Describe and comment on the uses of job description

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The objective of human resource management is to efficiently manage labour in order to achieve the aims of the business. Since labour is an asset of the business, it is very important to manage it efficiently, in order to benefit from the productivity they offer. Human resource management covers a wide range of functions. Without a human resource department in a business, it would be difficult for a business to match the human skills required with the company's persona.

Many people are under the misconception that the job of the human resource department is to hire and fire the workforce. This is a simple and abstract definition; there is more to only hiring and firing of workforce. The human resource department in any business is responsible for recruitment and selection, planning the needs of the workforce of the business, carrying out appraisals of the workers, training them regularly to enhance productivity. The department is also responsible for determining appropriate wages for the workers of the business. The managers in the human resource department have to continuously monitor their workforce and measure their performance. The department is also responsible for disciplining staff and dismissing employees and making contracts for their workers employment (Jackson, Schuler & Werner, 2008).

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Out of the many functions that the human resource management performs, the most important is the recruitment and selection of employees. The HR is responsible for hiring employees with the correct skills to work for the organization. The importance of hiring the correct type of employee is that, if an employee with inappropriate skills is hired for the business, it costs the business in terms of time, money, output and good customer service. That is why the recruitment and selection process requires rational decision making. Not choosing the right candidate for the job will result in poor performance but will also cost the company in the longer run.

As said before, the process of recruitment and selection of workers is a lengthy one. In order to hire a worker, the human resource department first has to analyse whether there is a need for the worker in the business or whether the business can do without a worker employed on that post. Once the department decides that a worker is needed to fill the position, the department draws up a job description and person specification. . The short listing of candidates requires matching the skills of the prospects with the job description. In this essay, we will be analyzing the job description and personnel specification in detail, highlighting its uses and its usefulness to the business (Mader-Clark, 2008).

The job description that a business draws up includes the details and responsibilities related to a job. A job description, in short, summarises the job and what is required from the people who are hired for the job. It typically consists of four parts.

First is the summary of the job. Since most people read the job summary in the beginning, it is important to highlight the description of the job very well in this section.

The functions required to perform are also mentioned in detail.

Further information on the job includes personal specification details like qualifications and experience.

And lastly, other information about the job, such as the working hours, the pay, the travelling that might be required for the job, etc is mentioned.

The contents of a job description are usually laid out in the following manner:

Job title: the role a particular job plays in the organization.

Reporting responsibilities: the immediate reporting authority and at times the subordinate description is also included

Tasks and accountabilities: main activities that are to be performed in the job and what is expected to achieve from the personnel (Tutor2u, 2010).

A job description is not only used for hiring people for the job, but can be used later on, after the worker is hired, to asses and evaluate his/her performance. A job description also specifies where a job is positioned in the organizational structure. Making a job description also gives the human resource department an opportunity to examine the company or the departments of the company (Mader-Clark, 2008).

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There are many benefits of creating a job description. Firstly, the job description is a very helpful tool in the recruitment and selection process as it allows candidates who want to apply for the job, determine whether they will be suitable for the job or not. Only those who find their qualifications or skills appropriate for the job will then apply for it. Besides that, the job description can help its employees understand what is expected from them once they are hired for the job. It serves as a mode of communication between the managers and employees, especially when it comes to what responsibilities the worker has. Job descriptions can also help in the surveillance of employees in matters of discipline and integrity. Job descriptions are also a good way of measuring employee performance, which is also a morale booster for the staff of the company (Mader-Clark 2008).

However it must be understood that a job description cannot help in the recruitment process alone. There are other components of the process, such as interviews, which are crucial when hiring. Furthermore, job descriptions need to be kept up to date with the requirements of the company, otherwise employees with incorrect skills might be hired. Also, it is important to keep the law in consideration when preparing the job description. A wrong job description may lead to legal problems for the company. Therefore it is essential to be careful when preparing a job description.

A personnel specification is also an important part of the recruitment and selection process. With the rapid change in the demand of skills in most organizations, the demand for selecting people has also changed. Organizations are now looking towards getting people not only fitting with the job descriptions but also fitting in with the organizations values, relationship with peers and customers and the environment in which it operates. Therefore, they adopt the competency based approach in choosing individuals (Graduate Recruitment Bureau). This approach requires the breakage of job tasks and skills to competency indicators. For example, a job specification that uses the terms 'flexibility' or 'willingness' might mean different to different people. The authoritative personnel can assess individuals against each competency by using appropriate methods. In this way not only the required skills but behavioural attitudes can also be verified.

It analyses the qualities and the skills that are needed for the job. The personnel specification is drawn up after the job description, because the skills and qualities of the worker needed can only be assessed after assessing the duties and responsibilities of the job. Those applicants who do not fit the personnel specification can be eliminated from the recruitment and selection process (Stimpson 2002).

A personnel specification usually includes the education and qualifications needed for the post, the skills, competencies and knowledge that the worker should possess, and also some personality traits (Cooper 2009).

Similar to the job description, the job specification has the same uses, advantages and disadvantages for the company. It eases out the hiring process, by eliminating candidates who do not match up to the personnel specification provided. It helps in evaluating the candidate, once he/she has been hired for the job. It also helps in showing the progress an employee makes after he/she has been hired for the job, in terms of skills, experience, and personality traits. Not only for the HR department but for the prospective candidate a job specification helps one analyze self competencies and skills to apply for the suitable job.

But the personnel specification has some limitations as well. The other components of the hiring process, such as interviews are important as well. The human resource management has to keep itself updated about the increase in the level of qualifications that people are achieving nowadays, and should design its personnel specification accordingly, making sure that the newer, higher levels of qualifications are asked for from the candidate. Lastly, the personnel specification should not violate the law in any way. It should not promote a negative image of the company by including details which portrays certain discrimination, stereotyping or racism. This can create a lot of legal complications for the company. In order to avoid these complications, the management should draw up the personnel specification carefully.

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The uses of a job description and a personnel specification in the recruitment and selection process are very important. Without these two components in the process, it is very likely that the wrong candidate may be hired for the job, which may cost the company in terms of money, time, sales, productivity and output. The whole process of hiring is important, and no component is more important than the other. Each component of the recruitment and selection process assists in hiring the right worker for the job. The hiring of the right worker for the job saves the business from complications that might have occurred if the wrong worker was chosen for the vacancy (Jackson, Schuler & Werner, 2008).

Every organization must make sure to prepare the exact job descriptions that match the organization's requirements. This not only makes their job a lot easier, but is beneficial for the business in the long term as well, where evaluations and appraisals have to be conducted.