In today’s shortage of talent, managers are working hard to find solutions to recruit the talent they need. There are many ingredients in the “art of recruiting,” though knowing what the essential responsibilities (functions) of the role is paramount.

The job description is a tool that serves many functions within a company, but this post will be on its effectiveness in recruiting.

Being in Human Resources I know that creating a job description is tedious and just the thought of creating one makes a manager groan. I understand…managers have a lot of their plate in order to meet the business objectives.

Having said that, it’s important to use the job description as a tool for recruiting. If you “adlib” in your recruiting efforts, you will work harder to find the right candidate. You may also make an incorrect choice of hire because you are not clear.

So what is the role of job descriptions in your recruiting efforts?

-At a department level, you start with a “staffing” plan.

-The Staffing Plan is used to parcel out responsibilities to appropriate job roles.

-Each role has a list of essential functions…that support one or several functions within the department.

-In order to find the right talent, you need to know the important responsibilities in the role, or “essential functions.”

-Helps the recruiter find the appropriate candidates for you to evaluate, which decreases your time investment in recruiting.

-Helps clarify to the candidate the performance expectations of the role.

I know that as a manager you want to put someone in the position as quickly as possible. You feel you are just too busy to create a detail job description. If you are directly doing the recruiting you will probably reuse the old job description.

===>Positions change over time…and like a house that needs a new coat of paint, the job description needs to be updated.

Existing Position

You created the job description several years ago and never updated it.

-The current employee is a “go getter” and the job grew. Now they are leaving…is the job description still a true reflection of the current role.

-On the other side, because of changes in the business the role may have decrease in responsibilities.

In both cases if you are going to recruit for the role, you have to update what you are looking for in that position.

New Position

A new position is probably more obvious why you want to create a job description. It will serve you in two main ways…both have to do with clarity.

-You need to know how this position fits into your overall department functions.

-The candidate needs to know what is expected of them.


Strong candidates are evaluating different opportunities and they want to review the job description to see if their interests and talents match the position. They may make some assumptions about the company based on the job description. For example, is the manager clear around the responsibilities in this position, and how it fits into the overall functions of the department?

Final Thought

The job description is a great tool in finding the right talent. It provides clarity for everyone and clarity is usually a good foundation for finding the right talent and keeping them. So, invest the time!

Author's Bio: 

Pat Brill is the author of the blog “Managing Employees” (, “The Secrets of a Successful Time Manager” ( and “Manager’s Guide to Performance Improvement.” ( You can reach Pat at