Job descriptions are dead: The biggest reason you’re struggling to hire the right people

In the complex world of recruitment, it’s no secret that companies are facing a unique challenge: attracting the right talent for their vacant positions. Despite the proliferation of job boards, social media platforms and professional networks like LinkedIn, many businesses find themselves inundated with hundreds of applications that often don’t match their requirements. 

The culprit behind this conundrum? Traditional job descriptions.

In this blog, Paytime explores the talent acquisition issues caused by inaccurate job descriptions and how skill based hiring is on the rise – and for good reason. 

The Problem with Job Descriptions

Job descriptions have long been the cornerstone of recruitment efforts. They serve as the first point of contact between a company and potential candidates. However, they have become increasingly outdated and ineffective in today’s rapidly evolving job market.

Here are some of the potential problems associated with job descriptions:

Lack of Specificity

Traditional job descriptions tend to be overly generic as they are templated, featuring a laundry list of responsibilities without delving into the specific skills and attributes that are crucial for success in the role.

Keyword Overload

Many job descriptions are crafted with the intent to catch the attention of applicant tracking systems (ATS) by stuffing them with keywords. This practice often results in attracting candidates who may have the right keywords on their resumes but lack the actual skills needed for the job.

Ignoring Soft Skills

Traditional job descriptions often focus solely on hard skills and qualifications, ignoring the importance of soft skills like communication, collaboration, and adaptability, which have proven to be equally essential for a candidate’s success within a company, especially a company who values the equilibrium and peace of their workplace culture

Unrealistic Expectations

Some job descriptions set unrealistic expectations by asking for an impractical combination of skills, years of experience, and qualifications, which can deter qualified candidates from applying.

Disadvantages of Job Descriptions

While job descriptions have been the go-to tool for recruitment, they come with their own set of disadvantages:

Missed Opportunities

Traditional job descriptions might discourage qualified candidates who don’t perfectly align with the laundry list of requirements from applying, causing companies to miss out on potentially excellent hires.

Limited Perspective

Relying solely on job descriptions limits the pool of candidates to those actively seeking jobs. Many talented professionals might not be actively job hunting but could be open to new opportunities.

Lack of Diversity

Unconscious biases can seep into job descriptions, inadvertently discouraging candidates from diverse backgrounds from applying.

Why Job Descriptions Aren’t Enough

 Job descriptions are redundant. They are no longer sufficient on their own to attract the right candidates. With the rise of skill-based hiring, the emphasis has shifted to a candidate’s abilities and potential rather than their experience and qualifications.

The Most Important Part of a Job Description

Amid this shift, the most important part of a job description is the focus on skills and outcomes. Instead of merely listing tasks the new employee will complete, modern job descriptions should highlight the skills required to excel in the role and effectively complete their tasks and emphasise the impact the candidate will have on the company.

By clearly articulating the value the candidate will bring and the skills they need to possess, companies can attract candidates who are not just a good fit on paper but are equipped to make meaningful contributions.

Embracing Skill-Based Hiring

Skill-based hiring offers a solution to the problems posed by traditional job descriptions. By focusing on skills, companies can tap into a broader pool of talent and increase their chances of finding the right candidate. Here are some benefits of skill-based hiring:

Wider Talent Pool

Skill-based hiring opens the door to candidates with diverse backgrounds and experiences, allowing companies to discover hidden gems that might have been overlooked with rigid job descriptions.


In a rapidly changing job landscape, skills hold more value than specific job titles or years of experience. Skill-based hiring allows companies to find candidates who can adapt and learn quickly.

Reduced Bias 

Emphasising skills over personal characteristics reduces the likelihood of unconscious bias affecting the hiring process, promoting diversity and inclusivity.

Solving the Problem of Poor Job Descriptions

 Skill-based hiring directly addresses the issues posed by poor job descriptions:


Skill-based job descriptions clearly outline the skills needed for the role, leaving no room for ambiguity or misinterpretation.

Attracting the Right Candidates

By focusing on skills, companies attract candidates who are genuinely capable of fulfilling the job’s requirements, leading to a higher quality applicant pool.

Alignment with Company Goals

Skill-based hiring allows companies to align job descriptions with their overall business objectives, ensuring that candidates’ skills contribute directly to the company’s success.

In summary

In conclusion, the days of relying solely on traditional, generic job descriptions are over. To hire the right people, companies must adopt skill-based hiring strategies that emphasise capabilities over keywords. By revamping job descriptions to showcase skills and outcomes, businesses can attract candidates who are truly aligned with their needs and contribute to their growth and success.

It’s time to bid farewell to the era of ineffective job descriptions and usher in a new era of recruitment that values skills, potential, and diversity. Are you ready to make the change?


Get in touch with Paytime for more information on how to attract and retain top talent.