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I am a M.A. in industrial/organizational psychology. Most of my experience has been in human resources and change management. My passion lies in employee assessment, organizational development and employee opinions. Website: www.IanMondrow.com LinkedIn Profile: http://linkd.in/drBYoC

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Managing the Inner Contractions of Job Descriptions: A Technique for Recruitment

Summary and commentary by: Ian Mondrow, M.A. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology

A job description is a document composes of several sections, including: job title, supervisor title, job responsibilities, and qualifications for hiring. This single document is sole resource for many organizational operations such as recruitment, performance review, training/development, organizational structure, and more. However, Stybel (2010) claims that job descriptions are merely intended for audiences within the organization. However, issues occur because job descriptions are also used for external and internal job postings. Such that, job descriptions are written to be "public" friendly and do not always obtain the most accurate information needed for the internal operations.

Stybel and Peabody (2007, as cited by Stybel, 2010) introduced a new section into the job description called the "Leadership Mandate". This new section communicates how an individual advances within the company's strategic plans. They now use 2 documents when conducting a candidate search: (1) a job description for the general public to attract candidates in applying and (2) a leadership mandate which is given to final candidates. Stybel (2010) claims that creating these two documents protects the company against fraud charges.

The leadership mandate is merely another section of the job description that is limited to specific audiences. This new section defines what changes the company expects within the 90-120 days, what responsibilities are considered critical/time-sensitive, which responsibilities are to be placed on the back-burner (not address immediately) for the next 4 months, what is to be avoided at all costs in the upcoming 90-120 days.

This article does emphasize the importance of job descriptions for both internal and external purposes. It provides the foundation on what tasks a specific job is responsible and what is considered successful in finishing this work. Every job within an organization should have a description. Using the same job for multiple positions produces a variety of risks for a company including: employee turnover [since the job was not what they thought], adverse impact [success factors are not consistent], inadequate opportunities for growth [because there is no defined career path], and more. Therefore, this articles emphasis on the value of job descriptions is extremely beneficial.

To be blunt, this idea of creating two documents is crap. While the notion of the leadership mandate and its content are good, the fact is that the information is not static. In January, the leadership mandate could be entirely different from the leadership mandate in May. Change occurs every day in an organization and therefore, creating such a document can be time-consuming and counter productive. Finally, creating such a document does not prevent fraud as a job description should include all responsibilities expected in a position.

On the contrary, it is the responsibility of the recruiter and the hiring manager to clearly communicate this content to candidates (which is emphasized more in the article title than article text). Creating a leadership mandate would be more beneficial to remind managers of what candidates need to be informed about. A leadership mandate is more suitable as a tool to help managers and not as a formal HR document.

It is crucial to emphasize the value of communicating the leadership mandate information to all job finalists. It will give them an accurate portrayal of what to expect in the months to come. This will reduce turnover and increase job satisfaction as the hired employee(s) will not be caught off guard. As HR professionals, we strive to ensure that applicants are satisfied in their jobs. This is one way to prevent any unexpected disappointments or dissatisfaction.

Stylbel, L.J. (2010). Managing the inner contradictions of job descriptions:a technique for use in recruitment. The Psychologist-Manager Journal, 13, 105-110.

** I am not a lawyer or legal professional and therefore it is important to be aware of all state and Federal laws before considering implementation of any content read in this posting. I hold no liability for your actions. 

1 comment:

  1. Best info dude, i was looking for keep up this fabulous article. Thanks a lot.

    Job Descriptions