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Job Descriptions

Who Usually Leads Your Organization’s Job Description Creation Process?

By Onyeka Ndukwe on September, 11 2020
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Onyeka Ndukwe

Scenario: A new department is being created at your workplace and this requires a number of brand-new job descriptions.  

A question then arises from your boss: Who exactly is responsible for leading the job description creation process in our organization?

It is important to identify this individual as their perspective, experience or planning with regard to job descriptions will have an impact on your job description creation process.

This short post will discuss one of the key insights obtained from various HR professionals in North America and across the world about who usually leads this creation process in an organization.


Who Leads Your Job Description Creation Process? 

In July of this year, HRSG launched its annual State of Job Descriptions survey to get a better idea of exactly what obstacles exist between your HR team and a superb job description process.  

One of the questions on our survey asked respondents was who leads the job description creation process in your organization?  

Below is the breakdown of the survey data from HRSG's State of Job Descriptions 2020 Survey based on the question above. 

survey data on who leads the job description process

According to our results:
  • Approximately 41% (43 respondents) of the HR professionals who participated in our survey indicated that it is a HR professional that leads their job description creation process 
  • About 36% (38 respondents) said that they rely on equal collaboration between a HR professional and a hiring manager for their job description creation process.  
  • 20% (21 respondents) mentioned that it is a departmental/hiring manager that leads their job description creation process. 
  • Only 3% (4 respondents) mention a different option besides the ones stated for this question
    • Evaluation Department (1 respondent)  
    • Administrator (1 respondent) 
    • CEO (1 respondent) 
    • HR Consultant (1 respondent) 

These results reveal that a sizable amount of organizations leave the direction of their job description creation process to a HR professional or a hiring manager (on either end of the spectrum). This can be based on several factors including experience, HR training and the time-sensitive nature of a company’s job description project. 

An advantage to having either a HR professional or a hiring manager in charge of your job description creation process is the resource savings for the organization. Having only one employee engaged on a job description project can free up others for other vital work.  

The major disadvantage to this is that the execution of your job description project is limited to the viewpoint of the selected employee. Although there are various commonalities between job positions, the individuals in those roles tend to view things from different perspectives.  

Ex. A HR professional might view the importance of a job description from a macro level (I.e. role that job description plays in the lifecycle of employee) but could miss the finer details at a micro level (I.e. specific job responsibilities and competencies known to those in that job field). A hiring manager might view the importance of a job description from a micro level but miss the bigger picture at a macro level. 

The ideal stance should be equal collaboration between a HR professional and a hiring manager during this process. This allows an organization to get the best of both worlds in terms of a macro or micro view regarding its job description process.  

More than 30% of our survey respondents mentioned that they rely on equal collaboration between a HR professional and a hiring manager for their job description creation process.

Collaboration can help foster more internal teamwork and ensure you have both the macro and micro in mind when creating future job descriptions. To quote the great words of C.S. Lewis: “Two heads are better than one!”  

Learn Why It’s Important to Have Collaborative Job Descriptions (blog post) 

How to Determine Who Should Lead Your Job Description Creation Process

An organization should have the right criteria to determine which employee(s) lead their job description creation process. Staff size or resource constraints can also affect this selection (I.e. employee who takes on multiple positions at the same time).

Below are 3 things that should be factored into your selection process:


1. Relevance  

By relevance, this is referring to the connection between the project (I.e. job description project) and working knowledge of the employee tasked with its completion.  

Ex. A HR professional or a hiring manager would have more relevance for a job description project than a secretary or administrative assistant. 

This is important as placing the wrong employee in charge of your job description creation process could lead to inadequate results or a poorly designed system.  

Ex. If you hand over your job description creation process to your administrative assistant, it may yield a well-drafted document but lack important specifics related to the required competencies or plans for the new hire (beyond the onboarding process).  

2. Specialized Training 

Does the individual have specialized training related to job description management? This is not referring to a single course taken in pursuit of a diploma or degree at a post-secondary institution.  

Proper training on job description management should include practical tips that can be used at work, strategies on using job descriptions within the talent lifecycle of an employee and real-world practice with creating quality job descriptions.  

If none of your employees have this, it might be worth adding to your organization’s employee development plan.  

Let your pro-activeness and excellence speak for your company.  It can yield great dividends in the future.  


3. Involvement in Employee Development Plans 

Is the selected employee directly involved in creating employee development plans at your organization?

A job description is for more than hiring your next employee. If designed correctly, it can become a living document to help with the future development of your new hire. In addition, the right job description can also be used by employees to map their internal career path or understand how their competencies and skills align with those of the target jobs along that path.

Having the selected employee involved in this area will help ensure that any data obtained via a properly created job description can be integrated into future employee development plans.


View the 2020 State of Job Descriptions Report

Our complete report contains a wide range of insights from 100+ HR professionals about their job description process. Click here to view the job description survey results -- no sign-in required!


Learn More About Job Descriptions: 

Post last updated: January 6, 2021