Job Description Redesigning


Are you in the process of redesigning your company to align with new realities in the workforce? How has the non-traditional, contingent workforce and gig mentality impacted the way you recruit, hire and retain?


You have your work cut out for you, considering over half the workforce are working in non-traditional positions. Have you considered if it’s time to throw the traditional job description out the window?


Before you instantly feel that is a terrible decision, think about your current job descriptions. How often are they updated? How accurate is the information? When someone has worked for you for over a year, what percentage of the job description describes the work they are doing or talents they possess?


As a recruiter, I was always frustrated when my candidates would fly through the initial interviews, only to get screened out in the final interview by their potential manager. I then realized this manager had used the “talents” of the person who was previously employed and those talents were not included in the job description.


As a result, we began to distribute a copy of our job requisition to everyone in the hiring process to obtain their sign off. We were stunned when major changes were made over 50% of the time, by the person who would be their direct report.


When you think about it, their manager was smart. Too often people are pigeon holed in a job where their talents and interests are not utilized. As a result, they end up quitting and take their talents to one of your competitors.


The question is how do you develop innovative ways to utilize all the skills, talents and interests of each employee, rather than limiting them to a narrow range of responsibilities within a specific department. This is one of the reasons so many talented candidates are opting to work on a contractual basis. With each new contract, they are enhancing their skills and marketability while doing work they enjoy.


Many progressive companies are developing ways to engage employees and integrating this new workforce into their company’s culture. They are creating pools of top talent who are assigned to various teams or projects where they can make the greatest contribution. You might have an employee in accounting who also has a passion for writing who could work on a project for another manager that utilizes their writing abilities.


This can also reduce turnover that is often due to one of your employees quitting a specific manager versus quitting your company.


Seven reasons to kick traditional job descriptions to the curb:

  1. Candidates don’t need all the information on a job description to consider an opportunity. Often candidates are more interested in a company’s culture, growth opportunities and philanthropic causes.
  2. Too often job descriptions describe the skills a person needs for doing a job rather than describe the work that needs to get done.
  3. Job descriptions often limit top talent from applying, when the early-stages of sourcing talent should be focused on getting a candidates’ attention.
  4. Job descriptions can cause high-potential candidates to be screened out. A great candidate could be light on experience, but make up for it with potential and talent.
  5. Job descriptions can cause qualified candidates to exclude themselves. Great candidates apply for a job because of the work they’ll be doing not because of the skills they possess.
  6. Job descriptions don’t predict on the job performance. A person could have all the credentials and experience but are not able to achieve the desired results.
  7. Job descriptions are not objective. They cause many good candidates from consideration. When an internal candidate is considered, the decision is reached based on past performance vs. specific credentials. This should be the same criteria used for outside candidates.

So, now the question is what can replace the traditional job description? To enhance your recruiting efforts, create a one-page marketing piece that highlights a group of jobs and selling points about your company. This will help you build a larger pool of top talent in your network and database.



Next utilize a “performance-based” document that emphasizes the opportunities, challenges and results involved in a job, rather than a laundry list of specific skills and experience. Use the performance criteria to select only the most qualified individuals from your pool of interested candidates to be nurtured and interviewed.


Conduct a behavioral interview which will determine if the candidate is a fit, can handle the challenges and provide the results you need for specific opportunities.


This is not an easy change and it will take forward-thinking Talent Acquisition Professionals to pave the way toward performance based hiring.


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