Better Job Postings

Career Blog

50. Job DescriptionDear Recruiters – most job seekers understand that you’re busy. After all, you’re one of the few professions that have to do a double sell. You have to sell the candidate on the position and your internal client on the candidate. If either party walks, you must start again either by reaching out to those you’ve kept warm or worse, returning phone in hand to the top of the sales funnel in an effort to feed the ever-ravenous pipeline of potential hires. You can make your life and the lives of applicants easier by convincing hiring managers to put more thought into their job descriptions (JDs).

We all know that HR tends to craft broad based JDs in the hopes of casting a wide net, but that technique usually backfires as attracts a plethora of unqualified candidates. I’m all for thoughtful career changes, but when you’re looking for a nuclear engineer for example you might prefer someone who has a science background over an delusional Simpson’s fan with a BA in Elizabethan poetry. Save your time and sanity by employing these tips for more productive postings.

  1. Specificity: Avoid the phrase “other duties as described”. Candidates understand that not everything will be contained in the JD, but vague descriptions are useless. When describing job duties use clear language and percentages to indicate how important each activity is to the role.
  2. Note Your Deal Breakers: Some recruiters craft wish-list JDs. This can actually prevent qualified candidates from applying. On the other hand, crafting minimum criteria based postings can lead to a large slush pile. Be clear about what is a requirement and what is a nice to have. 
  3. Mind Your Money: It’s never a good idea to nickel and dime your candidates – you want them to join happy. Before posting discuss the level required with the hiring manager. Instead of hiring a VP, perhaps the role can be done by a Director. This adjustment provides for a healthier total cost of work profile and gives the new hire room to grow and develop in the organization.

Job seekers are often optimistic either by nature or necessity. And while you’ll never rid yourself of the 20 something new grad who swears he’s qualified for the C-suite, targeted job-descriptions can help screen out the irrelevant. If you value you your sanity, take time to ask for exactly what you want. Leave it vague and my imagination will run wild. Now if you’ll excuse me I have to go apply for that flight instructor positions. I’ve seen Top Gun plus I recently built a bird feeders. I think it’s a lock.

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