Why Your Job Posting Is Turning Away Candidates
It seems like posting a job is simple—you write down what you need, upload it to a few job boards and the right person will apply. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. There are a number of tips and tricks for attracting qualified candidates and sifting through the unqualified job applicants. A job posting done well will save you time and drastically improve your recruiting efforts. The most important step to attracting top candidates is writing a killer job posting.
A job posting is a bit like casting your net into the ocean. If you throw your net too wide, you’re going to spend all your time sorting out good prospects from the bad—which means your net didn’t do a very good job at narrowing down the possibilities. Conversely, if you don’t throw your net wide enough, at the end of the day you’re going to have too few applicants—which won’t be a large enough pool for you to make a good hiring decision. So how do you write a posting that attracts qualified applicants, but isn’t so specific that you only get a handful of responses?
A good job posting is not just a position description. Put yourself in the candidate’s shoes. If you’re a smaller firm, you have to sell the opportunity to work in your organization. The top candidates are looking for a fun environment where they can contribute, learn, and grow personally and professionally. Include a sentence or two describing the culture.
Next, you have to be clear about the skills and experience you are looking for. Candidates aren’t going to waste their time responding to a posting they obviously don’t qualify for. As an employer, you don’t want to be so specific that only 1 or 2 candidates can ever qualify, but you also don’t want your posting to be so broad anyone with a pulse thinks they are the perfect fit. To attract good candidates, you need to translate your wants and needs into concrete descriptions.
Here are some specific items you might want to include (some can be taken from the job description):
• Organization level / reporting responsibility
• Management / motivation requirement
• Degrees or certifications required
• Specific responsibilities or duties held
• Specific skill required, such as familiarity with a certain computer software
• Number of years’ experience in a certain role
When contemplating the requirements of the position, really take time to consider the most important functions and responsibilities of the position. These requirements will be the reason that your net has not been cast wide enough. Consider the position’s essentials, and then deduce what experience and qualities are needed to successfully accomplish these duties. Think about where successful candidates may already be working (even in different industries) and what might attract them to move. For example, if you have flexible work hours, allow work from home or allow pets in the workplace, these might be environmental attributes you may wish to highlight.
It is important to keep in mind that hiring is a two-way street. Not only are you trying to find the perfect candidate for your company, but the candidates are trying to find the perfect company to work for. This is your chance to sell your company to the applicant. Why should they want to work for you? What are the factors that keep you coming back every day?.
Here are some specifics you may want to include when describing your company:
• What are points of pride in your company? (This could be years of service, customer satisfaction, line of work, or even a certain company attitude such as being quirky, or social)
• How will the company advance the applicant’s career?
• What is your company culture?
• How long have you been in business?
• What are your company’s future visions and goals?
It’s also paramount that you follow HR compliance guidelines when posting a position. Unless you enjoy courtrooms, make sure not to include unnecessary requirements that could be construed as discriminatory. For example, don’t say a college degree is required for a clerical position.
Here are some legal considerations you should avoid mentioning:
• National origin
• Sexual/gender preference
• Marital status
• Public assistance status
When you think you’re done writing a killer job posting, ask yourself these questions:
• Have we done a good job of selling the opportunity to work with us?
• Would an applicant get a good picture of what we are looking for?
• Will this post help unqualified applicants screen themselves out?
• Would the candidate you’ve described be attracted to your position at the salary you can pay?
• Would an applicant be excited to work for the organization you described?