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The Advantages of Broad vs. Generic Job Descriptions

by Neil Kokemuller

A written job description outlines the purpose, duties and qualifications for a given position in a company. It provides the framework for hiring, training, evaluating and promoting employees. A broad description is thorough and covers all of the specific elements of a particular job. This is more beneficial than a generic description that could fit with a similar job title in any company.

Hiring for Fit

A broad description covers all of the core qualities you need of an employee in a given job. This is especially beneficial when posting a job or when screening candidates. Your employees and company culture are keys to competitive advantages. Write a job description that broadly covers what is needed for a given position. A generic description description doesn't serve to distinguish the people you hire from those hired by your competitors.

Evaluating Candidates

A broad description provides better guidance during application screening and setting interviews. Having concrete and broad descriptions of a candidate's qualities enables you to more easily narrow down choices. A generic description makes it difficult to score employees in a way that creates separation during screenings.

Training Advantages

Job descriptions are used to develop training processes. Using a broad description, a company is able to accurately outline training steps related to the specific position. This helps training managers provide better direction to a new employee on the systems, processes, tools and techniques used in the organization. A generic description offers less direction on how to train someone.

Evaluation and Promotion Advantages

Organizations also use job descriptions to evaluate performance. Effective appraisal tools are designed based on common expectations and goals derived from the job description. A broad job description enables your organization to accurately assess the employee's performance as it relates to his role. A generic job description may not tie closely enough to the standards and criteria for a particular company's position.

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