Job Descriptions Overhaul?

Do you remember applying to your first job?  When you graduated and left the familiarity of school and entered the world of work?

I do, I remember reading descriptions and thinking–with my honours degree under my belt and experience working in a restaurant–I am NOT qualified, based on the responsibilities and list of requirements, I won’t get it, its not even worth applying.  Unfortunately, after some recent conversations with professionals who work within colleges and universities, nothing has really changed. Students and new grads don’t respond to jobs if they do not feel confident that they meet the criteria.  They would rather not apply and pursue something they feel confident they will get than deal with the disappointment of rejection.

Having some experience under my belt now, especially in supporting employers hire candidates, I can safely say that what employers need and what is actually advertised can often look very different.

When a job description is written an employer will ask for the perfect candidate, the description becomes a ‘wish list’.  What does the employer have to lose by asking for everything they would like to see on paper and in person?  Put yourself in their shoes, why not ask for everything–you never know–the ‘perfect’ candidate (that checks all the items on the list) might just walk through the door.  Bingo!

The problem is, students and recent graduates are not used to the work world yet, they didn’t get a ‘memo’ about job descriptions and how to interpret them, they just read the ‘wish list’ then more times than not, disqualify themselves because they don’t meet ALL the criteria.

Young people nowadays are technically savvy, they were born with technology in their hands so do we really need to list the computer requirements on entry level roles–I mean, it sounds so old fashioned, almost boring–don’t you think?  Is it time to re-think Job Descriptions for entry level roles?

What’s the worst that could happen if job descriptions were written in a way that left the door open?  I wonder out of the two descriptions below (A or B) which would attract the most talented applicants?  The candidates that could really shake things up and drive innovation, the candidates that could be future leaders?

A: Marketing Coordinator

Join our growing team, the successful candidate will report to the Marketing Manager in a forward thinking and innovative food environment.

  • Ability to work independently
  • Take initiative in a fast-paced small team setting
  • Corporate B2B marketing
  • Project and external vendor management
  • Marketing communications experience in copywriting, events support, public relations, social media and website support
  • Social media execution/management
  • Internal communications (monthly company eNewsletter)
  • Ability to research and write articles for industry publications
  • Keen attention to detail, well-organized, and the ability to multi-task
  • Minimum of 1- 3 years of work experience
  • Able to work in a fast paced, demanding atmosphere
  • 3 year degree/diploma
  • High level of proficiency in Microsoft Office suite, including PowerPoint
  • Ability to work independently and achieve results on time
  • Ability to provide creative input and suggest different ways to communicate marketing messages
  • Must be detail focused, able to multi-task and effectively manage the timely delivery of work against short deadlines
  • Strong communication skills and an ability to take direction well
  • Willingness to learn and contribute
  • Flexible in approach and problem-solving ability
  • Able to embrace challenges with imagination and flair
  • Experience in Food industry (would be an asset)

B: Marketing Department

Are you a new graduate that enjoys working in a team, communicating via social media, with colleagues and presenting your work?  Are you a creative, ‘out of the box’ thinker, looking for the opportunity to generate ideas and contribute to the Marketing team of a forward thinking, innovative food organization focused on changing the way people think about protein based products? If yes, we want to meet you.

Bring your passion for food, outgoing personality and Bachelors in Science degree, and lets see if this could be the place to start your career in food.  Your first responsibility will be to create a title that you are proud to share with others and describes what you do, and why you do it to the world!

Which one sounds more appealing? 

I am not suggesting that detailed descriptions are not necessary for more senior roles (for both the candidate and employers sake to find the right fit) but could you be deterring some excellent grads from applying to your company due to a dated and unimaginative ‘wish list’?

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