When doing a job analysis or writing job descriptions, one of the terms that comes up that makes my hair stand on end is “multi-tasking.” While our bodies can perform automated functions simultaneously (e.g., driving and talking), our brains cannot consciously do two things at once. Rather, when I’m “multi-tasking” (like checking my phone and looking up data), what I am really doing is switching quickly (hopefully) between two tasks. Oh, and recent research shows that men and woman are equally bad at it.
When seeking to understand what managers really want people to do, it is important that we challenge them on vague terms like “multi-task” and “empower.” When we really get to the meaning of these terms, multi-tasking is being able to handle several projects at once and empower is delegating effectively. Those are behaviors selection specialists can work with in designing assessments and interviews.
As buzzwords find their way into our conversations about what employees do, our job is to determine the behaviors behind them. Doing so assigns meaning to the words and starts us on the path of objectively measuring them as part of validated selection systems.
What are your least favorite job description buzzwords?