Is a Job Description Always Necessary?

As an IT recruiter, I thrive on the challenge of finding the right candidate for roles that are not defined or have a fluid nature. These roles offer an opportunity to work closely with the hiring manager and other team members to gain a deep understanding of the job's purpose and expectations. It's a chance to think outside the box and identify candidates who might not fit the typical job description but possess the right skills and experience to excel in the role.



One of the biggest advantages of not having a job description is the flexibility it offers. It allows the company to tailor the role to the candidate's strengths, rather than trying to fit a candidate into a predefined job description. This approach can lead to greater job satisfaction, as the candidate feels more aligned with the role's purpose and is better equipped to contribute to the company's success.



Additionally, not having a job description can be a sign of a company that is open to innovation and experimentation. It's an indication that the company is willing to take risks and try new things, which can lead to greater creativity and a more dynamic work environment.



That being said, it's important to note that not having a job description doesn't mean that there are no expectations or responsibilities. It's essential to have a clear understanding of the job's purpose and requirements to ensure that the candidate's skills and experience align with the company's needs. This can be achieved through open communication and ongoing feedback between the candidate and the hiring manager.

To ensure that the purposes and needs of the role are clearly defined, it's important to have open and ongoing communication between the hiring manager, the candidate, and other relevant stakeholders. This can involve discussing the role's purpose, goals, and expectations, as well as any specific skills or experience that are required. It can also involve seeking feedback from the candidate and other team members to ensure that the role is meeting their needs and expectations.


Skills and Experience

In addition to communication, it can be helpful to develop a document that outlines the key responsibilities, expectations, and requirements of the role. This can be used as a reference point for the hiring manager, the candidate, and other team members to ensure that everyone is on the same page.

Another important consideration is to identify the core competencies that the candidate must possess to excel in the role. This can involve developing a list of skills, experiences, and traits that are essential for success in the position. By identifying these competencies, you can better assess the candidate's fit for the role and ensure that they have the necessary skills and experience to excel.


Key Questions

When partnering with a company that does not have a job description, it's important to ask questions that can help you understand the role's purpose and requirements. Some questions that can be helpful to ask include:

  • What is the main objective of the role?
  • What are the key responsibilities and duties of the role?
  • What are the expectations for the candidate in the first few months on the job?
  • What specific skills and experience are required to excel in the role?
  • What are some challenges that the candidate may face in the role?

By asking these questions and seeking input from the hiring manager and other team members, you can gain a better understanding of the role and identify the right candidate for the job.


Case Study

In my recent experience, I partnered with two businesses that did not have a complete job description when they came to me. One of them was looking for a Transformation Programme Manager, and the other was seeking an Implementation and IT Training Manager. In both cases, we had in-depth discussions about the roles and the ideal candidate's background, and I was able to help identify and place the right candidates. The Transformation Programme Manager was responsible for overseeing a significant change initiative within the company, while the Implementation and IT Training Manager was responsible for leading the implementation of a new software system and ensuring that all employees were trained on its use. Both roles required a combination of technical expertise, project management skills, and the ability to work collaboratively with multiple stakeholders. By taking the time to understand the company's needs and expectations for these roles, I was able to successfully place candidates who were well-suited for the positions.

I personally love working with clients on roles without a job description. Understanding my client’s needs, the purpose of the role and where they see it developing. Taking this information to the market and finding candidates that align with what the business is trying to accomplish. I pride myself on my communication skills, ensuring I have a clear understanding of the needs of both parties. Providing these bespoke solutions for my clients is the best part of my role and helps cement strong partnership with the businesses and relationships with the candidate's.


Not all roles will be this in depth, I think it depends on the role and the business. However, I know some recruiters will steer clear of these roles, fearing that the clients don’t know what they want. Helping them work out what they need is part of the process and for me proves how well you listen, listening to needs and the purpose will determine your success.

Posted by: Melanie Davidson