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Software Job Descriptions

How to Build Smart Job Descriptions

By Jon Spratt on April, 22 2019
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Jon Spratt

As a busy HR professional, think about all the technology you use every day that was unfathomable not so long ago.

Time to read: Approx. 6 minutes

Jump to:
What is a Smart Job Description?
Incorporating Technology to Map Skills & Behaviors
Working Smarter
Powering the Employee Lifecycle
How to Get Started?


The world of work has changed.

You post jobs online; track and analyze candidates with AI; measure the pulse of your organization; provide real-time feedback to employees – all in a bid to be more productive, strategic and stay ahead of the huge demands on your shoulders.

But here’s something to think about: what’s the one thing that you work on for every job and employee, but you’re probably doing the same way your company did it 20 years ago? Job descriptions.


The Sad State of Job Descriptions Today

Even within HR, a lot of people throw around the terms “job descriptions” and “job posts” interchangeably, because job descriptions are seen merely as a document to advertise open positions.

But in many organizations, once the job is advertised and candidates are sourced, there’s no connection between the job description and the questions that candidates get asked on interviews.

Post-interview, the job description you worked so hard on is stuffed into a filing cabinet until the next rushed request comes barrelling towards you.

Bottom line: In many companies, job descriptions are isolated documents, created through antiquated processes, that bear no impact on an employee after they’ve gone through the hiring process. 

But there’s a smarter way to build job descriptions, and use them as a tool that fosters better HR programs… instead of a necessary, time-crunched nuisance.

Consider the following:

  • You’re already using technology for almost everything you do.
  • You want to spend your time strategically, so you have the freedom to work on projects that make a lasting impact.
  • You’re looking to build better processes for your company and get the recognition that you deserve for doing so.

Given all that, isn't it time to re-think on how you’re doing your job descriptions?

A new wave of forward-thinking organizations think so. That’s why they’re turning to Smart Job Descriptions.

Smart Job Description Logo



What is a Smart Job Description?

A Smart Job Description is the evolution of a traditional job description – which, let’s face it, hasn’t really changed with the times until now.

There are 3 main components that turn a regular old job description into a Smart Job Description:


1. Smart Job Descriptions Incorporate Technology to Map Skills & Behaviors to Jobs

Think about a traditional job description and what’s on it. You’ve got some notes about the company, what the role generally entails, some regular tasks, and things like required education and experience.

What’s missing?

The demonstrated, measurable skills and behaviors that someone needs to have to excel in the role.

These skills and behaviors actually have a name: competencies. [see an example competency]

Competencies are built through extensive job analysis, research and a structured development process. They consist of leveled indicators to differentiate between basic, intermediate and advanced performance.

Why are the smartest companies using them?

Because competencies unify all HR processes across the entire employee lifecycle according to one common, measurable framework. And they’re an extremely valuable tool to align employees with the organization and their specific role.


Mapping Skills & Behaviors the Modern Way

In the past, the intensiveness of the competency profiling process -- that is, identifying the relevant competencies for a job and mapping them at the appropriate level – has been a barrier for some organizations.

Here’s where Smart Job Descriptions shine. In HRSG’s CompetencyCore job description software, the technology does all the work for you. The advanced, embedded AI suggests the top competencies associated with the job description.

It’s finally possible to map and verify the competencies in minutes, rather than months… and most importantly, reap the rewards of a unified HR system to grow, shape and inspire the people who drive your organization forward.

[ Try it out today: Get our free Competency Toolkit for access to our Suggested AI Competencies tool: plug in any job description, and see the top 5 competencies associated with it (without levels.) ]


2. Smart Job Descriptions Allow You to Work Smarter, Saving Time and Energy in the Long Run

What does your typical process look like for creating and getting input on job descriptions?

If you’re like most, you might spend time cobbling together bits and pieces from various existing documents or examples you can find on the internet. You email back and forth with a couple of managers. You finish a draft, send it off for approval, and the first manager sends back the doc with notes and comments. You work them in and send it to the hiring manager for sign-off before getting it out.

The hiring manager is super busy too, so it takes several days for them to read it and offer comments. They finally do, so you make the edits.

By this point you’re on (at least) version 3 of the document. It’s ready to go! Until the other manager weighs in via email with their feedback on version 1 – and they’ve got lots of it.

It’s exhausting. And all that work for a document that’s never going to be used again.


The Smarter Way to Manage Job Descriptions

Everybody wants to spend their time at work intelligently.

Smart job description technology puts the tools in your hands to do so.

We’ve already talked about mapping the desired skills and behaviors to your job descriptions with the click of a mouse.

Beyond that, smart job description technology (only available in CompetencyCore) completely simplifies your job description creation and management process, and adds value in the long run.

CompetencyCore creates a system of interconnected and reusable data, called libraries. So your competencies, for example, are library items, but so are things like responsibilities, education and certifications. Once you’ve set things up, being able to draw on these connected pieces of data save so much time and energy in creating your job description drafts, and help standardize your entire organization’s job descriptions.

With the job description draft set up, dispatch it within the system to your key stakeholders for input and validation. They spend a few minutes going through it and marking whether they agree or disagree with the individual items. If you’re not on the same page, their feedback is captured on the job description – again, all within the system.

This way, you capture everyone’s input, all in one place.

Everyone’s using the same platform. Everything is easy to validate.

With your final version ready to go, you can export your job description to create your job post, and even better, it’s ready to use to support other HR practices.

Smart, right?




3. Smart Job Descriptions Can Power Your Entire Employee Lifecycle.

What if a job description were more than just a job description?

What if it became a tool to actually help you, help your people, and help your organization?

Mapping skills and behaviors (competencies) to your job descriptions opens up a new world of possibilities for your job descriptions and HR programs.

And having tools that enable you to actually use job descriptions for something other than job post makes that investment in upfront time pay-off in the long run.

With Smart Job Descriptions, you can:

  1. Bring real structure to your hiring and selection process. Carry out structured, behavioral interviews, using the “STAR” method (asking the candidate to describe the situation, task, action, and result) to assess candidate-job fit.

    Because the interview is based directly on the required skills and behaviors, it keeps interviews more objective and planted in reality. Most importantly, hiring decisions are made based on consistent and standardized criteria.
  2. Set expectations from day one. Once your new hire is onboard, have them sign off on their job description in CompetencyCore, so there’s a recorded, clear understanding of expectations on all sides.
  3. Perform regular assessments throughout an employees’ tenure. Later on in the employee’s career, HR or department managers can carry out assessments — again, all linked back to that original job description and those competencies required based on the role. This may take the form of self-assessment, supervisor assessment, or the ever-popular 360 assessment, often used in leadership roles.
  4. Map and assign learning resources to continue employees’ development programs. If gaps are identified, the organization can provide employees with learning resources pre-mapped to competencies to develop and strengthen those gaps.
  5. Allow your people to build career paths. One of the most powerful motivators to keep top employees engaged is opportunities for growth.

    With your competencies mapped to every job, there’s total transparency on exactly what skills and behaviors, at what levels, your people need to demonstrate in order to take their next step (or even reach their dream job). 

CompetencyCore by HRSG empowers you, the busy HR professional, to put these programs into place at your organization with the confidence that you’re setting things up the smart way.


Where Do You Begin?

There’s only one way to build Smart Job Descriptions, and that’s with HRSG’s CompetencyCore (job description software). CompetencyCore incorporates our leading Smart JD Technology to help you elevate your process and empower your people.

Are you looking for the right job description builder? Get help with this big decision by downloading our Buyer’s Guide to Job Description Software (click the button below). 

Read it now →


Learn More About Job Descriptions: 

Post last updated: January 6, 2021