Goodbye Job Descriptions
August 1, 2022 · Rick Devine Think Piece

Authored by Rick Devine - Follow Rick on Talentsky

I don’t think there is a single person who has ever seen a job description and liked it. So, why do we have them? There are regulatory reasons - including state and government reporting requirements. Otherwise, it’s just an old habit. Job descriptions have been around since the first employers posted jobs on the window of the country store. For years, the job description has been considered the ‘demand signal’ of employment in our country, which is scraped and aggregated by employment data companies to create insights. Does this work today? No.

There are many challenges with job descriptions. They are not updated regularly and they often vary in format even within a company. Just look at the job descriptions from large employers and you will see what I mean. The biggest problem with job descriptions is that people cannot compare themselves to determine if they are a fit – or what they need to learn to be a fit. All people can do is apply for the job, and hope to hear back from the company. If the applicant does not have a resume that matches the title of the job description, there’s little chance of being contacted. It is estimated that over 90% of job applicants never get an interview.  

Today, employers are saying they want to make access to opportunity skills based, removing the resume bias. “If you have the skills, we want you.” While that all sounds great, how does a young person compare themselves by skill to a job description  – all of which differ from company to company? Also, can a person follow a job description and get updates like on Facebook, when the job's skills change? No. It's hard to believe there is no employment standard in our country based upon skills, yet that’s what we are saying we want.

I have tried many approaches to solving the demand signal problem and I can assure you that it’s not job descriptions. My vision for the future of job descriptions is to turn people doing the work into the demand signal – recognizing their actual on-going tasks and skills in order to create a living and dynamic replacement for the job description. People today are comfortable following the content of others who post on social platforms. As people post their work achievements on Talentsky, others can compare their skills and discover careers. Employers can then see who is interested in specific careers through a social following and see their skill relevance – creating a new way to discover talent. These insights create a preemptive opportunity for internal mobility and attrition reduction or external recruiting, yes by skill.

I started Talentsky not for job seekers, but for career developers. If people can see what is possible, and build the skills needed to match roles of aspiration, they can be discovered for their interest and relevance. Talentsky can help people go as far as they want to go. That’s the American dream. Job descriptions hold people back, and it’s high time to say goodbye to them.  

Go Talentsky!

Rick Devine August 1, 2022