101: Job Posting Tips


Recruiting is a numbers game. You need as many people as possible to know you’re hiring. If a thousand people see your posting, you’ll be lucky if a hundred apply. And for every hundred applying, it’s likely only one will be a high potential candidate. That is “needle in a haystack” territory. How can you expose your open position to the masses but focus only on the ones that matter?

Take the time to be creative and detailed. Great candidates can choose where they want to work, they don’t apply everywhere, and they aren’t attracted to postings that look like all the rest.  Luckily, there isn’t much thought behind most postings.

In your posting, explain what your company does and why. Reflect on your culture and give examples of why you’re great to work for.  Sell the company. Detail how the new hire will help the company’s quest to dominate the industry. Be entertaining. Be frank. Set aside real time to think about the new hires’ responsibilities and skills.  What certifications or education do they need to have? What might their other interests be? Do they really need to have experience or just have the potential? Scrutinize the posting and edit away anything generic or implied, such as ‘excellent communication skills.’  If you change your idea for the role after meeting applicants, you can always update the description.

Add filtering questions to the posting.  An amazingly efficient way to get the cream to rise to the top is to create some simple hurdles in your posting.  The vast majority of applicants don’t know about your company or care about your job - you are just a victim of their resume spamming. You want people that want you. Moreover, candidate responses provide invaluable insight. For example, ask applicants to name their favorite of your products and why. Think of a question specific to the skill set of the job or even something fun, like the last book they enjoyed.  The way they respond provides an immediate screening tool and helps gauge genuine interest.

Post strategically.  Craigslist is a consistent favorite and reliable high traffic site in just about all major parts of the country.  For lower volume and higher quality candidates, I first go to niche job boards appropriate for your industry and location (for me, this is Startuply and NextNY). Go to where your ideal hire might lurk - if you are looking for a QA Manager, start with devBistro or QAjobs, for example.

Target people already in your community by using Twitter, LinkedIN and Facebook.  These are easy to do yourself and are often patrolled by candidates that would be a great fit. Be creative! Post at local Universities, hold an open house, or host a Meetup on a topic related to your opening. Seriously consider offering a healthy internal referral bonus. Referred employees are most accurately prepared for what they are getting into and already have someone on the inside supporting them.

Re-post.  Remember, it’s a numbers game. Your ideal candidate might browse the web only once a week.  You need to post multiple times in the same place to increase the odds they see your posting. An insider shared statistics showing job searches happen most on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.

Follow up quickly.  Identify top candidates quickly and get back to them. The good ones always go quick. Prepare for what will happen next - from follow up interviews to reference checks.  Communicate frequently, honestly and kindly. Remember, adding someone to your team is an important decision and making the wrong decision can be costly and unproductive. Making the right decision can give your company an enormous boost internally and externally.

More By Matt Cholerton
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