The importance of accurate job descriptions in building better teams 

During a recent discussion a client quite rightly shed light on a critical aspect of the hiring process that often goes overlooked: the accuracy of job descriptions.

In a world where CVs and social media profiles can be curated to present a polished image, it's essential to recognise that job descriptions are equally susceptible to misrepresentation.

This revelation sparked a realisation that the disconnect between expectations and reality in the hiring process stems from inaccurate and outdated job descriptions.

We need to simplify recruitment language

In our conversation, my client raised a compelling point about the potential misleading nature of job descriptions.

Frequently rushed out by employers or merely updated from outdated templates, these documents often lack the necessary peer contribution and accurate assessment of current and future duties and responsibilities.

This discrepancy between what's on paper and the actual expectations of the role can lead to a myriad of challenges during onboarding, resulting in slow productivity and high turnover rates when new hires find themselves in roles that don't align with what was initially presented.

In essence, we are dealing with two documents – the CV and the job description – that are, more often than not, caught in a time warp.

This misalignment contributes to the growing problem of employees feeling aggrieved about their new roles, hindering their ability to contribute effectively to the organisation's goals.

To address this issue, a paradigm shift is needed, an overhaul in the approach to crafting job descriptions and a concerted effort to educate both candidates and employers.

Why we need to ditch the job description

The creation of a job description is a crucial starting point in the recruitment process, setting the tone for the entire employee lifecycle.

Instead of viewing it as a mere formality or a template to be quickly updated, it should be regarded as a dynamic document that evolves with the changing needs of the organisation.

Each role is unique, and its description should reflect the current state of the company, the team, and the industry.

As the CV becomes more visual, then surely there is an argument for the hob description to follow by taking on a more visual form with video footage being used to showcase the work environment and even testimonials from existing employees giving the candidate a clear insight into the company’s personality and its ethos.

But before I get ahead of myself, we need to refer back to basic education as this is a key factor in the process.

Candidates must be equipped with the tools to critically assess job descriptions, ensuring they possess the necessary skills and experience for a role.

Likewise, employers need guidance on constructing accurate and comprehensive job descriptions that genuinely reflect the demands of the position.

By fostering a mutual understanding between both parties, it’s possible to create a more transparent and informed hiring process.

Speaking plainly: inclusivity and accessibility starts with the written word

Imagine a scenario where every job description is a true representation of the role, outlining responsibilities and expectations with precision.

In such a world, candidates would enter interviews fully aware of what is expected of them, leading to more successful onboarding experiences and increased productivity.

This shift towards accuracy and transparency in job descriptions has the potential to revolutionise the way UK businesses operate, creating a more efficient and harmonious work environment.

The time has come for a refresh and an investment in the crafting of accurate job descriptions that serve as a reliable guide for both candidates and employers.

By embracing this change, we can bridge the gap between expectations and reality, laying the foundation for stronger, more cohesive teams and ultimately contributing to the success of businesses across the UK.

Susie Thomson is chief operating officer at workforce management solutions company,Matrix