Current job descriptions suck and you’re losing the talent war

Sorry Lebron, you don’t have 7 years experience.

What if Cleveland would have said that before they drafted Lebron? Clearly, you have talent kid! But, we’re really looking for someone who has done this for a professional team for 7 years or more. Also, a certification or professional degree is preferred.

You just passed up on the most talented person!

Job descriptions drive me crazy.

They drove me crazy before I had experience. They drive me crazy with experience.


As a company, you should want the best talent. The world is changing. While the best choice at the time could have tons of experience and meet all of your requirements, you may be missing out on the candidate who can make the larger long term impact.

What if professional sports placed a higher emphasis on a body of work than they did potential? Think about that for a minute.

Stare at this while you think for a minute.

Experience can often times be the safest choice. You can grab a veteran who has been there before. But, things start to get interesting when you take someone with a decent amount of experience and a much higher upside. Do you grab the veteran and milk them for a few years or do you try to foster and groom the potential franchise player?

Sticking with sports, this can burn you. There are flops. Some picks don’t pan out. But, if you stay in your risk averse world, you’ll miss out on Lebron, Kobe, Durant, Kyrie or any other young star.

Look for passion. Look for natural talent (even if raw). Look for someone willing to bust their ass for you. The filters you build into the job requirement could eliminate the person you need.

Here are some of my favorite job descriptions, the best job descriptions in my mind:

  • Cowpoke / Intern at Lowercase Capital – “Tony Hsieh calls you when he is feeling unhappy”
  • reddit engineer – “prove or disprove that P = NP”
  • Any job description at Woot – “It’s not just a job – it’s paid employment”
  • Any job with ze frank – “You should have sent at least one email to someone you have never met telling them that they should stop using tables.”

They’re looking for talent. Plain and simple.

Don’t misinterpret me.

There are *incredible* hires with *tons* of experience. My point is that you should not create restrictive requirements if you’re looking for the best person for the job. Throw an incredibly bright 26 year old in the room with an extremely experienced candidate and see what happens. Hire slow, fire fast. Note: I am much older than 26.

Talent is hard to find. It is even harder to retain. Keep that in mind (please).

Spoiler alert: Cleveland hired, but couldn’t retain Lebron.

Image via usfbps