Flexible job descriptions create an increased hiring approach, according to recent study

apply-for-a-job-400x400Flexible job descriptions create an increased hiring approach in comparison to rigid, fully defined job descriptions, claims the University of College London School of Management.

According to new research released by the school, employers should be moving away from the traditional job descriptions, in favour of instead hiring highly successful people through a minimum job specification and let them adapt into their own roles.

In their research, published in Administrative Science Quarterly, hiring teams were more successful when employees were allowed to pick and choose aspects of the job that were useful; and drop aspects that they either didn’t find useful nor desirable. This approach is already proven to be successful across technology start-ups, advertising, film production and other rapidly advancing industries.

Speaking about the research, Assistant Professor, Vaughn Tan said, “Because we can’t predict the future, companies that need to innovate often have only a partial idea of who they need to hire and what those people need to do.”

“Under these circumstances, it makes no sense to hire people as if we know exactly how their roles should be defined.”

“In the most innovative restaurants, job descriptions are often minimal because things change so quickly and unexpectedly. New people join knowing a large part of their roles are undefined, and they work out how to customise their roles so they’re personally satisfying and useful to the teams they’ve joined.”

Lisa Forrest, Global Head of Internal Talent Acquisition, at global talent acquisition and management firm, Alexander Mann Solutions, said: “This approach to hiring could support the development of a truly diverse workforce and better prepare businesses for the uncertain and highly flexible, digitalised era of work.

“Recruiting high-performing individuals who easily adapt to change will be hugely beneficial in creating a strong, future-proof business. Perhaps more importantly, this approach to employee-led career development will both reduce staff turnover and arguably increase productivity.”


About the author

Alison is the Digital Content Editor for WeAreTheCity. She has a BA Honours degree in Journalism and History from the University of Portsmouth. She has previously worked in the marketing sector and in a copywriting role. Alison’s other passions and hobbies include writing, blogging and travelling.
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