Beware of job descriptions

While you may sometimes struggle in the position of a job seeker, having to hire someone poses its challenges as well. Becoming good at it requires practice, but most managers only need to hire new members for their teams once in a while and therefore never develop the necessary skills. A shortcoming that makes your life as an applicant even harder.

Example: Misleading job descriptions

It is common to analyze the job description of an advertised vacancy to decide whether one should apply for it or not. However, such an approach only makes sense if the information in the job description is correct. As a matter of fact, more often than not, that is not the case. That may lead you to apply for jobs that are not right for you at all or, even worse, miss out on great opportunities because you did not consider them any further.

What’s wrong with them

Many managers have no clue about how to compose helpful job descriptions. Their misleading results are usually caused by one of the following problems:

  1. 1. The hiring manager lacks the required understanding of the demands of the open position and is not aware of this fact. This is particularly likely in large departments or with newly created positions.
  2. 2. The task of writing the job description is delegated to someone who doesn’t know or misunderstands the correct demands of the open position. This is typical when HR officers are entrusted with the creation of job descriptions by default without proper verification processes in place.
  3. 3. The job description is created by copying a job advertisement for a seemingly similar position from the internet and editing it without paying enough attention if the result truly reflects the demands of the company’s own vacancy.
  4. 4. The job description is overloaded with nice-to-have aspects, thus lacking focus on the relevant demands or even giving a wrong overall impression of them.

The only way out

Obviously, just by reading job descriptions as a potential applicant at an early stage, you simply cannot know if something is wrong with them. In other words, unless you have further reliable information about the open positions, you should always distrust what you read!

The only way out of it is a) by refraining from making decisions on further actions too quickly and b) by doing further research to validate and update the impression you got. It sometimes only takes a quick phone call to replace the guesswork with valuable insights.

Particularly important for women

Women, in general, tend to question their suitability for particular positions more quickly than men. The combination of this humility and the problem described above makes them prone to miss out on great job opportunities that they are actually perfectly qualified for.

So, my special advice to women is not only to avoid making decisions against applications for attractive positions too early but to find out more about them first, but also to apply for them even when you are in doubt if you are the perfect fit. In many cases, there is no perfect candidate anyway, but if you do not apply, the hiring managers have no chance at all to learn about you, like what you tell about yourself, and give the job to you. Give them a chance, ladies!