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Can Job Descriptions Offer a Simulation of the Real Job?

The job description allows for building a center that is a good simulation of the real job. For promoting self-screening by candidates Not only should organizations attempt to compare candidates for a job, but also candidates should have an opportunity to assess their own compatibility with the organization.

Find out what your next job description can do for your organization.

For determining the desirability of investment in work samples and in-depth tests.
Work samples and various types of physical and mental employment tests can be expensive; they take time to design, administer, and evaluate. Typically work samples cannot be conducted for all tasks in a job description, but the job description can be used to identify high-priority tasks and time-consuming tasks for which work sampling and in-depth testing may pay off. Few tests of employee competence are any more valid than the work sample, so management should use it wherever cost is minimal and often, even when the cost is significant, if the task is critical to the job as shown by the job description.
For designing assessment centers.
Assessment centers are established to allow for time-extended testing of candidates in a variety of task situations relevant to on-the-job performance. By using the job description as a guide, valid experiences for candidates can be established. As such, measurement of performance will be a valid indicator of actual job performance after the candidate is hired.
Hiring is a two-way process with the organization choosing a candidate and the candidate of choice selecting the organization. Often candidates themselves will discover that a good match between them and the organization is not possible. Or they may find that a quality match is highly probable even when the organization does not sense this. Candidate insight into the quality of the match is fostered by handing candidates job descriptions to study. This helps stimulate candidate questions for the prospective employer-questions usually relevant to selection of the right person for the job.
For aiding workforce planning and forecasting.
Management should analyze the entire set of job descriptions in an organization and group them into categories of jobs such that the jobs in each category require workers with similar skills, abilities, knowledge, and traits. Then comparing the needed number of employees in a category with the number of anticipated vacancies in that category during a given time period will give management an idea of the volume of recruits necessary as well as the kinds of sources from which the organization should recruit. Also, classifying jobs in terms of similar requirements (i.e., skills, knowledge, etc.), gives the organization insight into the volume of potential internal applicants for given job openings.
For standardizing resume screening.
How do you compare resumes that are mailed in a variety of forms, styles, and content? How do you evaluate them objectively? Using the job description to assess the information provided by a resume is one solid means for doing this. In studying resumes, the analyst must look for data that tell how well the candidate can do the job and the tasks outlined in the job description.
Irrelevant or non-task-related data can be discarded. Without constant referral to the job description in resume assessment it is easy to be led astray. Resumes often give a lot of impressive data. They seek to dramatize the applicant's case. Guidance provided by a close-at-hand job description helps prevent the analyst from losing touch with the real-world staffing requirement.
For determining the most important person specifications.
Not only can one infer the desired kinds of person specifications by studying the tasks in a job description, but one can also discern the relative importance of different specs-that is, how much to weigh different required skills and abilities in the selection process. This determination of relative importance comes from a review of the indexes of task importance and the task time percentages given in the job description. The kinds of abilities needed for high-priority/high-time-consuming tasks are the kinds of abilities that should be weighed most heavily in comparing candidates.
For preventing tasks from getting best during turnover.
A serious problem in organizations that experience high turnover, particularly in management ranks, is lack of continuity of work effort from one incumbent to the next. Too limited a record of the task endeavors of the previous employee is left for the present employee. This extends start-up time and cost, and causes every new person to have to reinvent the wheel to rediscover the role. Even with fast learners, essential tasks are typically forgotten or neglected. Some things just get lost in the shuffle. Quality job descriptions provide that all-important record to help prevent such problems. They allow for staffing transitions with minimal disruption and mistakes.
For determining suitability for promotion.
Analysis of the job descriptions of job holders gives tremendous insight into their qualifications for advancement to higher level positions. When the job description of a candidate for an upper echelon slot is carefully compared with the job description for the open slot, significant insight can emerge as to the preparedness of the candidate. Comparing the job descriptions of a number of internal candidates vying for one available position tells you how relevant their respective experiences are. Relevance of experience is a valid predictor of performance.
For determining temporary help needs and worker "loan" opportunities.
A quality job description will indicate changes in the kinds and volumes of demands on the incumbent by month, by season, or by some other span of time. During times when demand on the worker is high, it may be prudent to hire temporary help to aid the worker process that extra load. Similarly, when workers face low ebbs in the volume of work they must process, management may wish to have them absorb other job assignments--to help out elsewhere in the organization. The job description gives the analyst a sense of when work overloads and under loads may have to be addressed through adjustments in the workforce applied.
For developing skills inventories one can infer from the job descriptions of incumbents what kinds of skills and talents those incumbents possess.
Lists of these persons and their skills and talents can be inventoried. These inventories can be consulted when management is trying to find a person to take on a special assignment or when management wishes to assemble groups of people with certain abilities to work on special committees, task forces, or project groups. By surveying the skills available and identifying that possesses these skills, management can engineer integrated teams with optimal skill/ability profiles.
For helping candidates prepare for the corporate campaign. In some companies, usually at the higher executive levels, corporate campaigns may be used as a method of facilitating employee selection.
In the corporate campaign internal candidates competing for a certain position have a chance to develop their platforms and to promote themselves for the position. To help candidates do this and to help assure equal opportunity for all candidates, they can be given copies of the job description for the position for which they are campaigning. Possession of the job description will help candidates develop relevant platforms and suggest to them issues to pursue in promoting their candidacies.
See the following articles for more information: