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Accuracy of remote job descriptions key to success

Search Remotely Accurate Remote Job Descriptions

Job candidates prefer to apply to remote and hybrid jobs at a rate of seven to one according to a  CNBC article .

False remote job descriptions and scammers

Because of this preference, the practice of bait and switch has become routine among scammers. For instance,  the Wall Street Journal, reported “a lot of positions are billed in job postings as remote, but some come with more ties to the office than suggested.”

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This article serves to inform the remote job seeker on the key elements of a job description. It also serves to guide remote first employers and small businesses on the risk inherent of inaccurate job descriptions.  A fully transparent job description outline the role, responsibilities and level of accountability for workers working virtually and working from home. An accurate job description is crucial for both the individual employee and the employing organization.

Remote job description elements

What is typically contained in a job description? The law firm, Cipriani & Werner, advises that the best remote job descriptions include the following:

  • Job title,
  • job classification (exempt or nonexempt and may provide a code to denote the hierarchical rank of the job in comparison to other jobs within the company),
  • Job category, (the ISCO-08 divides jobs into 10 major groups: such as manager, professional, technical, clerical support, service, agricultural, trade, machine operators, elementary, and military),
  • Job duties and tasks,
  • Job qualifications (the person filling the position is required to meet the qualifications of the job that includes experience, skills, or attributes),
  • Physical requirements,
  • Job location and an indication whether on-site attendance is an essential function of the job,
  • Travel requirements, and
  • Working hours.

Inaccurate job descriptions lead to high turnover

Why are accurate job descriptions important? Failure to accurately describe a job can lead to high rates of employee attrition. In 2019, prior to the pandemic, a study summarized in Forbes found:

  • More than one-quarter of employees indicated that they did not receive enough critical information about the job requirements before accepting a job offer,
  • Only 40% of responding employees reported that their job duties accurately reflects how the job was described during the interview process,
  • 64% of new hires indicated they would likely leave their jobs because the requirements of the job was not accurately communicated in the job description nor elaborated upon during interviewing.

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One may think employee attrition is no big deal right?  Employees come and go. Its all ‘sales talk‘ in the end.  Research by the Society of Human Resource Management have found that the costs associated with employee turnover and attrition can amount to about 50% to 60% of a departing employee’s salary. So, not only are employers concerned about attrition, they may also be concerned about other risks. Imprecise job descriptions can pose great risks to the employer.

Risks associated with faulty job descriptions

Industrial Safety and Hygiene News writes, poorly written job descriptions can expose employers to unnecessary risk.  Three areas presenting considerable risk could be:

  • Hiring. Highly specific job descriptions allow potential candidates to self select which job vacancy for which they are best suited. They help the applicant understand what they can expect from the employer on day one and what is expected of them
  • Employment law compliance. Federal, state laws and regulations surrounding employment often have implications for job duties, functions, and requirements for each job. When there is an issue, the court system refers back to these characteristics of the job to determine which side (the complainant or the respondent) has errored. Poorly written job descriptions open the door for risk.
  • Return to work policies. Hastily written job descriptions lacking in accuracy complicate return to work policies.

In light of the heightened candidate interest in securing remote work, employers must review current job descriptions to figure out if any of the elements of the job require uprating. A prudent review may uncover changes needed due to the transformation of the work of work. These changes may have evolved based on the adoption of new remote work policies, new employment and freelancing practices, and the introduction of new functions and added positions.

Tips for writing accurate remote job descriptions

Tips for writing accurate  remote job descriptions

  • Scrutinize all job descriptions to ensure that they include the key elements identified at the beginning of this article,
  • Regularly conduct job analysis to identify and assess (a) actual and (b) theoretical tasks of each job,
  • Shadow employees to record and monitor tasks completed, time taken to complete and identify gaps or additional steps in the process that hasn’t been adequately reflected in the job description,
  • Use real data to modify job description or introduce new job description and associated roles, responsibility and title to meet changing condition,
  • Research industry trends, quality standards and benchmarks, modify the description as needed,
  • Review transformational changes related to remote work and integrate into current job descriptions or introduce new role,  responsibility,  title to meet changes in location,
  • Revise salary, promotion criteria, job requirements, qualifications and essential functions as necessary.

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