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Four Things to Consider When Writing a Job Posting Or The Importance of Being Honest

Amber Dawn Woods

Amber Dawn Woods

Here are four important things to keep in mind when writing a job posting:

What are you looking for?

So often we finally come to the conclusion that we need to hire somebody, slap a title and a couple of responsibilities on the position, and post it with little to no thought of what we actually need or how this still mythical person will fit in to our current team.

Do yourself a favor, take some time to sit down and figure it out before you start looking. Ask yourself what are your specific needs in this moment? What will they be in a year? What do you need this person to do daily, weekly, and monthly?

What attitudes, behaviors, personality traits do you need to add in order to enhance your team and move your company closer to your goal?

What does a successful employee in this position look like for you? At Alliance Services we define a successful employee as one who adds value to, and enhances, the Company, the Culture and the Team while actively contributing to, and even driving, the organization to meet and exceed set goals. How do you define successful?

Just what are you looking for? If you don’t know, how are you going to find the right person?

Do a full evaluation and determine exactly what and who you’re looking for. And then write it down. Honestly. In detail.

Take a hard look at your ‘requirements’.

Too often job descriptions are littered with ‘must have’s’ and ‘requirements’ that aren’t really required. Do you absolutely, without a shadow of a doubt, honestly and with no wiggle room, need these things in order for an employee to be successful in your organization? If not, change your language or drop it altogether. Some things we initially see as ‘requirements’ are really just skills that a person learns while in the position. Just think of the people you might be eliminating before you ever even get to meet them!

I recently had a candidate apply for an open position, complete a phone interview, pass a behavioral test, and schedule an in-person interview with me. She was well on her way! The day before her interview she emailed me to cancel the interview. Her reason? She re-read the job posting while preparing for the interview and decided she wasn’t qualified for the job and didn’t want to waste my time.

I thanked her for being so considerate but as the person who reviewed her resume and deemed her qualified enough to move up in the process, I was very curious to know what I had missed! So, I asked.

She told me that her Excel skills were beginner level. And wouldn’t you know, under ‘Requirements’ it clearly stated – Intermediate Excel Skills.

Goodness. The right candidate can easily learn on Excel on the job. Excel is teachable. It’s a learned skill, not an inherent trait or competency!

What you place priority on in a job posting MATTERS. And, just a heads up, it could be affecting the diversity of your team! Take a moment to re-evaluate those ‘requirements’.

 Determine what this new employee is worth.

I am always amazed at how many candidates thank me for addressing wage and benefit information in my initial posting, my first phone conversation, AND the first interview. It seems like common sense to me…my job is to sell a company and a position to a qualified buyer (candidate). Why wouldn’t I give them all the information they need to want to jump on board?

But the truth is there’s still a multitude of employers posting positions without wage or benefit information. And at the same time, there’s advice circling for candidates saying, ‘whatever you do, don’t bring up wage or benefit questions until the second or third interview’!

So, let me get this straight…you want to post a position with no wage or benefit information and you’ll be offended if a candidate asks about wage or benefit information until the second or third interview?! Well goodness, how is anyone supposed to know if no one’s allowed to say or ask?

Look, as business owners we don’t want anyone to waste our time. We have so little of it! And so much to do. So why waste anyone else’s?

If you think it gives you more room for negotiation, then I’d ask you, how much is your time worth, again? Not to mention, WHY are you planning on negotiation?! You know what this position is worth to your company. You know what you can and cannot afford to pay. If you are not willing and able to be honest and open and invest in the future of your company, why do you expect your future employees to?

Do everyone a favor and just put it out there. You will attract the talent that you can afford. You will save time. And you will show candidates that you are straightforward, able to be trusted, and focused on moving your company forward by investing in great people.

Don’t forget to paint the picture!

Now that you know who you’re looking for, what you’re looking for and what they’re worth to you, it’s time to paint the picture! Show a little personality. Be honest. Share your culture, your values, your mission. Remember that when all is said and done, a candidate must still choose you. What are you sharing that will inspire your next rock star to apply?

Amber Dawn Woods