Job Descriptions- tell it like it really is...

Recently, I sat across from a client who was getting ready to retire and embark on the next chapter of their life. They were excited, nervous, anxious and all of the other feelings that accompany a huge life change. But as I peeled away the layers of what their role has entailed over the past 30 years and how we can best ‘off ramp’ their knowledge for their company prior to them leaving, a common disconnect emerged. What they actually did on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly basis didn’t match what had been listed as their job description on the vacancy posting. 

Employers- this is not a one off. Without question, you would find the same level of mis-match if you were to gather the day to day actions of the majority of your employees and lay it side by side with their job description on paper. The job descriptions that all companies use to attract, source and hire new talent are often broken.

As an example, here is a line from a job posting I pulled just this morning, “Designs, implements and supports the adoption of new processes that are both financial and operational in nature to increase efficiency and compliance while maximizing the highest level of quality.” 

What is the risk of simplifying these postings? 

How about this, “Create business plans for new programs and brings them to life. Track success using our companies success measures.” 

I promise you, if you want to ensure this applicant understands that these plans must increase efficiency and be financial in nature, you can do so in the interview. However, I would argue, any applicant with the background you would be looking for already knows that. 

As someone who interacts with countless people who are employed, unemployed, on a career break, retiring or changing industries, I promise you are not doing yourself any favors by not simply and accurately explaining what the role is that you are hiring for.

I believe that without question, if we more accurately match people’s intrinsic strengths, the things that they are naturally good at, with their daily work then amazing things can happen. 

The broken job description is just one piece of a much larger puzzle to helping reverse the active disengagement of more than half of US workers and in my approximation, an easy fix that can start today.