The importance of Job Descriptions

Whether employer or candidate, you may have recruitment questions you need answered by an expert. You can e-mail your questions to expert@eliteagent.com (you can remain anonymous) and Sharon will respond to them in the next issue.

Why is it important to have specific job descriptions for each role?
We are always surprised by how many companies don’t have formal job descriptions available when they are commencing their recruitment drive. It’s like having a goal but no plan of how to get there – how do you know exactly what you are looking for? Furthermore, it means that you are leaving it up to your staff to negotiate between themselves what duties they want to be doing and makes it extremely difficult to evaluate performance when it comes time for reviews. Writing a good job description is key to successful recruitment, management and retention.

A concise, well written job description is essential for the following reasons:

  1. It is important that you know what you are looking for.
  2. It defines the functions of a role – allows for structural and organisational planning.
  3. It reduces room for misinterpretation by internal or external parties when sourcing staff.
  4. It clarifies expectations – for new entrants into an organisation to be well informed and those in their team.
  5. It enables measurement of job performance and reviews.
  6. It highlights areas for training and development.
  7. It helps in establishing legal defensibility in selection criteria and termination for non-performance of tasks (this is a whole other paper and hopefully never required).

It has been noted in recruitment journals that retention rates can be greatly improved by having job descriptions – firstly, in more accurately recruiting at the front end of the process and secondly, in avoiding employees becoming disgruntled and exiting through ambiguity and mismatching expectations.

When should a job description be changed or updated?
Job descriptions should be reviewed regularly. A good trigger point is at review, promotion, or on departure of a staff member from the business. What was the reason for the departure? Was the workload too onerous, were they bored? How could the job description be re-engineered to benefit the department? Have your departmental needs changed? In these cases job descriptions should be objectively reassessed and updated.

Regularly updating your company’s job descriptions can have a two pronged effect:

  1. It ensures that employees are aware of their responsibilities within your company.
  2. It can also highlight to you, as the operator, growth opportunities within the business if an employee has outgrown their initial job description, and that maybe additional staff are required to take over extra responsibilities, to ensure that your customer base is adequately serviced.

I have ten years of property management experience behind me. What are some roles that you can suggest will keep me in real estate and utilise my skills base, but provide me a new challenge?

This is a question that we get asked frequently and most often by our candidates that have been in the industry six, eight and ten years or more, who are seeking new challenges. We have placed dozens of candidates into roles and suggest the following steps:

You will need to look at what you have done and isolate the aspects of your previous roles that you have enjoyed the most i.e. did you enjoy being out of the office, gaining new business and leasing? If yes, let’s call this A. Or are you better suited to organisation, systems and liaising with clients over the phone? If yes, let’s call this B.

Where you have previously gained the most joy from a role can be replicated in a parallel role within the industry. For “A’s” you may consider business development roles with companies that service our sector such as insurers, IT providers, media companies, design houses, franchise groups, training organisations or recruiters.

For B’s you may consider Account Management or Co-ordination positions within the above. Alternatively roles such as Office Management might suit you, or perhaps up-skilling to Accounting or finding companies that have special projects that you could manage them through i.e. redoing P&P manuals, implementing their social media strategy, commencing client feedback surveys etc. The options are exciting and extremely varied.

One of the most respected leaders in real estate focused recruitment, Sharon Bennie and her team have built up an impressive and loyal client base, and have shared their expertise and knowledge through franchise and industry conferences. The team love helping businesses grow through strategic recruitment and sourcing strategies.

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Sharon Bennie

Sharon Bennie is the owner of 'sharonbennie' specialist recruitment and headhunting agency focusing specifically on the property and real estate market.