Job descriptions can serve as a litmus test on whether a company gets business storytelling. In other words, are functions other than communications like HR using language to give those on the outside a sense of the company culture and personality?
Here’s the start of the Doodler job description:
It’s tough to miss the irony in the opening sentence.
You would have thought someone in the copy approval chain would notice that starting the narrative with a cliché probably doesn’t make the desired first impression.
And the onslaught of adjectives — “… delighted, informed and surprised …” — would have had my ninth grade English teacher, Mr. Harper, taking chalk to board with his mantra: “Don’t tell me. Show me.”
Still, I’m sure this job description generated an avalanche of resumes. It doesn’t hurt that Google’s brand cachet prompted a number of publications — including Fortune — to cover the job posting as a news event:
But Google missed an opportunity to feather storytelling into the job description for branding purposes as well as to recruit talent.
Consider a job description by Medium for the role of Head of Finance. If there were ever a time when you could rationalize dull copy for a job description, this would be the one. Yet Medium delivers a narrative for the role that doesn’t solely depend on the lexicon of finance:
“Soon you’ll be able to build out a team, but to start out you will be the Finance department, so we’ll need you to do a lot … You will be the person running Medium’s finances on a day-to-day basis. We don’t need to be GE, but we do want to have key processes.”
One more point on the Google job description.
If you search on the Doodler role today, you end up with this:
Why would you want the person who bookmarked the job and later searches on it to get a 404 error message. Even a simple passage like:
OK, we’ve got some bad news and good news for you. First the bad news. We’re no longer accepting applications for the Doodler role. On the positive side, we have a number of open design roles that you can reach by clicking here.
Again, every interaction with the consumer has the potential to be a brand-building moment.
Starting with an empathetic point of view.
Side note: For more the topic, you might check out “The Best Job Descriptions on the Planet.”