Continued Dialog on Storytelling ...


My post last week on the lack of storytelling in job descriptions triggered some interesting email exchanges.

I especially appreciated Greg Morris who curates “What’s Your Story?” sharing a behind-the-scenes look at his son’s recent experiences in pursuing a job out of college. It turns out that Bank of America actually asks job candidates to talk for ten minutes on the topic of their choice not necessarily tied to finance or economics.

As Greg rightly put it, both “frightening and ingenious.”

Several other folks pointed out that Facebook simply suffers from the herd mentality, following the rest of Corporate America in crafting drab job descriptions.

There’s truth to this perspective but again, just because “every” company does it this way doesn’t make it right.

After spending a few hours raking job listings from a cross section of companies, a second trend emerged: Companies defined by an engineering mentality tend to treat all job descriptions with technical personnel in mind.

Even one of the great companies on the planet and the kings of Six Sigma, GE, falls into this trap.

A job description for director of digital publicity for the USA Network serves as exhibit A.

Check out the following phrases with particular attention on the verbs:

“Generate maximum exposure”

O.k., this isn’t horrible but look at the others.

“Service daily media requests”

Sounds like maid service in a Four Seasons training manual.

“Interface regularly with marketing”

Now the techno speak comes out.

Perhaps engineers at mixers ask newly-made friends if they’d like to “interface” at a future date, but the rest of us view interface as a noun typically applied to a computer circuit that links one device with another.

If you want creative thinking and creative skills in a talent (both phrases in the GE job description), bring storytelling to the fore.

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