Never Trust A Job Description – 6 Reasons Why Job Descriptions Are Obsolete

Jul 26 2012 in Featured, Job Search Strategy, reCareered Blog by Phil Rosenberg

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How many of you have been frustrated by:

  • A job that you’re an exact skills match is still open 3 months after you applied
  • You were disqualified for consideration because you lacked a skill not on the job description

If this has happened to you, you’re probably confused (and maybe a little angry), wondering why you weren’t considered. You can’t understand why an employer can’t see that you’re a perfect candidate for the role.

There can be many reasons for your application being ignored (you’re buried in the ATS, resume doesn’t clearly and quickly show you’re a match, your branding doesn’t fit, company is setting budget for a future job, ad isn’t for a real job, hiring budget holdups, hiring manager priority changes, hiring freezes, and many more).

Today, let’s discuss a common reason you’re being ignored for a job where you’re a perfect match …

The job description and requirements changed

best career advice, best job search information, career advice, job search information, job search advice, job search help, job search tips, career information, career help, career tips, career info, job search infoWhen you’ve directly applied or been presented for a job and then gotten feedback that you’re missing an important skill that was never on the job description, it’s terribly frustrating and feels unfair. If you had known from the job description that this experience was desired, you would have not wasted your time applying (if you didn’t have the skill) or included it (if you did have the skill). … If only you’d known.

Your problem is that you’re relying on obsolete information – the job description. This doesn’t just happen some of the time … It happens ALL of the time.

6 Reasons Why Job Descriptions Are Obsolete:

  1. Replacement positions: Job openings that are to replace someone who has left (or will be leaving) typically occur quickly. The hiring manager rarely has time to think through a new job description, but who needs to? Just use the old job description from the departing employee. However, during the time the departing employee took the job, don’t you think the job needs might have changed?
  2. New positions: Job descriptions for new positions are generally written when the new position is up for approval. In most companies, that’s around budget time, or in the fall. Do you think the business just stands still, waiting for your arrival?
  3. Old problems are solved: Since the job description was written, old problems have been solved and are no longer a priority, but still may be included in the job description.
  4. New problems arise: Since the job description was written, new problems have arisen that are now priorities. The hiring manager needs someone who has already solved similar problems – this rarely makes the job description.
  5. People leave: People leave the hiring manager’s department or are transferred elsewhere in the company. This creates skills gaps that need to be filled, so the hiring manager looks for these skills in new employees. Since this happens all the time, these skills gaps almost never make the job description.
  6. People join: The hiring manager is probably hiring multiple positions, not just yours. If the hiring manager hires a different position and fills a skills gap, it’s often no longer needed in a new employee – think the hiring manager rewrites the job description to reflect this?

Job descriptions and requirements are taken from a snapshot in time … often quite a long time ago.

In reality, the real needs of hiring managers change constantly, because business conditions change constantly and team members change. Is it any wonder that job descriptions and requirements are almost always obsolete?

If you’re using a job description to base your resume upon, you can guarantee yourself that you’re basing your resume on old information.

So what should you use instead of the job description?

The way to find superior job information is by to talking to people within the hiring manager’s department and to hiring managers themselves – They can tell you up to date information about what’s needed and what are the priority problems right now … not six months ago.


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Author: Phil Rosenberg

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