Monday, April 06, 2015

What Does a Great Job Description Contain?

Great job descriptions aren't that difficult to pick out from the crowd.

Most job descriptions start with a description of Duties or Responsibilities

I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know.  The problem with most job descriptions is that they tell you what you’ll do in the new job and they’ll tell you what you are expected to bring to the table.   That’s pretty much where most job descriptions stop.

What I suggest you look for is a job description that starts out with some level of verbiage that describes what’s in it for you to leave the known situation you’re in to go to work in an unknown situation that exists at the next employer. Taken to another level, my coaching clients know to look for evidence that a position is going to tap into their top strengths.  

Obviously, to apply this lens to a job description, you first need to know and understand your traits and strengths.

Of course, this thought process all goes out the window if you’re going to work for someone you already know.  This thought process does apply however to a situation where you don’t know the people connected to the potential new employer you’re considering.

By analyzing a job description for the “what’s in it for me” material I mentioned above, you’ll learn a lot about the company without speaking to anybody.  Not to say that there isn’t anything in the job for you if it isn’t in the description but if you see a description that tells you what’s in it for you to take the risk of joining the company that is new to you, you’re on the right track.

Move from IT into Information Security

On my desk right now are several positions that have a lot in them for potential job candidates.  For example, for my client in Phoenix, AZ where I’ve built nearly the entire information security department, I’m working on an Information Security Project Manager role.  This is a rare time where I have a search where a 4 year degree is not a requirement.
This is a role that will allow someone who has solid IT Project Management experience with some exposure to information security projects to move their career into the information security department working directly for the CISO.  Now that answers the “what’s in it for me” question if an IT person has been looking for a way to get into Information Security full-time.

Come to the Table with Most of the Skills....I'll Get You An Interview!

Another position that I’ll soon be writing up belongs to a hiring manager who is more likely to hire talent and capability rather than hiring purely by Check Box.  For the job candidate who keeps missing out because they don’t have 5 years of this and 8 years of that, this might be the role that gives them a chance to expand their skills and knowledge when they interview with my client who is smart enough to know that hiring the right person is better for him in the long run than always hiring the person who checks all the boxes today.

Progress from VP of Sales to CEO

A brand new position that I’ll have written up soon will be a VP of Sales for a security software company.  Hold on, this is not just a VP of Sales role.  When I write this position up, I’ll be able to tell prospective candidates that by entering my client’s company as the VP of Sales, they’ll be positioning themselves to become the President / CEO as soon as the CEO has enough confidence in the VP of Sales to let them take over his current role.  For someone who currently sells security software solutions to critical infrastructure companies who has aspirations to be a CEO, there’s the “what’s in it for me” opportunity.'s Security Recruiter Blog