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  • Gilbert Kruidenier

6 Assumptions about Change Job ads


Last Saturday I spent about 4 hours looking at job sites. No, I am not a masochist and neither am I looking or a job. I was doing ‘research’ to be able to better position the Chameleon Cards as a tool to improve change roles.

I started creating the cards on the assumption that change roles need to be more attractive and better defined. To find out if the cards are even necessary to: “Inspire businesses and change enthusiasts to offer, create and find their change roles of the future”, I felt I had to go and see what’s on offer in today's market.

Here’s a summary if you are in a hurry: · 62 job ads across 6 job sites, key words: Change, Melbourne · 47 individual organisations, plus 7 that remained anonymous · Contracts offer anything from 3 months to 3 years, with 27/62 ‘unknown’ · 41 different job titles, 12/62 being ‘Change Manager’, 50 something else · 51/62 did not mention salary in $$$ · 18 different industries, government bodies making up 14/62 roles · 34/62 don’t even mention a change qualification, only 2 had Prosci as a requirement · 18 don’t mention experience, 12 ads range from 2-8+ years, 11 are just vague · 45/62 only offer generic details on the expected responsibilities/tasks

I went looking to test 6 assumptions, which were my own or borrowed from others. It turned out different than expected. I found that 1 is plausible, 3 are true and 2 are false in my opinion.

1. The good jobs are not on job boards 2. Those recruiters are all copying each other 3. They tell you nothing about the actual job 4. Everyone just wants Prosci certification 5. Contracts, duration and rates are used as ‘bait’ 6. Everyone wants 5+ years of experience 7. The good jobs are not on job boards

I sure hope so, because if this is what’s on offer…oh dear. Of course, ‘good’ is an arbitrary qualifier at best and depends on the person looking and their circumstances. Also, if you’ve been around a bit longer you know that Allegra, PRP, MetaPM, Ampersand and the other usual suspects always have a few things cooking in the background. If good is meant as ‘paying well’, check out point 5, but in short, you’d not know it from reading most ads. Most don’t really mention anything about culture, purpose, being part of something bigger than yourself (if money doesn’t do it for you). Verdict: Plausible

2. Those recruiters are all copying each other To be fair, there are only so many ways you can describe a role and a limited amount of relevant words to use. But a bit of creativity and understanding goes a long way. Most ads had 5-6 criteria, one had none and 9 ads had 10 or more (2 had 20+). Training, assessment, plans, analysis and communication are the key themes for most, but in no logical order or frame. It’s like they took notes over the phone and put it in the ad, no questions asked. If an ad asks for Prosci or ADKAR or CMMI experience, that signals the author really didn’t understand the first thing about change. An hour of reading or asking a friendly change professional to have a look would make a big difference in this space. Verdict: True

3. They tell you next to nothing about the actual job You’d think that an organisation, manager or team would at least know what needs to be done (if not who is best placed to do it) and be able to write that down in a few sentences. Think again. A few exceptions aside the norm still seems to be:

· Let’s tell you everything about ourselves first · Then we’ll add some long, incomprehensible sentences full of management speak. · Don’t forget to mention of specific programs and jargon that remain unexplained. · Then set some unrealistically high expectations of short-term contracts with low pay · End with vague and long descriptions of how cool, edgy and hip the culture is (one even offers a set of branded sneakers…where do I sign up?!)

If there was ever a signal that Change management is not yet seen as a profession for grown-ups and serious professionals, I think I’ve gotten more than a few ‘lights and siren’ experiences that Saturday. Verdict: True

4. Everyone just wants Prosci certification Well no, actually they don’t. There were 53 businesses across 18 types of industry in those 62 job ads and only 2 had a hard requirement for Prosci. 10 others listed it as desirable or preferred only. Most didn’t even specify or mention a change qualification. By the way, if anyone actually knows what the Blue Bus Method is, I’d really appreciate you letting me know. Verdict: False

5. Contracts, duration and rates are used as ‘bait’ In previous posts I’ve shared my puzzlement about roles somehow always taking 6 or 12 and the odd 18 months. Critical friends point out that this is just to set expectations. I then reply that this is exactly the problem. Once that timeframe is set, that’s what you’re stuck with and all things get measured to it. Meanwhile we keep telling everyone: “Change takes time”. Sure. Nothing to worry about with most of these job ads though, nearly half (27/62) don’t even mention the timeframe or the salary (51/62) or the type (but let’s assume it’s full-time). So, let me get this straight. You give me a vaguely described task, a list of generic responsibilities, no salary indication, no contract duration and no way of knowing if it’s full-time, part-time or day-rate. And then you expect me to be grateful for this excellent opportunity?! Seriously, what planet are you even living on?! Verdict: True

6. Everyone wants 5+ years of experience Nah, most ads don’t specify it at all. And for the once who do, I always wonder how they come up with the number. If you ask for a Junior CM, but require 2 years of experience and you plan to pay $430 a day, what are your chances to get that 43-year old professional who has 15 years work experience, of which 18 months in Change? Also using words as demonstrated, desirable, extensive, previous, proven, seasoned, significant, solid, sound and strong is just not very helpful. Admittedly, not all ads were terrible in this section, but many didn’t even seem to know what to ask for, so how will an applicant ever know what to offer? Verdict: False

Once I leaned back bleary-eyed from my spreadsheet (find it here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kruidenierconsulting/ ) I realised that judging by the quality and creativity on offer, the Chameleon Cards are quite necessary. Good thing they’re planned for 1 September 2019 because there is some job advertising improvement work to do!

The Boring Stuff: my ‘scientific’ method: · I looked at 6 platforms and limited myself to 20 jobs on each, expecting to come out with 100+ jobs for my spreadsheet. · I used only one search word: ‘Change’ and limited myself to Melbourne, trusting that a city of 5+ million people has a fair chance of being representative for other Western markets (feel free to do your own research of course.). · I started on Indeed, then Seek, LinkedIn, Jora, Adzuna and finally Ethicaljobs. By the time I hit LinkedIn, things were drying up fast. I am not sure what to make of this, but there was 1 job with Change in the title on Ethicaljobs. All platforms had more or less the same jobs. Seek had the most. · I copied all job ads verbatim into a Word document and then populated an Excel sheet for the categories: Title, Duration, Contract type, Salary, Organisation, Industry, Change qualifications, (Years of) experience, Responsibilities and Requirements. · I ran a word cloud analysis (https://www.jasondavies.com/wordcloud/) to see what words were most common.

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