As President of Inside Talent, Inc., a Minnesota-based search firm that provides a new kind of corporate recruiting and hires local and national talent in the manufacturing, engineering, medical device, sales and management, marketing and human resources industries, Lori Freeman is well-versed in how to use job postings correctly as a tool to find talent.
She has seen the good, bad and ugly of job postings and their results and below she discusses six crucial things every job posting should include:
The Right Title
Some companies have unique job titles or titles that don’t reflect the norm in their industry. For example, Freeman points out one large company that gives their sales professionals the title of Marketing Representative.
“If I was looking for a sales job I probably wouldn’t apply for this role assuming it was in marketing,” says Freeman. “Even if you can’t officially change the job title use the one in your job posting that will attract the right backgrounds.”
Do this by referring to the actual title in your summary: The Account Executive (or Marketing Representative) will…”
“People search most often by job title and then read on,” says Freeman. “Don’t let the right people get away.”
A Great Job Summary
People not only want to know what the basic job is but also get a feeling for what the company culture is like, says Freeman. The point of a posting is to attract people to your open job, so if your summary only includes the basic job overview, you’re missing a great opportunity.
“The primary purpose of this position is…” kind of description does nothing to say ‘hey here’s why you should look into this job’ and unless you really are a stuffy group who cares only about getting some job duties accomplished then be more real, says Freeman. Use personal words like ‘we’ and ‘you’ in the summary to show you’re real people and to draw the potential candidate in.
Only true requirements
While all recruiters, HR professionals and business owners receive the occasional application from a Taco Bell cashier for a senior or highly skilled role, Freeman believes there’s many truly qualified people who should be applying for our jobs but don’t. For example, after many years of placing hundreds of engineers which have coincided with hundreds of conversations about placing those engineers, Freeman has seen how their analytical skills help them succeed at their work, but can get in the way when it comes to deciding on which jobs to apply to. If something in your ‘requirements’ list is not really a requirement then leave it out or move it to a ‘nice to have’ or ‘preferred’ section.
“Your job description for posting purposes is not a legal document, but instead a tool to attract the right people,” says Freeman. “Your job is to determine who the right people are and that’s where the hands-on time consuming work of recruiting comes in. By trying to make your job easier by weeding out those who don’t fit you may be losing out on some top performers because they have weeded themselves out.”
“While we do want to cast a wide net in order to have the option of narrowing the pool to have the opportunity to screen and entice a great candidate, we don’t want to create a situation where everyone in the state applies to the position,” says Freeman. She points out the many job descriptions, even for very specific and technical high level roles, that don’t say much more than “Bachelor’s Degree and 5 years of experience.”
“Do this and you’re asking for half of all people who see the posting to apply,” says Freeman. “Even me. There’s a balance between getting into too much detail and lacking it completely.”
The Specific Location
While it’s often best not to give every detail of the job Freeman says that more often than not location is something that will make or break the deal. No matter how great the fit or how much the candidate may want the job, when it comes down to it most people will not drive what they consider to be too great a distance to get to work. This is relative so find out where they drive to now, says Freeman.
“Some people have driven long distances all their lives but that’s rare,” she adds. “Worst of all this often will really not become a reality to the candidate until the latter stages of an interview process and by that time you’ve put in a considerable amount of effort and may have even stopped sourcing, thus you end up starting over. People think they can talk themselves into driving a great distance but when reality gets closer almost everyone will lean toward quality of life and no one wants to spend their life in a car.”
If you really are interested in finding the right person, not just the first interested candidate who comes along, that’s going to take a combination of digging into their background, skills and personality while at the same time holding their interest in the role – often referred to as the “art and science of recruiting.”
And that means you need to actually talk to them. Yes, on the phone, Freeman says. Create some intrigue in your job description. Most jobs are very straightforward but the scenario the job fits into is always unique. Find that piece and then allude to it. What is it about the culture of the company you should be promoting? Are you moving into a new market soon? Is there a defined career path for this person? Are you going to be introducing a new product or service soon?
“Create some intrigue with this and give the person a reason to apply just to learn more,” says Freeman.
The quality of your job posting and the information in that job posting can greatly affect the quality – good and bad – of candidates who apply. Write job postings that provide the key elements you need, but be flexible enough to understand all job postings are not set in stone. Learn what works for your company and use that language and information to attract and hire the best candidate for your company.