Dave (not a real name), a client of mine, once contacted me to ask if I knew someone to fill a position for him. He went on to explain that they have been trying for a while but don’t seem to find the right person. I asked Dave to email me the job description. When I received it, and read it, I realized immediately what the problem was.
I gave Dave a call. The job description outlined the requirements for a technical position. However, knowing my client’s business fairly well, it seemed to me quite overblown. There were items in the description and years of experience that I did not think were necessary to do the job. In fact there were elements in the job description that did not even apply to this client’s particular needs.
I asked Dave who had drafted the job description. He explained that it was Jack, the person whom the new hire would replace. Jack had been in that position for a number of years and is now moving on to a different function in the company.
I have seen this happen many times. When a person is asked to draft a job description for his or her own job, they feel a very strong need to glorify their role. They end up adding so many requirements that it is almost impossible to fill the position by someone else. For the person writing the job description this is just more proof of how difficult it is to do their job and replace them. It is an ego trip. Instead of focusing on what is required to do the ob, they blow their role completely out of proportion to build an image of their own importance.
Get a supervisor to write the job description. Someone who will manage the new hire but who is not being replaced by the new hire. This manager will focus on what he or she is looking for to fill the need and will be more realistic. Furthermore, he or she will not normally have any other motive to distort or exaggerate the requirements for the position.