#cajobportal Insights #171116 Are your Job Descriptions geared to entice



Setting the context

When we at cajobportal.com interact with clients on positions, here’s a snippet of the conversation

Client starts

“We’re looking for a VP- Internal Audit”

Our reply is “What are you looking for?”

The typical answer is usually, “We need a CA with 10 years’ experience, 5 years in our industry, team leader, strategic thinker, good communications and an MBA is preferred.”

This is all about the person and nothing about what defines success in the role or what the person is expected to deliver once they come on board.

Imagine for a moment, if the conversation progressed like this:

  • Within the first 30 days develop a plan of action that will improve our process manual compliance rate from 85% to 96% and present the plan to the CEO.
  • Within 6 months, identify areas of leakages in revenue and expenditure
  • Within 9 months, develop and begin implementing an EBITDA enhancement program that will improve bottom-line by 125 basis points.

Most companies aren’t even getting close to creating Job Description that really sell a job to new employees

The traditional JD

A recent research study identified the ten biggest mistakes companies make when hiring. The study included over 130 companies ranging in size from Fortune 500 to mid-size privately held organizations, a wide variety of industries, and more than 250 job openings.

Quite contrary to what one may believe, it’s the JD.

Yes, it is this one mistake impacts the whole hiring process, including how candidates are sourced, where to find candidates, compensation, performance management, advertising, position title and what questions should be asked during the interview. Everything seems to go sideways all because most companies fail to properly define the real job.

The traditional job description belies expectations of anyone who wishes that it helps him/her in understanding, measuring and predicting life in your company

Let’s consider for a moment what is on a typical job description:

  • Minimum years of experience
  • Minimum educational expectations
  • Minimum listing of duties, responsibilities, activities and tasks
  • Minimum skills and knowledge
  • Ambiguous definitions of behaviors and personality traits- team player, a good communicator, self-motivated and big thinker.

Most job descriptions describe the least qualified person, not the real job. This often leads to hiring the least qualified.

The harsh reality is, when you define a job in mediocre terms, odds are you will attract and hire mediocre candidates.

How design helps

With a properly worded job description, you’ll benefit from having fewer applicants to consider and more high-quality applicants in the pipeline, allowing you to spend less time on the hiring process

When writing your job description, there are a number of things you can do to make sure your post weeds out the unqualified applicants:

Write with personality.

Write your posting the way you would write about your company. It gives a glimpse into your company’s culture, attracting the right candidates while dissuading the wrong candidates from applying.

Be specific.

You need to be clear about what you’re looking for. Don’t be wishy-washy when it comes to required skills. If you need someone who knows how to do X, just come out and say it.

Be transparent.

Clearly explain what your company is like. Talk about the tools and processes that are in place. If you want remote teammates, say so. If you don’t, make that clear.

Be intentional.

A lot of descriptions list every skill set that could possibly be required. Instead, focus on what is actually needed to do the job. List the skills that will be used often, and let them know that there are skills that may only be used occasionally.


Let us look at real job advertising examples and show you how there’s still a lot of opportunity here.

Is this JD good? What do you think? Would people want to work in an environment that is positioned to entice?

JD-1 – Startup

Job Snob Description.

We are a startup. A Startup supporting startups in hiring superior quality talent.

We help the biggies too… just that we don’t like the way they think about the recruitment function. But Gandhi is Gandhi and we particularly like him smiling from an angle.

Now to the point:

For starts, we are looking for hands-on, non-corporate drooling, grammatically non-erring, English speaking (French, Spanish and Chinese are also welcome) recruiters to join our team.

We don’t have a big team.. we are just three of us and we don’t have a swank office. It’s a 200 sqft office, to be honest. The only hip about the address is ..actually nothing! It’s a nice, cozy and happy place to work with little time for petty politics. Oh yes! We do bitch about people and we are men (last time we checked).

What do we expect from you?

Hell a lot!

·           You have to be good at something in life and call it a passion. For the love of god, it has to be something beyond work (recruitment). (Photography, Travelling, Reading, Fitness, Music, Theatrics, Quizzing, Yoga, Astrology and Drinking) carry more weight. The last one is just filler.

·           Fire! Must have “Only I can close this deal/role” kind of attitude.

·           Greed (is good).

·           Team Player. Must. Absolute must.

·           Willingness to learn.

What can you expect from us?

·       A paltry base salary.

·       Sorry!

·       What?

·       Really?

·       Camaraderie, Fun, Joy of winning together and a fair share should you help us close a deal/position.

Desired experience:

·           Must have survived Atomic explosion OR at least walked across Grand Canyon on a tightrope, twice.

·           Has “time traveled”.

·           If not the above two, a very sharp mind. IT/ Non IT is not a breaker.

Oh did I say, we work only for 4 days a week* (notice the * mark).

JD-2 Tesla

HR Business Partner
Req. ID: 42281
Office Location: NA-US-CA-Fremont
Job Shift: Swing
Job Type: Full time
Our HR team . . . well . . . they are changing the world every day. This is sort of a requirement to working here – if you are not passionate about making things better for our organization, employees and humanity, you will hate it here. If you don’t exude passion, creativity, commitment, and fun, you will not make it. Cool places and disrupting the status quo are not for everyone!

Our team is diverse, to say the least. We have rock stars (Really! One of our team members opened for the Violent Femmes), a war hero that has been on Oprah, a published author, a former college lacrosse coach, world travelers, Super Moms, Super Dads, and more. We like unique people with remarkable talents. Boring people need not apply.

We work hard and play hard and operate as one team. Check your ego at the door. We don’t allow them on the property.  We care about people, growth, excellence and results. We tend to lose sleep over them as this is not easy. Bottom line, we are in search of real people that believe in and deliver the impossible every day.

We are looking for a superstar HRBP to support our swing shift in Manufacturing (M-F, 3:00-11pm PST).


·           Make the impossible possible

·           Be a credible activist for your clients, your team and our mission

·           Don’t be a jerk – we have a “no a**hole rule”

·           Speak “business”, not “HR”. We don’t much like “HR” lingo and some of it is just silly . . . PIP this!

·           Be a leader throughout Tesla – speak up, exert influence to create positive change and manage your boss, when needed  We are all human, except those who are robots

·           Be a trusted business partner and coach to our leaders. Have some popcorn with them on Wednesday afternoons every now and then

·           Understand our business and how what you do helps it accelerate at rocket speeds. Please remember to wear a seatbelt when you do this

·           Be hands-on AND use your head. Serious brainpower required to work in this environment

·           When you think you are done, make it better

·           Run from anyone that believes that traditional HR is a good thing

·           Prove your value every day. Work that doesn’t add value is not valuable

·           Be you! Being someone else all day is just plain exhausting

·           Love change, it happens here at the speed of light . . . maybe faster, but we have been unable to measure it because it is going too damn fast

·           Be proactive, we move too fast to be reactive. Plus, people that are always reacting have a funny look on their face.

·           Love to be challenged . . . no, REALLY CHALLENGED!

·           Recognize others and they will recognize you. Most of us like chocolate

·           Know, learn and keep up-to-date on the HR stuff

·           Learn something new every day. Not doing so is just dumb


·           BA/BS degree (that is a “Bachelor of Science”) or equivalent practical experience

·           4+ years of HR, anti-HR or relevant experience

·           Be able to run a profitable lemonade stand

·           Positivity

·           Proven track record of positively influencing teams and their leaders

·           Ability to connect and engage with all teams at all levels and treat everyone as equal

·           A sense of urgency – if you have it, then you are probably applying to this position right now!

·           Have a killer personality, not the personality of a killer

·           Communicate so everyone can understand what the heck you are trying to say

·           Last but not least, a burning desire to work for the coolest company on the planet and change the world





Summing Up

This posting is effective because it gives a clear indication of the culture applicants should expect — open, experimental, and a little eclectic — while being very clear about what the position entails.

There are people who would be turned off by the tone of the post, but there are others who would get excited and say, “Wow! This is the perfect fit for me!” That should be your goal every time you write a job posting.