One mistake people who are just getting into recruiting make is not communicating the precise needs of their client in their job posts. Every job post is a silent first impression that your company makes with its prospective candidates. It’s a way for people to know not only the tasks they will be performing but also a first glimpse of your client’s culture and how it thinks about its employees.
The first step to improving your job postings is to practice good habits around communicating what a new hire will be expected to do. This may sound like the most obvious thing in the world but it is actually a skill that you need to be thoughtful and careful about exercising. At every company there are aspects of daily life that sink into the background and stop being part of your consideration. There are tasks everybody does, idiosyncrasies of your workspace that everybody deals with, and other little quirks of function that you don’t think about. These might serve to attract or discourage applicants. When writing a new position, work your way through what an average day will look like for them. Starting with them walking in the door and ending with them walking out. Ask yourself, “What will someone at this company deal with?” This will help you organize the kinds of tasks a prospective hire will need to have including the training, skills, and personality. This will help you have a better idea of what to look for while the prospects will have a better idea of whether or not they will be a good fit for the company.
The next step to writing a good job posting follows directly off of the first. In addition to detailing what the standard tasks that a hire might have to go through in a normal day, start to ask yourself or your client what the ideal hire would look like. Naturally, this means that you need to look at the kind of skills that your prospects should have if they want to be hired but you should also go deeper than that. Ask yourself what the environment is like and consider what personalities would mesh well with it. Does the team work in cubicles? That works for some people but not others. Is there an open office layout in a shared startup incubator? Again, that’s something you should mention before a poor, introverted prospect arrives for an interview. Different work environments have different merits and you should always consider who would work best in them. This can help you build a list of qualities that an ideal hire should have. Do not feel beholden to follow this list to the letter when pursuing your hire, but keep it in mind when interviewing and when examining cover letters and resumes.
Finally, be conscientious about the language that you use when writing a job posting. Every job posting is a first hint about the culture of your company. Is the company formal or casual? Are there rigid roles or do people wear a lot of different hats? Is the company small or large? Depending on the way you phrase things, you may be communicating either a good hint about the company or giving a false impression of the corporate culture that might attract people who may not be the best fit for the general personality of your company. Before you post a job opening, look over how you’ve written it. Did you use slang? Did you use contractions? Did you use jargon? Using slang and contractions can make your message read less formally and more conversationally while using less jargon and more technical terms can make you seem more formal and strict. Neither of these approaches are wrong, but they give different impressions of your company and attract different applicants.
Hiring will always be a challenge and finding the top talent among a sea of sub-optimal hires will always be easier said than done. By making sure that your job posting properly communicates the needs of your client, you can work to stack the hiring deck in your favor. Job postings are one of those unsung heroes of the hiring process that people never really think about, but if you put effort into your first impressions it can really help your hiring process.