Writing a Job Posting

Job postings: Yes, No, and Are You Kidding?

I often remind job candidates to make sure their resume is the best possible calling card for their professional life. Job postings are an under-appreciated facet of your brand’s professionalism, and you need to spend just as much time writing a job posting as your candidates do composing their resumes.

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Consider carefully your minimum requirements. Skills and responsibility bars set too low will produce a disappointing candidate pool, and requirements written to exclude all but the most overqualified candidates will give you too few choices. Carefully write the parameters considering your ideal candidate and the not-quite-there candidates you want to see.

Check similar posts from rivals and others hiring for similar positions. You know what you want your candidate to be able to do, but are you being reasonable in your requirements? Too lax? Are you defining as carefully as possible the candidate whom you’d like to hire or do you want more candidates because you’ll know the right resume when you see it? If many people in the industry have started referring to project managers as producers, consider adding that word to your title. If other jobs with the same basic parameters require an advanced degree, decide whether you’d like to be the company who extends an opportunity to a great candidate with less schooling. Do most employers consider similar jobs entry level, senior level, or something in between? Are other employers requiring more technical skills than you are? Comparison shopping will help you be more sure about whom you are targeting with your post, as well as more sure about what you’re requiring from your future employee or contract service provider.

Remember your style guide and brand book. If you have a style guide that specifies tone, voice, grammar, spelling, and punctuation standards, use it. A job posting is a window for the outside world to peer into your company and every word I it speaks volumes about whom you hire, how you view them, and what culture you cultivate. Be meticulous, even if you think the job will be filled by the end of the week.

Eliminate jargon and acronyms. Your ideal candidate will be indoctrinated into your proprietary language soon enough. But for now, you’re speaking a foreign language to them. Cull the jargon and replace with simple English while you’re seeking candidates who can best fit your needs.

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Consider requesting specific information. If you want more than the standard cover letter to accompany the flood of resumes soon to arriving in your inbox, give the candidates a task for their cover letters. Asking job seekers to include their philosophy on social media, give an example of their best advertising campaign, or include a story of how they created a solution for a previous employer will jump start the interview process and yield writing samples you will find useful in the culling process.

Proofread your post. That includes having Human Resources check it, the manager who will supervise the position check it again, and then someone not involved in the hiring process proofread it a third time. Posting a job with grammar or spelling errors is almost guaranteed to lose you the most qualified candidates. Highly skilled candidates don’t want to work for a company that can’t be bothered to proofread.

Keep your options open. After you write a stellar job posting, if you have trouble wading through the mob of unqualified candidates and few qualified candidates, you can always call in a staffing consultant like me. Interviewing all the candidates who seem as though they’re a good match for the position is a time-consuming process, and it’s often a job companies feel good about outsourcing because it saves time, money, and headache. Write a great job posting, wade through the submissions, interview the most likely matches, and hope for a good fit. Or call me.

—Mary Harvey

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