As a current Career Coach and former HR professional, I have seen it from both sides of the desk – while the professional world changes at a rapid pace every single day, the way we approach job descriptions is behind the times.
Too often I see clients who are concerned their skills don’t fit “what the job description says”, even though the value they bring is perfect for the position. While the best potential candidates are moving with the times, the jobs in which they are considering applying for are stuck in the past.
This situation was perfectly articulated in this recent Forbes article:
Consider this. The typical job description contains six to nine bullet points of job responsibilities and assigned tasks that relate to a particular role, and to a level on the organization chart. And, consider the fact that most job descriptions are reused and recycled over and over again, year after year, meaning they are ever more outdated to the core of what is expected from each employee today—not to mention the future.
Does a job description truly restrain a person from positively handling change?
It’s surprising how unintentionally “sticky” roles and job descriptions become. They define who we are, and tell us who we’re not. The box, or level, on the org chart creates unusually powerful walls around us—the way we think and behave. Over time, our roles and titles and job descriptions become a surprisingly big part of our identity. In fact, once a person’s role becomes synonymous with their identity, unintentional boundaries form that can severely limit innovation and erect barriers to change.
So you see, it’s not only that job descriptions are outdated to a fault with potential hires, they are potentially damaging to the organization’s progress itself!
I’m curious what you HR professionals out there think. What are you doing to make sure this doesn’t happen to YOUR organization?