Why you shouldn't recycle job descriptions when recruiting new staff

When a member of staff hands in their notice and you start thinking about replacing them, it's tempting to dust off the exiter's old job description and use it as a guide to what you're looking for. It seems obvious: this person is going and we need to replace them, so the best way to do that is to bring in a new person to cover all the same duties. However, this approach not only assumes that the job description actually matches your employee's day to day activity (over time, many people find that their job drifts from the original job description), but also that work is being done in the most efficient way. Unclear or incorrect job descriptions can lead to low morale and diminished productivity. When someone leaves, you have an opportunity to check in with the team and make changes that will benefit your business and your employees.

1) Make sure you know what the person leaving actually does

Go through the job description with the exiter (or their line manager) and make sure that you know exactly what they've been doing. Ask them if they have any additional duties that will need to be covered (perhaps they started dropping the post in the post box every day because it was on their way home - that will need to be covered by someone else now).

2) Ask the current team members which of the exiter's tasks they might like to take over

This allows your current employees to have their say and tweak their job to be more enjoyable, while still making sure that the business has what it needs. By going through this process early, you can even give current team members a chance to 'try out' tasks before your current employee leaves so they and you can be confident that they will be able to handle it when they're on their own.

3) Ask the current team members to write down a list of tasks that they really don't like that are part of their job.

Obviously every job will have some tasks that you don't enjoy. But one man's trash is another man's treasure. By looking at the most-hated tasks among the team, you may find that you can assign these tasks to the new person. By doing this during the recruitment phase you are then able to choose candidates who will actually enjoy (or at least not loathe) these tasks. This is a great opportunity to listen to your employees and improve morale.

4) Ask yourself where the company is going

Companies are constantly evolving. Policy and strategy changes to reflect market conditions and new technology. Maybe you can see changes on the horizon that require skills or experience that your team doesn't currently have and a new person may be able to offer.


When you have followed the steps above, you can start to put together a job description. And remember, it doesn't have to be finalised until an offer of employment is made (although it is useful to have one to work from during interviews).

Using Matchitude means that you can see how candidates choose to present themselves without reference to a specific job description and this will give you the opportunity to find candidates who you know are actively searching for the kind of job that you need to fill.

Why you shouldn't recycle job descriptions when recruiting new staff
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