Who Writes this Stuff? Job Descriptions too-good-to-be-true

There is a Jobs Newsletter that I still get from my previous industry. I skim over it just to see which companies are looking for people to see if I might know anyone that I could refer along. The more I read the company and job descriptions, the more annoyed I get. Here’s my rant:

First, EVERY company looking for employees cannot be the leading agency that is hard-charging, innovative, rapidly growing and tight knit with passionate, creative and committed leaders that run highly innovative and emersive programs & events. (I’m not sure what those are…)  Not buying it!

Likewise, every one of these companies are seeking employees with these qualities:

  • sales superstar
  • track record of exponential growth/impressive/exceptional/outstanding sales results
  • be a hunter/slayer with experience calling on Fortune 100-500 clients and sales record in the $millions
  • adept at qualifying clients & developing and delivering compelling sales presentations
  • polished and professional with exceptional communication skills
  • passionate and creative
  • oh, and it would be good if they would bring their own book of business along with

Who wouldn’t hire that person?!  I’m thinking if this list describes you, you should be writing your own ticket just about anywhere.

Just once I’d like to see a realistic job description, along the lines of:

Mid-sized, mid-level company providing the exact products and services that our customers offer, is seeking a sales person who will stay for a reasonable period even after discovering that we have completely misrepresented our position in the industry, the calibre of co-workers or complete inability for any salesperson to achieve the bonus compensation structure outlined.

The ideal candidate will have some documented sales experience, be able to sufficiently exaggerate his/her skills, experience and sales volume during the interview process and provide references (who may or may not be related to the candidate) who will give a glowing recommendation without revealing specific information of any kind.

Unfortunately, I have lived this a couple of times during my own job search or project interview history – the companies just weren’t honest enough to spell it out like this. (Full disclosure, I never used a relative for a job reference…but I have been beaten out for projects by people who exaggerated better than I did. I thank them for helping me dodge those bullets!)

We probably can’t expect total honesty, but can we be a LITTLE more realistic in our descriptions? Wouldn’t it make for a smoother job search and transition if we all knew what we were getting into?

I’ve written several articles for clients lately on the role that organizational culture plays in the hiring process. Millennials seem to be running the show right now, and they are VERY interested in understanding the priorities, values and culture of the companies they are thinking about joining. They are also very quick to leave if they find that it’s been misrepresented.  (I’ve also written several articles about the astronomical cost of employee turnover – spoiler alert:  don’t misrepresent your company to a potential job candidate!)

Word to the wise employer and prospective employee: you’ll both save a lot of time and be much happier if you are honest. Employers, about the company and what the position entails; prospective employees, about your skills, experience and how you will approach the job.

Happy hunting!