Job classification is a crucial part of the hiring process, and one that plays into hiring qualified employees, setting pay rates, and organizing company structure. However, job classification is also an area where mistakes are easy to make – simply because defining roles is often difficult. In many organizations, even existing employees may not be entirely certain of their job role or classification, because their tasks often cover a broad range of responsibilities and job roles evolve over time.

By defining job roles and classifying jobs correctly, you can streamline the hiring process, ensure that candidates fully aware of the responsibilities in the role, and can streamline organizational and pay structure.

Job classification objectively defines and evaluates the responsibilities, authority, tasks, and other details of a role and it is important that you do so correctly before moving into the hiring process.

How are jobs misclassified?

Most organizations have several jobs with overlapping responsibilities, who might work in several teams, and who might support several functions. For example, in a communications team, someone offering web development support might fit into both IT and Communications – misclassifying the job would limit hiring opportunities by confusing applicants or drawing unqualified individuals.

Similarly, misclassifying jobs as exempt or non-exempt (such as listing a contractor role as a full-time position) can be misleading to candidates.

Finally, many job roles change over time, taking on new responsibilities and losing old ones. As a role changes, the responsibilities and classification should change. If an employee took on more responsibilities than when they first started, the role must be updated accordingly. Similarly, if parts of a role were made obsolete by changing technologies – the role should be updated and reclassified.

Reviewing and classifying jobs correctly

Most job classification systems evaluate the components in a role to determine its classification and relative value comparable to other similar roles. This means that work components and responsibilities are measured and matched across the organization, or based on standards for the job – to help identify or define tasks, hierarchy, and salary grade.

In some cases, roles will overlap with two or more classifications. The majority rule suggests that you should classify the role according to where the majority of the job’s responsibilities lie. So, if a job is 40% in one classification and 60% in another, you should classify according to the majority – but use the job description to call out broader responsibilities when hiring.

Creating a broad job classification system allows you to list jobs in search, attract qualified and relevant candidates, and makes organizational structure inside of the company easier.

About the Author: Jocelyn Pick