For many of your applicants, the job posting will provide their first impression of your organization. How you describe the job and workplace will set the tone for future interactions. This job description will also be a reference tool for the candidate you eventually hire.
Given how significant a job posting can be, what can be done to make sure you are sending the right message?
Refresh the job description
Existing job descriptions and previous job postings are excellent starting points for creating your posting. They contain the building blocks for your job description and a guide for how to structure it. For many, a simple copy and paste job may seem sufficient. If you settle for a mere carbon copy of previous postings, however, you are missing an opportunity for improvement.
Use this new task as an opportunity to expand on your team’s current requirements. Meet with prospective team members and those who work closely with that team. Ask them about what desired skills (both hard and soft) would add to the department’s productivity.
Describe the atmosphere
Most job postings give a brief overview of both the company and position before getting into the key qualifications. This introduction gives the reader a chance to understand the culture into which they may be entering.
Give a sense of the day-to-day experience of the position. Will you be working with the public? Will you be handling business to business interactions? Will you often be collaborating with teammates or will you have to work alone with minimal supervision? All these questions will help the applicant determine if they are a right fit for your organization.
Emphasize key job requirements
Your job posting is your wish list for a new hire. While no one applicant is likely to check all the boxes, including “nice-to-have” skills can expand on the potential contributions of each candidate. These extra skills, however, should not be confused with the key qualifications for the position.
Separate your key job requirements and the “nice-to-have” skills into separate sections. The key qualifications should serve as the foundation of each application. Your applicants should be able to focus on and provide examples of their competencies with each requirement.
Avoid flowery and imprecise language when describing the company or the job position. Like a good house listing, your job posting should lean towards the facts.
Keep consistent across postings
Ideally, your organization will have a template for creating a job posting. As with any documentation, consistency across documentation makes it easier for any one document to be scanned for information. If you do not have a template, look at past postings within the organization to see how the posting is structured. If you do not see any consistency between job postings, it may be time to build a standard job posting template.
Set expectations for response
Close out your posting by specifying whether the applicant can expect a response. You may not have the capacity to respond to every applicant. If you can only respond to those applicants selected for an interview, add this information to the posting with a note that you appreciate all interest in the position.
As you go through the hiring process, take notes on what worked and did not work about your application. Did your job description create any confusion? Did some applicants possess skills you later thought would have been a good addition to your posting? Make sure you keep a record and use it for later job postings.