How do I write this politely and with some level of political correctness? Oh, forget about it, I´ll just type what I an thinking — most job descriptions suck. They suck for a few reasons. First, most job descriptions do not describe the most important aspects of the job. If you were write down a paragraph that details the most important and impactful work you do, and if you then compared this to the job description on file in the HR department for your job, would they be the same? Not likely, but they ought to be the same. Here´s another reason I hate most job descriptions, they do not help you find the rock star. Think about the most amazing employee at your company. Do you think that this person´s background and experiences match the job description for his or her job? Most don´t and in fact, some would not even get an interview if the job description were used as the only screening criteria. In other words, job descriptions often do a disservice to the selection process. And finally, job descriptions generally don´t address job fit, or the type of person you are seeking for the role. Bottom line? Doing a job description is not the same as defining criteria for job fit. Answer these questions to determine job fit characteristics:
- What type of person will best be able to have amazing success in this role given the tasks, the team dynamic, the work environment, and the areas of organization dysfunction?
- Think about people who have done this work in the past. What beliefs and behaviors were most successful and which were least successful and why?
- Over the next year, what changes or improvements do you hope to see the person in this role own or lead? What type of person will be most successful at making these changes successfully happen?
- Given the relative strengths and weaknesses of the other team members, what type of person would best help the team get to the next higher level of performance? What skills and experiences does the team need?
- What type of person will best challenge me and help push our department forward?
- Why is the candidate interested in the job and what are his or her career goals? Does this position make sense as the next position in their desired progression? If not, why are they interested and will they stay?
I do a lot of contract recruiting, particularly for management positions. The reasons my clients call me again and again is because they find it difficult to determine fit — or determine when someone is NOT a fit. This is their greater challenge — they often think the person is a great candidate because of their experience and background. The majority of the time, the person is not a fit. Think about this statement, because it´s the way it ought to be. Most people are not a fit for your open jobs. If you think about five businesses in your home city — most of them would not be a great fit for you — even within similar industries. For example, here in Seattle we have two large coffee companies — Starbucks and Tully´s. I have often thought I would like to work with Tully´s, but not Starbucks. Why? I like a scrappy entrepreneurial environment and Tully´s seems to fit that more than Starbucks. I think Starbucks has gotten so big so fast that it might be harder to have an impact (like steering the Titanic).
We all have different work environments that will be a great fit. When we interview candidates, we need have the environment and fit in mind so that we can better select the best person. If you do not take the time to define the criteria for job fit, you will have no way of knowing how well each candidate matches up to what you are looking for.