Initially, everyone needs to understand that no two jobs are ever exactly alike. The title of the position may be the same, and the responsibilities may be the same, but no two companies operate in exactly the same way. The reality is that there will always be at least slight differences between jobs—even if for no other reason than the fact that different people and personalities are involved. The notion, therefore, that different organizations have different corporate cultures is obviously true.

It’s important to think of the requirements of jobs to be filled at two different levels of cognition. First is the formal job description that officially outlines the exact parameters of the job. Second is the unofficial or “practical” job description, which probably isn’t written down anywhere but defines the way the job really works within the framework of other employees, internal politics, and peculiarities within the organization. For example, if you’re hiring a functional manager, the management style you need may be totally influenced by the characteristics of the people to be managed. If the group is composed of senior-level employees, for instance, who’ve been with the company for long periods of time, the new manager’s approach will be totally different than if the group is composed of younger, less experienced employees. You need to be aware of that difference because it will have a direct bearing on the “practical” requirements of the position. This insight may not be part of the official job description, but it makes perfectly good sense in everyday, real-world terms—and it will impact the new employee selection process, especially in terms of evaluating a candidate’s managerial style and experience. So knowing the requirements of the job—both formal and informal—is critical in the employee selection process!