Surviving HR: Creating powerful jobs listings

I hire for a variety of entry and mid level positions at my company.  We are a small production business of 15 to 20 employees that is growing at a rate of 30-50% annually.  Finding employees who share our values and work ethic is important to keep the balance in our little family.  I have used all the main job posting sites; Craigslist, Facebook jobs, Indeed, and Monster. I have had some hugely successful jobs post campaigns and some that received only a few applicants.  I have tweaked my ad posts numerous times playing with the length, the requirements, the introduction/hook, and my litmus questions. I would like to say that I have figured out the magic formula to obtain the best candidates leading to hiring only top notch employees, but I would be lying to you. What I have learned are a few tricks that make listing jobs more fruitful for those of us hiring for production, office, and basic skilled trade positions. For those hiring for upper management and professional positions, this may not be a helpful post, but I hope you’ll read it anyways.

Writing a job post:
A well written job post is an art form.  You have to make it fun yet professional, descriptive yet short enough to hold the average millennial’s attention.

1. Start the post by introducing your company in a way that projects your company’s values and mission.  What is the environment like? Who are the coworkers? What does your company stand for?

2. Give a brief description of the position. Make it clear and interesting to draw the reader in and want to apply.

3. Describe the ideal candidate and the attributes they possess. No I don’t mean “6’2″, chiseled jaw line, brown hair”. Something more like “enjoys variety and challenges in their day and is a team player”.

4. List the job’s daily tasks as bullet points that are clear yet descriptive. Keep it to 5-8 items, anything more will be skimmed by the reader.

5. Explain the positions requirements, again as bullet points. List any and all requirements you have for an applicant to be considered for this position.

6. List the hours, benefits, and pay (people are more likely to apply when they know the jobs pay grade).

7. Include information on how to apply to the position.  I like to include what I call a litmus question such as “whats your favorite color?” to see which applicants actually read the entire listing.  Guess what?! Only about 20% actually answer my litmus test question.  I don’t know about you but for my company we want people who are excited to apply for your position rather than those who are just throwing resumes at a wall and seeing what sticks.

8. PROOF READ YOUR LISTING!  I actually had an applicant tell me in her cover letter that she clearly has great attention to detail (one of my requirements) because she found three grammatical errors in my listing.  My first thought was “wow that was rude”, and my second was “wow I really should not have rushed through writing this post”.  Did I interview her?  Not at first, I was too embarrassed and didn’t need her picking apart my interview too!  Then I thought about it and decided I was being immature so I emailed her for an interview…she already found another job.

Now that you have your job listing ready its time to talk about what sites you should use based on the type of position you are looking to fill…(continued in my next post).

What are some of your go to tips for creating an attractive job post?

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One thought on “Surviving HR: Creating powerful jobs listings

  1. Great article, I admit that I leave it up to our talent and acquisitions department to jazz up the job postings, I think it’s time I rethink that.
    I recently read an article that there are now more job openings then job seekers.

    I needed to be reminded to add an element of fun to the job posting, or at least something to indicate what the work environment would be like. Your litmus test is a great idea!

    I’m looking forward to part 3


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