Glossary: HR & Recruiting Definitions
A job description, also called a position specification or summary, is a clear and unambiguous requirement profile for a position within a company. It describes the tasks, responsibilities, and competencies required for the role.
It is regarded as an important management and organisational instrument with a wide range of uses. For example, as the basis for employment contracts or performance appraisals.
Although the two terms are often used interchangeably, there are a few important differences between job descriptions and job advertisements that recruiters should be aware of.
When preparing a job description, the first question you should ask yourself is “what belongs in a job description?” And, equally important is knowing what doesn’t belong in a job description.
Here is a brief overview of the most important elements:
These details, on the other hand, do not belong in a job description:
In terms of the exact content, it’s important to keep the purpose of the job description in mind.
As the basis of the job advertisement, it makes sense to document certain qualifications in the form of hard and soft skills that are considered essential for successfully filling the position. However, this shouldn’t be anything too specific, so as not to scare off potential applicants.
An employment contract based on such a function or job description, on the other hand, must contain much more concrete and also personal data. But in this case, it does so without the information on professional qualifications.
Given the detail of such a job or function description, recruiters and HR professionals naturally ask themselves about the cost-benefit ratio. Is the job description a useful and efficient tool?
Let’s have a look at the advantages and disadvantages of a job specification.
The job description clarifies all the important issues surrounding a particular position in the company. This makes it a practical working basis. In addition, HR professionals can look forward to the following advantages of the job description.
The written description of competencies and powers of a position, as well as the direct superiors, subordinates, and deputies within an organisation, prevents misunderstandings. This can effectively prevent power play between employees and unauthorised actions.
Unfortunately, a job description does also offer potential disadvantages that HR professionals should be aware of.
Creating a job description is especially useful and significant because it is much more than just a job aid. It enables companies and HR professionals to:
The creation and maintenance of job descriptions is generally the responsibility of a company’s Human Resources Manager.
However, in most cases this requires the support and cooperation of employees involved in the task of a vacant position (later direct supervisors). It is also advisable to obtain the approval of higher management.
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