Is a Written Job Description Important when Working with a Recruiter?

​Like any other kind of briefing, some people are happier writing job descriptions and others prefer to say what’s on their mind at the time. There’s a case to be made that in conversation, the second one is better; you’ll realise some additional must-haves and nice-to-haves just through talking about the role. But can a written job description be important when you’re working with a recruiter?

The argument against is a really simple one; your recruiter will learn the role in more detail during a conversation with you, and they will use that understanding to convey key information to the candidate. Especially with something like the ERP market, where many hires are made by companies that are new to the field, it can be the case that the recruiter speaks the candidates’ jargon where the company does not.

But there is also an argument in favour of a written description, even when your recruitment is run through a recruiter.

Once the placement is made, the candidate becomes part of your team. As part of your team, they’ll be working to your directions – and it’s very likely they will want a job description, so they can be absolutely certain they don’t miss out any key activities.

Written job descriptions do often leave out key information, often because the person writing the description doesn’t realise how vital something will be at the time, or because the intent was for that to fall under someone else’s duties but plans have changed.

The solution to this can be an in-depth verbal briefing in a conversation – and I absolutely think these should take place – but it can also be reviewing your written job description even one more time.

The best way to go about this depends on your relationship with your recruiter and your company culture. I’ve worked with many companies on both sides of this debate, and I don’t think one is automatically better than the other. It depends how you handle it.