Maybe Your Job Descriptions Are The Problem | No BS Hiring Advice

If you aren’t meeting with the talent you want, maybe your job descriptions are the problem. Here, I discuss two specific circumstances

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The title of this is, "Maybe Your Job Descriptions Are the Problem."
Fundamentally, job descriptions are a good thing. They're designed to target in on exactly what you need. But here's two problems I'm going to cover today. The first one is how most organizations construct their job descriptions. Let me talk with you about a typical example for some of the clients I used to work with in recruiting. It took me years to figure this one out. But here goes, Okay.
You're a hiring manager. Jeff just gave notice, and you have to get a replacement. So you call over to HR, and you say, "Hi, this is (whatever your name is). Jeff just gave his notice. Do you have the job description that we used to hire him? Let's get that out to our vendors. Let's get them out to the agencies and could you get an ad up for me?"
In other words, you haven't done anything to tweak it to deal with the new realities. After all, when Jeff got hired, your needs are probably different than what they are now. It's why I tell job hunters, most descriptions are 80% accurate. And that's I think, being generous. They may have some things right. But so many people walk out of interviews, and there's even a disconnect between HR and the hiring manager because HR isn't even told what the difference is.
So, you've got to get your job descriptions up to snuff and not just simply work with the one that was previously approved. You need to make some edits to it in order to make it more accurate, and, thus, you'll be able to speed up your process quite a bit.
Here's a second one. I'm just going to quote from something. I listened to a podcast and it was about the impact of a narrow job description and how our job descriptions make you screen out innovators.
They have jumped around disciplines; they have some gaps in their resume. Hobbies, you look at as a diversion. They need to learn across domains, and learn to tinker. Don't make that pipelines too narrow, or else you screen out people with the highest potential for contribution, because they're coming from places you can't see.
Broaden your pipeline to get people from a greater diversity of paths and allow more paths to entry. In other words, folks, when you have a linear job description, and you're not looking at the whole person, you get the modern equivalent of a clerk . . . and if that's what you want, if that's what the need of the job is, completely repetitive tasks, this is perfect. But most jobs I was involved with recruiting for involve both thinking and discretion.
If you hire a homogeneous group of clerks, you get homogeneous clerk thinking. If you want to bring in some new thought, this may be an indication as to why your job descriptions aren't attracting the people that you really want.
Then, there's the issue of interviewing, which is a whole different subject that I've covered in a million different ways. For today, just take a look at your job descriptions. Number one, check them for real accuracy and, number two, think in terms of whether they're so narrow, that you're not looking at people with minds who can actually think and think differently than you and, thus be able to attack some of your blind spots in support of what the goal is.


Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for more than 40 years. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1500 episodes and his newest show, “No BS Coaching Advice.” He is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council. “No BS JobSearch Advice Radio” was recently named a Top 10 podcast for job search. was also recently named a Top 10 YouTube channel for job search.

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