptions necessary?

They are a way for you to narrow down your search and they are often the first impression you will have on candidates, so yes they are both important and necessary.