What’s up with the asinine job descriptions?

I refused to share this job description in this week’s Executive Communication Report, because it is completely insane. But because it is not really all that much whackadoodilian than many of the exec comms jobs I do share in ECR every week, let’s examine it here. Original job description in Roman, my comments in itals:

In Houston, an independent global distributor of chemicals, plastics, etc, is seeking a Director of Internal Communications. This newly-created position will be charged with managing all Human Resources, employee and executive communications.

One person. In charge. Of handling HR communications. Employee communications. And executive communications. For global company that distributes chemicals. And plastics. Etc.


Reporting to the Senior VP for Human Resources, the Director will oversee change-related communications programs; provide strategic communications counsel and support for organizational change-management efforts. Create and implement internal communication strategies, messages, tools and more.

Change communication management. Strategic counsel. Strategy development and implementation. Message creation. Media creation. What on earth could the “more” be referring to?

Ideal candidate will have no less than 12 years experience in corporate communications. Direct experience in employee, HR and executive communications is needed.

Any “candidate” with 12 years experience will look with deep suspicion upon an organization who expects all that from one communication pro. One communication veteran I talked to recently told me he doesn’t apply for many of the jobs we post, because they look impossible. I told him I thought he took them too seriously, and that he should simply ignore the description, and when he gets an interview, flatly inform the interviewer that the company is nuts to expect a person to handle anything more than executive communication. (Let alone change communication, HR communication and employee communication!)

But maybe my friend is right. Maybe it’s dumb to even talk to a company that doesn’t understand how complex and multi-faceted executive communication is all by itself.

The whole thing reminds me of another colleague of mine who interviewed for a communications job. The interviewer told him the job was super-strategic, and he would oversee message-development, policymaking, thought leadership, the works!

“That’s great,” he told her. “Because in my last job it seemed like I spent all my time negotiating paper prices with the printer.”

“Oh,” she said quickly, “you’ll have to do that, too.”

Has anybody come up with an effective rejoinder for the Interviewer Who Wants Too Much? (Or better yet, the Clueless Corporate Recruiter?)

I’m sure we’d all be interested to hear. —DM

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