The perfect job description serves two purposes. It attracts the kind of people you would hope to hire, and almost as importantly, it discourages the sorts of people you don’t want to hire. Going through big piles of resumes is not fun. Job ads that extoll the virtues of your workplace without laying out any of the potential drawbacks may attract lots of resumes, but it’s almost certain that 90% of them will be from people you don’t want to screen, much less hire.
This ad for an investigative reporter from the Sarasota Herald-Tribune is a masterpiece of the form. Some number of people are going to be incredibly enthused by the ad, but a lot of people would read it and know instantly that they are not interested in or cut out for the job. I guarantee it saves them a lot of time.
I remember once interviewing someone about whom I had real doubts. I wasn’t sure what questions to ask to confirm my suspicions, so instead I just tried to scare them away by telling them that it was a small company and that people who couldn’t do the job would be exposed. Anyway, I was outvoted, the person was hired, and they didn’t last six months. Maybe we should have written a more honest job description.