Just in Case, Lunch and Learn

The High Cost Of Poor Job Descriptions in the Recruitment Process

As the breadwinning father of two, I needed a job. Our family had just moved across the country and were looking for a new home. After going on several job postings sites, I’d found one company that posted multiple times for a sales position. Each posting was slightly different. The educational requirements were off a bit. The salary wasn’t the same each time, nor the benefits. Even the job task description didn’t quite add up to precisely the same thing. It was, however, the best paying company in the area, and it meant I didn’t have to work weekends, so I went for it. I managed to get through the interview process and accepted the job offer. The salary wasn’t quite what I’d anticipated, however. Nor the job responsibilities…

We live in an era where communication is more available than ever. But despite the accessibility to open communication, there’s a severe lack of honesty in it. With sites like Glassdoor and Indeed allowing employees to leave reviews of the companies they’ve worked at past or present, there’s little shortage in ways prospective employees can learn about a company and their operations. And yet despite this massive knowledge base at our fingertips, it often happens that employers will put little to no effort into their job description postings. Nothing about salaries or benefits. Nothing available about the actual day-to-day activities of a position. Having wildly unrealistic standards of what an employee should “look like.” All in a bid to weed out undesirable candidates, instead of attempting to attract desirable ones.

In doing my research for this article, I spent hours going through job recruitment sites to look at what recruiters were doing right and what they were doing wrong. I found multiple patterns in postings that spread across industries. I searched through job titles containing “sales, nurse, food, management, and customer service.” These are some of the most common job titles in America and had plenty of available examples. The most repetitive themes I noticed when looking at these postings were…

  • Flowery words meant to make a position seem much more elevated and prestigious than reality.
  • Posting job responsibilities with no mention of benefits or compensation for the prospect.
  • Attempts to rope the prospect in with large dollar amounts but saying virtually nothing about the company.

These seem to be the three common pillars on which the poorly executed job description rests. Why do so many companies rely on these almost “cloak and dagger” tactics to trick people into applying? It is both lazy and arrogant to assume that a quality prospect is going to be attracted to these types of listings. Quality candidates know their worth. They also know that working with a company that deals in half measures will – down the road – lead to a poor work environment.

That’s another big picture item – down the road…

That company that I worked with at the start of our article? I was there for about a year and a half. It was almost nothing like what I’d signed up for. The long hours, working from home off-the-clock, the commission scale, even what I was supposed to be selling wasn’t advertised correctly. Now that’s not to say I didn’t make good money, or that I didn’t like my office mates. However, when a company recruits someone into a position, and that company doesn’t lay out the parameters of the work accurately, then what chance do they have of retaining people? In that year and a half, I saw recruits come and go. The sales team had a joke that unless you were there for at least three months, we wouldn’t bother learning your name.

Being transparent is a trait when recruiting that cannot be underestimated, especially for smaller companies looking to bring in high-quality talent to help them manage their growing business. Always keep in mind that when you’re open about posting job data, you may be slightly more exposed to your competitors knowing what you’re offering, but at least you aren’t competing against yourself like they will be.


If you’d like some assistance with writing job descriptions, either to help you recruit new talent, or to help with in-office compliance, check out our Job Description Writer Here.

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