Using JTBD hiring statements to help people learn about customers

I love all the tools around Jobs to be done and yesterday used one of them in a workshop focussing on how understanding consumer motivations provides us with opportunities to innovate.  This tool is called the “hiring statement” and looks like this:

I’m hiring X (a solution) to get A,B and C done (functional, emotional and social needs/motivations).  I considered W, Y and Z (alternative solutions) but chose X because (additional insights).

Ideally we should always listen to the genuine voice of real customers through interviews but in a learning context it can be useful to get marketers and product managers to imagine the jobs their consumers are trying to do; just so that we can discuss the difference between product and customer perspectives.

Yesterday I had a mixed group including senior people from the financial, cultural and luxury goods sectors.  I asked each of them to write down a hiring statement for one of their own products or services.  

Some developed statements, as expected, that looked at the world from the brand perspective and instead of motivations listed benefits and features that they assumed were what the customer wanted.  This is exactly why JTBD is so powerful.  It is easy to discuss why for a face cream, “covers up redness”, “moisturises” and “nourishes the skin” are not Jobs and then encourage them to be reimagined from the other end of the relationship.

It is even better, as happened yesterday, when this discussion is led not by me as a facilitator but by another participant who points out that the reason she has bought this particular product was to “give herself an inner glow” and “to make her feel like taking on the world”.  These are powerful functional and emotional Jobs.

We can then discuss other solutions to these Jobs and immediately find ourselves discussing whether the cosmetics company can have a bigger role in helping customers solve these needs.  In this case participants observed that “giving herself an inner glow” could be addressed by nutrition and sleep solutions.  Suddenly we were talking about innovations such as beauty as a service and my role as an educator was done.


The course was part of regular design thinking/customer training sessions we run at Hyper Island in Singapore.

We also used interview transcripts and my JTBD Cards in this session which lasts about half a day.

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