Eulogy for Job Descriptions

Ok, not all of them. Just the ones that ask for characteristics that don’t co-exist in normal human beings.

Many years ago, I spoke at a conference and got a great question. (This was rare at the time.) It was from from a man who hired sales people. He wanted to know if he really needed job descriptions. My answer: Not if they keep you from hiring good people and treating them well.

Job descriptions that call for sales people to be *highly organized* should be shot on sight. No mercy, since they have none for the people they hurt. Read my lips: you get great sales or you get great organization. Not both (unless the individual also happens to have wings and halo.) Making sales people get trained in organizational skills makes no sense. Get a good sales admin person and let them do the organizing.

And you who are asking for a manager who is a “big picture visionary with great attention to detail”?  This is the job description equivalent of expecting someone to be far sighted and near sighted at the same time.  My optometrist once let me try on contact lenses purported to replace gradient lenses (which are the stylish upgrade for old-fashioned trifocals.)  It was an amazing experience – everything near became more near (and hence more fuzzy) and everything far became further (and a total blur.)  While it was fine for remembering the 60’s (only kidding, kids, Mom did not do that stuff) it was not very good for doing anything of consequence.  Nor would any manager who actually fit that description.

Please print this out and hang it over your recruiting station:


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