Job Postings

While reading a job posting nothing bothers me more than reading a list of sought after qualifications that are so generalized in nature that you are left wondering if the recruitment officer or manager even knows what the job does.

It’s important to remember that a job posting is an introduction to your organization and it is meant to attract the applicant’s attention while still providing them with a clear idea of what expectations you have of someone who might fill the job. Also, the job posting should be used to develop the selection criteria. If you are clear and concise regarding your expectations in the ad, it should make your selection process that much easier as well.

Putting time and thought into the recruitment process is not only good practice, but it also saves you plenty of time and money in the end.

It’s important before posting a job ad that we first understand what the job is via a job analysis. Using that data create a proper job description outlining the specific KSAs needed to perform the job. Once you have this information you can create a job ad that is specific to the qualifications needed. This will ensure you attract the right talent and don’t waste the time of both the recruiter and the applicants.

I recall a time when I was working with an organization where the manager placed an ad seeking cooks. The ad simply read, “Cook needed” and the name of the restaurant along with the phone number.  We had hundreds of resumes and phone calls flood the restaurant with candidates who had all levels of skill and a variety of experiences. The manager was overwhelmed by the response and complained it would take a week to go through all the applications we had received, which is why they enlisted me to assist them in screening.

Even with the two of us screening the applications it did still take a week to go through all the resumes. At first it was difficult to understand what specific skills the manager had in mind and consistency was difficult to maintain. In the end we did find qualified candidates to interview and eventually hired someone, but it was a long process and costly in time to both me and the manager.

Another aspect to consider is the amount of labour that was required to navigate through the recruitment process also cost the organization money. Rather than paying the manager and myself to engage the customers and ensure they were satisfied; we were being paid to sit in an office and filter through paper that was mostly irrelevant. When I asked, “Why wasn’t an ad placed that was more specific?” the response I received was “It is too expensive”. If 10 hours each of our wages was cheaper than the ad how expensive could the ad be? I still believe the ad would not have cost more than our combined wages and the cost of lost productivity.

In hindsight what would I have placed in the ad? Keeping in mind that ads were placed only in the daily periodicals back then, I think it would have looked more like this:

“Organization name and address: Cook needed, Demonstrated 3 yrs exp garde-manger, soups, sauces and full dinner service and prep req. Exp with broiler, fryers, ovens, range, meat slicer and knives. Must be team player. Must present as clean, courteous and customer focused.”

Today however a job posting would look different with the advent of internet job boards and social media advertising. We are able to create fantastic ads without concern of character spaces used and the high cost of print ads. More and more companies are even including such things as recruitment videos depicting the work environment along with their online ads.

So what would I include in an ad today?

The ad should fit on one page and should be specific to the KSAs required for the role. To get the attention of applicants use a good headline. It’s important to make sure the ad itself also complies with all legislation requirements and that no mistakes are made. It might also be worth communicating with the marketing area of the organization to see if any particular branding or logos might be available.

Here are areas of a job posting that should be included:

Job title – Yes this seems obvious yet for some reason there are still people who choose not to tell us what the job is.

Type of employment – Full time, part time, term, these are considerations an applicant needs to make before applying for a role. Why would you waste your time interviewing candidates only interested in full time work for a part time position?

Organization description – Many people in the upcoming workforce want to know they are working for a company or doing a job that will make a difference in the lives of others somehow. Tell us about your organization and why the work this job accomplishes matters.

Position description – Provide a brief summary of the position. This should include the main areas of responsibility and a broad sense of the duties required to fulfill those accountabilities.

Compensation – What salary and benefits are offered in your organization? If there is a salary range then indicate what it is. People have bills to pay and there is no sense in interviewing someone if they are not willing to work within the range available to that position.

Required and desired qualifications – This is an area where it is best to be as specific as possible as it will likely assist you in creating your selection criteria. Don’t use vague statements like “experience in hospitality”. Instead define what type and how much experience you are looking for in particular skill sets. Many people are able to bring transferable skills with them from other industry settings that they can apply directly to most environments regardless of the industry.

Deadline to apply – You should be clear when the deadline is for applicants to apply for the job. If you leave this open you might be inundated with applications well after you have hired someone. Often job ads on the internet stick around well after they have expired so be clear about this.

How to apply – It is amazing how many organizations continue to list ads without indicating to people how to submit their application. If your organization is moving to a paperless system make sure you let people know what website they should apply with or what email they should send their application to.

Did this assist you in creating your job ad? Can you think of any other aspects of a job ad that I may have left out? What pet peeves do you have when reading job ads? Let me know!

This entry was posted in Human Resources, Job Design, Management, Recruitment and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Job Postings

  1. Pingback: Job Descriptions | Colin Finlay, CHRP

  2. Chau Le says:

    Nicely written Colin.

  3. Pingback: Screening Your Applicants | Colin Finlay, CHRP

  4. Pingback: Interviewing a Candidate | Colin Finlay, CHRP

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