It’s easy to fall victim to the status quo.
After all, if virtually all companies handle something a certain way, then it must be right … right?
The crafting of a job description shouldn’t be deadly dull even if companies have standardized on such an approach.
This got me thinking.
If there’s one large corporation that inserts some “life” into its job descriptions, it’s probably Facebook.
After all, their story is so compelling that Hollywood came calling. Plus, the platform is all about people, personalities and connecting with others, perfect fodder for storytelling.
Unfortunately, that’s not how the Facebook job descriptions play out.
I would characterize them as boilerplate and pedestrian – take your pick – lifted from the Job Descriptions 101 Manual that seems to dominate Corporate HR America.
Here’s how the description for a corporate communications manager kicks off:
Facebook seeks an experienced Corporate Communications Manager to support its global monetization efforts and programs. The successful candidate has strong experience in developing and executing high-profile communications initiatives, is an excellent writer, and has knowledge and interest in the concepts and technologies for online and interactive advertising. This is a full-time position based in our main office in Palo Alto, CA.
Now there’s a phrase that sets the heart of a communication professional racing –
“… to support its global monetization efforts and programs.”
And what’s with the cold verb “seek”?
I’m guessing that 90+ percent of companies use the verb “seek” in their job descriptions which doesn’t exactly humanize the communication or differentiate the gig. From there, the Facebook job description erodes into the standard bullets that could be used by any XYZ company.
Lest I come across as picking on Facebook, I know our own job descriptions would also benefit from a human touch.
To see how a job description crafted the right way can trigger an emotional connection with candidates, check out the Duarte copy for a content developer starting with the initial graph:
Are you equally visual and verbal? Do you jump to the whiteboard to show people what you’re saying? Do you pride yourself on being equal parts intellectual acrobat and lyrical heavy-lifter who can deliver idea after idea long past the point when everyone else has run dry? Are you a systems thinker who thrives on a deadline? Could you see yourself as a screenwriter? If you have experience in message development, positioning, and speech writing, this may be the position for you.
What a great phrase, “equal parts intellectual acrobat and lyrical heavy-lifter.”Duarte is striving to appeal to a certain personality type.
Then, the job description moves to the “About You,” but not with vanilla bullets.
The wonderful narrative closes with:
You can go “toe-to-toe” at the Director, VP and CXO level, offering fresh perspectives and insights. You are respected for making the complex simple and the invisible visible.
I might have to “borrow” a version of this.
The point is, if you want to attract imaginative, smart and brave talent, your job descriptions should reflect these characteristics.
We’re enthused to be hosting Nancy Duarte at one of our Lunch Bucket sessions on November 17. I’m curious to hear how her consultancy gauges the storytelling expertise of a candidate during the interviewing process.
You can see the Facebook and Duarte job descriptions in their entirety below.
The word to describe job ads these days is ‘obfuscation’. They don’t tell you anything. There used to be a time before recruitment companies (believe it or not). Companies would advertise their own jobs. The job advertisements listed the tasks needing to be done. Clear and simple. Nothing about ‘protecting and enhancing the brand’.
Corporate-speak has become a blight on the English language, reducing it’s clear, ringing tones to one of muffled mediocrity.
It’s time to get back to Plain English, sometimes doodied up as ‘Natural Language’.
Or, as I say to my clients, “Tell your Aunt Mabel”. Do you ‘interface’ with your friends or do you just ‘meet’ them. And when you’re with your friends, do you ‘have dialogue’ or do you just chat and discuss things?
As for ‘monetization’……suddenly we all need to speak like Ben Bernanke?
And what happened to human qualities? A sense of humour? Being nice to be around? Empathy?
I think I’m showing my age…..
Appreciate reading your perspective.
Aside from the “Aunt Mabel” reference, you’re not showing your age.
I agree that simply being conversational improves most company communications including job descriptions.
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