What Job Descriptions Say About Company Culture


In helping a client look for managerial candidates, I came across a few job descriptions that concerned me. While it is not unusual to find less than desirable company traits in many job descriptions, it struck me as to how many companies show poor culture in this way to outside sources.

So I did some word clouds (or tag clouds as they are often referred to) of these job descrioptions to see the potential pitfalls some of these compnaies might possess based on what they emphasize and de-emphasize.

Take for instance the word cloud below. The word “vision” is mentioned less that “accountability” which tells me initially that this company is driven more in holding people accountable than by sharing or driving vision.

Looking further “visionary” was mentioned more that “vision” but that differs in that visionary companies may not necessarily have a clear or rallying vision to build upon.


Some other observations:

“Culture” is mentioned less that “budget”.

“Safe” and “safety” are emphasized less than “standards”.

“Excellence” means less than “ensure”.

“Lead” was not as important as “maintains”.

What this observation shows us is that even in a job description we can glimpse into the true culture of an organization and find out what they truly hold as their core value.

I do mention this with a caveat – there are times when this is not an accurate picture of a really good company with a terrific culture. Every once in a while to hit the ATS keywords for recruiting a company may focus on those keywords which becomes not at all representative of their true culture. But many times what we observe in this example is unfortunately true.

If you’re a candidate or researching a company and see the some aspects of culture that may be of concern to you, it’s best to delve deeper and do some investigating to qualify what has been outlined in the description.

If you’re a company and finding this to be true in your organization, the best course of action is not to massage your descriptions but to ensure that your company culture has a strong thread through every aspect of your organization. You run the risk in a job description of loosing quality candidates because you’re culture is not strong enough, or you may bring in candidates that mirror what you’ve attracted and this may create a misaligned culture for you.

Job descriptions are just the first glimpse into an organization’s soul. Make sure you’re discerning when looking at them no matter which side of the interview table you sit at.

(image: pixaby)

About Paul LaRue

My goal - To encourage you to lead & influence others with positive impact.

Posted on January.7.2018, in Leadership. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Great idea! Over time, I would expect that this type of exercise could end up being pretty accurate. Mike…


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