When we started Varsidee, we did a lot of customer development with professionals in an effort to understand the degree of interest a typical job description generated about a company and the opportunity to work there. We asked people, “on a scale of 1–10, how well does the average job description motivate you to want to apply for the position?”
The highest number ANY respondent gave us was 3!
Note: Several people lobbied for answering with a negative number
When you look at the typical job description, most don’t describe the job at all. They also don’t sufficiently motivate a candidate to want the opportunity. Instead, they’re littered with “requirements” that a talent manager or hiring manager has arbitrarily inserted.
- Must have 5 years of experience building and optimizing marketing campaigns
Does this mean that if I have 4.5 years of experience that I’m incapable of doing the job and shouldn’t apply? What about 4? What about 3.5? If you asked most talent managers that question, you’d often get a “oh, just go ahead and apply anyway” response. If that’s what they’ll tell you, doesn’t that defeat the purpose of listing it as a requirement then?
The reality is most so-called “requirements” are irrelevant to someone’s ability to perform the tasks, duties and responsibilities of the job anyway. They appear on job descriptions for no better reason than because someone decided to put them there.
Why would I want to work at your company when I don’t even know what I’ll be doing there if hired?
Put yourself in the role of the professional: via some means they have arrived at your job description and are now reviewing it. The first thing they are thinking is “If I were to make this change in my life, and go work for this company, what would it be like? What would I do during an average day? During an average week? What would you offer to pay me in exchange for me doing these things?”
The person is trying to visualize themselves in this new job (yours), but they can’t because your job description is pretty non-descript when it comes to explaining such details. “What will my workspace look like? Will I have a Mac or PC? Does this company use Slack, Asana, Jira or something else? Will I build marketing landing pages myself, or does this company have a designer that does that whom I’ll collaborate with? How will my performance be evaluated? What options will there be for getting promoted, and when?”
This list of questions and curiosities could be endless, but the point isn’t to answer ALL of them. It’s to answer MORE of them. Right now, job descriptions answer NONE of them, and as a result, candidates can’t visualize themselves in the job. If a candidate can’t visualize themselves doing your job, should you be surprised that they’re not taking steps to apply for it? I’m certainly not