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  • Rich McLafferty

Is It Time For A Job Description Makeover?

I work as an organization development consultant in the San Francisco Bay Area where I continually hear how challenging it is to attract top talent.

Recently, I was reading some job postings, and what I found are some of the most boring, and intimidating job descriptions from companies who claim to be “cutting-edge” and“innovative.”

The Problem

Each of these organizations start their job descriptions with old-school corporate buzzwords (and far too many of them) that described the role in the most rote, and boring way. Then there’s the standard list of qualifications that begin with:

Demonstrated ability to; knowledge of; experience in; affinity for; proven ability; scale; enhance; partner with; etc. Boring, boring, boring!

The Result

My guess is that a lot of very talented people lose interest after the first few seconds because it doesn’t “speak to them,” and/or get intimidated and opt out because they don’t meet all of the “requirements” of the job.

The Solution

Job descriptions should get target candidates excited about the job, as well as your organization. They should positively represent your brand, and align with your culture. Job descriptions are part of your on-boarding process, and many times the first impression a potential candidate has about your organization.

Consider asking for input from your marketing department. You want to build an employment brand that attracts the individuals that will thrive in your culture, and help to build your organization’s brand. Make the job description interesting and engaging, as well as capture the essence, and personality of your organization.

About That List Of Qualifications

Chances are you will never find a single person that has all of the qualifications you want to list for a job, so narrow it down to the essential qualifications, and then use the additional space to market your organization to the potential candidate.

Job descriptions are marketing materials, so make them do the job they are intended to do; attract, and not intimidate (or bore that pants off of) talent.

So What Does Good Look Like?

Friends of mine at Blacksmith Limited in Auckland New Zealand really know how to write good, on-brand job descriptions.

They write a job descriptions that are aimed at the candidates they are trying to attract, as well as demonstrate their special culture and brand. Here’s an abbreviated sample of a recent post:


Culture and Development Consultant

Blacksmith is a boutique consulting firm known for our unique style and ability to make shift happen. We specialise in leadership development and organisational culture, working with clients to support them becoming conscious, connected leaders that engage hearts and minds to unlock a new world of performance.

We need a “glass half full” person who’s passionate about learning, leadership and working with groups. They’ll also need to be comfortable dealing at the leadership level – from front line to CEO. Our team (including our French bulldog, Micah!) operate out of a great office space on the city fringe and we believe in ‘eating our own cooking’ so our purpose and values are super important to us:

  • Blacksmith Purpose – Making our world a better workplace

  • Blacksmith Values:

  • Challenge the status quo

  • Connect people & ideas

  • Keep it real – no bull sh*t

  • Start a movement

  • Tell a story

  • Use your powers for good

  • What’s in it for you if you’re THE ONE?

  • Work with a high energy team, passionate about what we do (including Micah – who rocks … and sleeps a LOT)

The opportunity to work on a range of projects in all kinds of industries and organisations

See your work make a tangible impact on people’s LIVES, not just their work

Investment in your on-going personal and professional development

Lots of stretch, feedback and on the job learning

Oh…And a competitive annual salary package including a car park

If you think you’ve got the experience, knowledge and passion we need, and our purpose and values align with yours, we’d love the opportunity to have a conversation.


So there’s a great example of how to re-imagine the boring world of job descriptions, as well as market, and capture a candidates interest in your organization.

Take Action!

Now get out there and see if it’s time to give your descriptions a makeover. I guarantee, you'll be glad you did.