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Here's What a Job Description That Doesn't Suck Looks Like...

Let's face it.  Most of our job descriptions are weak.  No, check that, they suck.  It's taken me 18 months of blogging to get past my HR properness and place the word "suck" in a job title, and I can't think of a better target for this coming out party than the normal corporate job description.

I'm a rebel.

Born of parents who abandoned it on the mountainside, the job description is generally created with a Job_descriptioncorporate template in mind, then passed around from HR to the operators and folks who actually manage the position for adds and edits, then passed back to HR.  If you really live on the death star, maybe your legal department and workers comp people (shudder) get a crack at it too.  You know, you can never be too careful...

Guess who doesn't get a crack at the job description, but should?  The marketing department.  The folks who get paid to generate leads and sell should be in the process, if only to challenge the chronic staleness that is the job description.

Every once in a while I see a job description that inspires me to overhaul what we do.  The latest comes from's Dennis Smith, who's shopping for a big hitter in the wireless industry via the following job description:

"Does this look like your Performance Appraisal for the first half of 2008?

Performance Appraisal: Allison "Sales Guru" Smith - 2008

* Obliterate Sales Quota and Set New Sales Record: Exceeded Expectations

* Achieve 100% Account Penetration in Tier 1 and Tier 2 GSM Mobile Operators : Exceeded Expectations

* Blow Away Competition Due to Expertise in Wireless Network Optimization Software: Exceed Expectations

* Become Most Recognized Sales Leader in the Known World: Failed to Achieve Expectations
(but only because you weren't working for us).

We can help you change that last one. But not until you decide that you're ready for the fame and fortune that goes with being the Sales Director whose solutions revolutionize the customers ROI (that's what happens when the wireless networks are optimized efficiently), and they save billions (okay, maybe millions) of dollars. All because of you. Well, us too. But we'll give you all the credit.

We're ready to talk. Put us on your calendar. Start by sending an email to:

Tell me, in one paragraph, your most significant accomplishment of 2008.

If it's cool enough, I just might call you the Queen (or King) of the Known Sales World.

I'm waiting. But not for long."

Dennis, that's money.  Thanks for inspiring me.  I gotta get off my can and start getting more brand differentiation from the job description.  Everyone else should too.


HR in SD

The question seems to me to be: Are job descriptions and job ads the same thing? And how do you not use one when you really need the other.

I've seen too many things written as job ads that, similar to your example, ARE the entire job description, i.e "Looking for upbeat detail oriented people willing to do what it takes to meet business goals, yadda yadda yadda". I assume the companies who use this style feel it makes them seem dynamic or full of opportunity, but it usually only tells me they dont have the HR structure (or the time) to sit down and define performance (or at least job tasks as a proxy).

Sadly, Chris shows us what we know, that the other extreme is a form of JD document which serve only ADA concerns at best, and recruting needs secondary (if you are lucky), and performance and learning hardly at all. So lets just agree that one document isnt collectively going to make everyone happy and stop using one document for all purposes.

Maybe Lou Adler's idea of 'performance profiles' is the closest we can get.

Thanks for keeping us thinking.

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