Great Job Descriptions Matter

Laurie Ruettimann Employee Development, Employment Law, HR, HR & Marketing, job postings, Recruiting, Talent Acquisition, Talent Strategy

I black out with rage whenever someone tells me they want TA or recruiting to report to marketing.

While recruiting has both a marketing and sales component, the backbone of hiring is the job description—a compensation, compliance, and technical tool meant to define the knowledge, skills, and abilities required to perform the role. Job descriptions are the infrastructure of a comprehensive people and talent strategy, and job descriptions start in HR.

Sorry, marketing.

Great job descriptions matter, and they start in HR.

You cannot write a job posting, which is a storytelling document used for marketing purposes, without a valid and reliable job description. You cannot interview and assess a candidate’s aptitude without a consistent and valid job description. And you certainly cannot create a fair and equitable offer without a job description.

The job description’s importance doesn’t end there.

Once an individual is hired, you cannot assess performance or potential unless you have a good job description. You cannot do succession planning, mobility analysis or even forced ranking—something companies still do to this day—without job descriptions. And you cannot fire people or lay someone off in a RIF without a process that begins by assessing incumbents against job descriptions.

If the TA or recruiting departments report to the marketing department, there’s a big risk that operational excellence and rigor is compromised. There’s a chance that the delineation between job descriptions and job postings are lost. And in a talent-driven market, we might lose sight of the fact that a fair and consistent process is just as important as people.

Do justice to your applicants, candidates, and employees.

Keep the oversight of your TA and recruiting function in human resources, and make sure they start with strong and sound job descriptions. And please stop confusing job postings with job descriptions.

Job postings make the role sound fun on social media. Job descriptions will save your ass in court. HR knows it, marketing doesn’t. That’s why recruiting should stay in the human resources department.