They can’t all be winners.
There are some truly awful job postings out there in the world.
We get the feeling this advertiser is a bit bitter about past experiences pic.twitter.com/PLXwgLmei4
— Really Bad Job Posts (@JobPostShame) December 10, 2015
Surely you’ve seen them, maybe even written a few.
Oh dear! pic.twitter.com/20tiGAmirf
— Really Bad Job Posts (@JobPostShame) December 14, 2015
Hopefully you’ve never applied for any, but desperation is a very real phenomenon.
Are you laughing or cringing? Both? Same.
It doesn’t have to be like this. There are methods and tricks you can use to write a vastly superior job advert. And I don’t just mean spellcheck.
1. Ok, but I do kind of mean spellcheck
As a writer, there is nothing more embarrassing than publishing something with a typo that could have been easily caught by proofreading. You should feel just as embarrassed by a mistake in your job description as I am by mistakes in my blog.
Why be embarrassed over a mistake? Because it’s a mistake that makes you look incompetent. If a typo sneaks through in something as important as a job posting, what else are you letting slip? Are you too lazy to read over your writing, or are you just incompetent? Which one is worse?
Don’t leave your applicants thinking these things of you! Don’t let anything leave your word processor without a thorough proofreading, the more eyes the better.
2. Be detailed
You want a person.
Like, ya know. With a pulse.
And some experience. In stuff. For the job.
Yah. The job.
You do not want to be like that. Gone are the days of a simple sign reading, “Hiring!” Even server jobs at restaurants have detailed online job descriptions. You need to explain the job, explain the office culture, and make sure your applicants understand what it is they’re applying for.
Target your job title specifically. List the duties of the position. Explain how the job fits into the company as a whole. The more your applicants know about the job that they’re applying for, the better their applications will be (and the better of an idea you’ll have of the right fit).
3. Separate “Must-Haves” from “Nice-To-Haves”
You want a go-getter people person with ten years of industry experience and full fluency in Italian. But honestly, the job only needs a relevant degree and literacy in Microsoft Office. It’s ok to ask for both.
List out the aspects you consider completely necessary to the job. The things you don’t have time to train them on, the skills you need them to have. Your list doesn’t have to be the bare minimum, but it should be the baseline of what you can reasonably expect.
And then make another list. Base this list off of an ideal candidate profile you might have for the position. Ask for what you want, the things that would make a candidate be the perfect person.
If that’s more experience, great! If that’s Italian, great! Ask for what you want to see, just make a note indicating these skills are desired, not not mandatory. The specificity might scare off a few basically qualified applicants, but your gumption might also attract just the person you were hoping for.
4. Mention company culture
It’s said that people don’t quit jobs, they quit bosses. Hiring isn’t too different. As much as someone is looking for the right position, they’re also looking for the right organization. If you love everything about a job but hate a company, you wouldn’t want to work there, would you?
No. You’d look for the same job at a better company.
You don’t want a candidate to pass up your job because they have a poor understanding of what your company is like. You don’t have to explain every little aspect or give them the office floorplan, but do explain your office’s environment.
Is the office pretty serious? Laid back? Do you have taco Thursdays? Do you take team outings to bookstores? Are people working from home three days a week? Is there a strict dress code? All of those little details impact day to day life in the office are relevant for your applicants to know so they can get a feel for the company as well as the job.
5. Bullet points are your friend
I’m pretty obviously a big fan of lists. So are my readers. I mean, you’re here and reading, aren’t you? Lists are easy to read, allow you to scan for relevant information more quickly, and let you reference back to previous sections without needing to mark them out.
In other words, your applicants can tell at a glance if they’re qualified and reference back to the application easily during an actual interview. Lists are perfect for job descriptions.
6. Request a cover letter
If you’ve been in hiring for a while, this will likely make you sad even as you understand the truth: cover letters are not the norm anymore. It’s increasingly common for applicants to skip the cover letter altogether.
You should request one anyway.
If nothing else, you should ask for a cover letter to see if they can follow the directions. A cover letter can help determine if they’re just sending out applications to anything they seem vaguely qualified for or if they’ve really invested the time and effort to send out a thoughtful application.
7. Approach your job board like an ad
You’re not writing an explanation of a job. Well, okay, you are. But you’re also writing an advertisement. The ad is for the position itself but also for the company. You need to sell the job, and sell the company. Make people want to work there, not just because they need a job, but because they want this job in particular.
What are your tips for a better job board?
How do you write your job descriptions? Have you made any breakthroughs you’re eager to share? Let me know in the comments below.
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