#TBT So Much Job Description Word Salad

I’ve been reading a number of job descriptions (JDs) as of late and while they’ve been steadily improving over the past few years, something happened in 2021 and I’m seeing more and more of the boilerplate, jargon filled, word salad nonsense that defined JDs from years past.

This is especially true of executive director and CEO positions and for candidates, that should be giant red flag. Pardon me for stating the obvious but if your JD is devoid of anything that informs candidates know about that organization’s challenges, run.

One simple trick to determine your JD’s effectiveness is remove all instances of the organization’s name and location. Is it still obvious to candidates which orchestra this is? If not, you need to dig back in and thin out the pablum.

The topic of job descriptions is something we’ve covered frequently; here are some of the more popular installments over the years:

Do Your Job Descriptions Make Unicorns Weep Tears Of Joy?

I’ll Take The Job Description Turducken On Rye To-Go Please

Win-Win Friday: Elevating Hiring Practices

Wanted: A Messiah In Cincinnati

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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