Job Descriptions

JDs a Strategic Tool for TM

Job descriptions (JDs) are the foundation of your integrated talent management (ITM) infrastructure, says consultant Gordon Medlock, but most organizations currently do not link JD content to most of their talent management processes. And that’s a missed opportunity.

Why Is There No Linkage?

Medlock, who is Senior Talent Management Consultant at HRIZONS, offers the following reasons for the lack of linkage during a recent Halogen/BLR webcast:

  • JDs are of poor quality and/or they have outdated content.
  • Managers are overwhelmed at the thought of upgrading hundreds (or thousands) of job descriptions.
  • Companies do not have the enabling technology to manage JDs and upgrades of content.
  • JDs are not viewed as an integral component of ITM strategy.
  • The employer has a silo mentality of job description ownership and management:
  • There is a lack of alignment among key stakeholder groups.
  • JDs are usually “owned” by compensation and legal with a focus on job leveling and pricing of jobs.
  • Other than some coordination with recruitment for job postings, there is limited to no interaction with other talent management areas.
  • Processes for creating, editing, and approving new or revised job descriptions are poorly defined and controlled.
  • Efforts are focused on compliance and not on strategic talent management:
    • JDs are structured to comply with EEO, ADA, FLSA, FMLA, fair hiring and compensation practices, and other industry-specific standards.
    • Protection of the organization against potential employee lawsuits is the primary goal.

Seat at the table? Sit down May 21, 2014, for a free interactive webcast, How to Transform Your Talent Strategy into a Business Strategy. Learn More

Job Descriptions in the New Paradigm

Medlock sees a new paradigm for HR in which job descriptions are a central element:


  • Populate external job postings from system‐generated JDs.
  • Communicate job details to candidates.
  • Structure knock‐out questions to narrow candidate pool.
  • Create interview questions based on job description content.


  • Communicate job expectations.
  • Enable employee buy‐in and acknowledgement of JD.
  • Structure onboarding orientation and training.

• Performance Management

  • Performance reviews reflect job description content.

• Career Management

  • Display job progressions and requirements for internal career development.

• Learning and Development

  • Skills and competencies linked to jobs/roles.
  • Required proficiency levels associated with jobs/roles.
  • Links to learning and training programs to focus development planning.

• Succession Planning

  • Analysis of potential successors based on job‐related competencies and skills.
  • Gap analysis of competency and skill assessments related to required proficiency levels for the job/role.

• Workforce Planning and Deployment

  • Position management, including number of required positions, by area and related skill and competency requirements.
  • Analyze employee skill and competency proficiency levels and experience in relation to position requirements.

Is your HR strategy a real business strategy?. Join us for a free May 21 interactive webcast on How to Transform Your Talent Strategy into a Business Strategy . Earn 1 hour in HRCI Recertification Credit. Register Now

In tomorrow’s Advisor, more of Medlock’s tips plus we announce that Medlock will lead a timely webcast on putting the new paradigm into action.