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Beware these meaningless job descriptions

We're a little late with this, but several months ago someone asked us to assemble an article dedicated to vacuous job descriptions which sound exciting but are, ultimately, meaningless.

As it's summer, we're now doing this. The descriptions below are based on readers' previous comments. Let us know if you have any to add.

1) Front office liason officer

Seems to imply that: You will be an important conduit of information between the back/middle and front office.

Sad reality: Sooner or later, all other things being equal, you are bound to come across a trader in the gym, cafeteria or street.

2) Provider of strategic thinking to develop streamlined processes:

Seems to imply that: You will be an intellectual force to be reckoned with in improving the efficiency of the back office.

Sad reality: The organisation hasn't invested properly in its systems for many years and now needs someone to develop a process that will be outsourced once stable.

3) Taker of ownership of the reporting framework

Seems to imply that: You will play a key role in improving the way information is communicated throughout the bank.

Sad reality: You will be blamed for the fact that information is not communicated throughout the bank, and for failed attempts to outsource all or part of this process.

4) Flexibility to manage competing priorities

Seems to imply that: You will be an autonomous agent, free to prioritise a diverse and exciting workload, all of which will earn you internal recognition and fame.

Sad reality: Your role will lack clear objectives. You will effectively be a glorified PA.

5) Influencing and networking skills will be required

Seems to imply that: If you get the job, you are obviously considered charming and charismatic and able to wind MDs around your small finger.

Sad reality: This role has no direct support from management. Whoever fills it will need to leave their self-respect at the door and grovel to various departments for assistance/resources.

AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor
  • Da
    3 September 2010

    N° 2 IS actually meaningful. What you call "Sad reality" isn't really different from what it "Seems to imply". If you are called to optimise a process it's because something went wrong, and you have to be prepared to switch to something else once it gets optimised. You may argue whether this task requires strategic thinking, but there's no smoke and mirrors here.

  • po
    1 September 2010

    @Anon, great idea.
    @Sarah, can we have the poll as suggested by Anon? Would be helpful for other candidates and that is one of the purposes of this site? It would also helped to identify rotten apples in that industry.

  • an
    31 August 2010

    What about making a poll to find out the crappiest agencies in the City from candidate's point of view?

  • da
    31 August 2010

    ..and "must work well under pressure and with competing priorities" .. translation: "you will be give far more work than you can reasonably do in a normal day, and most probably from many different poorly defined reporting lines, and basically take a whole load of crap for no apparent reason"

  • De
    31 August 2010

    What do we do about crap recruitment agents who don't really have the technical capacity to understand a job description or undertsand a CV but are compelled to sue them because they appear on the preferred list of the HR department and there is no way HR will accept otherwise.

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