Job Description: Why is it an Essential Document

jd final image


Hiring someone is a process. One of the first things an employer does and should do is to chart out a job description. It helps the candidates know what the company is looking for. It helps the recruiters know what they are to look for.


What is a Job Description?

Briefly put, a job description lists out the main duties and responsibilities expected from a potential applicant.


Not so Simple and Static:

Writing a job description is not as simple as it sounds. And it is not to be taken for granted. Recruiters often face problems while creating a shortlist because of a lack of specificity in job descriptions. Sometimes, there is an absence of a job description altogether.

And by no means it is a fixed document which can be used again and again. It could be that the employee who previously occupied the position worked very efficiently. As a result, a new set of skills, capabilities may get added in. The job description which was there when this employee had applied will undergo a change.

On the other extreme, if the employee who previously occupied the position didn’t do the job too well, the job description to be brought out for that position may undergo a change. The employers would want to specify or perhaps reword certain competencies so that the same set of problems isn’t faced again.

Thus, a job description, even of an older position is not static.

On the other hand, there can be an instance where a new position has been created recently.

It could be due to numerous reasons: technological innovation, change in the scope of the company, moderation in the mission and culture, etc. In such a situation, a job description from the scratch has to be created.

Whatever be the context, a job description is an important document that needs to have a certain specificity.


What are some Benefits of a Job Description?

The obvious benefits:

  • Helps the person on a job search in screening the places worth applying at.
  • The applicant knows the exact skills and capabilities needed.
  • The applicant knows the expectations of the employer.
  • The applicant knows when (not) to say “that’s not my job”.


There are a few other not so obvious benefits of a job description:

  • Helps recruiters screen candidates with much ease.
  • A reference which helps in developing interview questions.
  • A reference to formulate training plans, employee reviews, salary increases, goal setting and training plans.
  • As a way of ensuring there is legal documentation.

Moreover, it tells a lot about the company/firm, and how seriously are they taking the hiring process.


What to Include in a Job description?

What are the key points one should include in a job description?

The job title: It should include the name of position, the rank if any.

The purpose: In a clear language, the job description should summarise the purpose and objectives of the position.

The desired professional experience and the desired educational qualifications. It should also include, obviously, the core skills needed. The necessary certificates, licenses and registrations (if any). One might also specify the physical requirements if the job demands.

Reporting: This will include who the applicant will be reporting to, and who all are to report to them.

The location, the schedule and the work environment and condition.

So, the structure of a job description would generally include:

  • Job title
  • Location
  • Reports to
  • Job purpose
  • Responsibilities/ duties in a detailed way
  • Essential and ideal criteria
  • Company/firm/team overview
  • Application information


A job description is thus in fact a sign to the applicant that the company/firm is serious about hiring, and knows what it wants from potential employees.