Sep 8, 2023 | Hiring & Retention

How do you decide what to include in a job posting?

Q. Dear Zenagos,
I’m hiring for the first time, and I have no idea what I’m doing. How do you decide what to include in a job posting? Are there some rules of thumb that the pros use?
–Terri

When you post a job, remember that lots of people are going to read it. Every person who reads that posting is a marketing impression, so that job posting is basically an advertisement. Don’t waste this branding opportunity. The job posting should start with a brief paragraph about what your company does and why it’s awesome. Entice people to read more by making them want to work with you. Especially in this hot employment market, employees have a choice – make them want to choose you.

Be Authentic
We don’t recommend that you just ask a generative AI tool to make a job posting and then put that up. You may scan other job descriptions to get ideas, or even to use an AI tool to make a very rough draft, but make sure you edit it to make it truly your own. Employees want to work for someone who is authentic, and AI content can have a flat tone. There’s no point in writing a perfect job posting and then having people come in and find out that you are nothing like your posting. You want every experience that a candidate has with you to reinforce who you are and ring true.

Know the Law
Employment law differs by state, so it’s important to have your hiring process and documents reviewed by a small business attorney who knows the relevant state and local laws. There may be things that it’s not legal to ask a candidate (such as their age or whether they are pregnant), and you may need to post the salary range for the position. You may be wise to include an equal opportunity statement. Upfront legal work is expensive, but it can be a lot less expensive than a lawsuit.

Be Clear about Requirements
If people need to work at a specific location, make sure that is posted under “Requirements” in the posting. Specify the work hours, especially if they are unusual. If travel is required for the role, put in the percentage of their time that people in the role are expected to be on the road. Label hard requirements as “firmly required.” For example, if they will not be considered if they do not hold a particular degree or license, specify that candidates without that requirement will not be considered. Clarity respects everyone’s time.

Don’t Add Unnecessary Requirements
If something is nice to have, but not really required, label it “preferred” or “a plus.” Putting too many requirements in a job posting may eliminate candidates whom you would have liked and may make your candidate pool too small.

Include Frequent Tasks
List the tasks or responsibilities that the role will complete frequently – every day or week. This gives candidates a strong sense for the job. Also, if they are going to work frequently with a particular role, include that, since it may be attractive to know that they will learn from someone with a lot of experience.

Candidates Like to Know about their Development
If the job will include training or the addition of on-the-job skills, make sure to include that. Candidates will be interested in roles that grow their skills and make them more valuable over time. Everyone wants growth opportunities.

Give Yourself Some Flexibility
Every job description should include some reference to “other duties, as assigned.” This means that the candidate will be asked to perform some tasks that are not listed in the posting. Jobs change over time, and you want the flexibility to change the role in response.

Hiring employees for your business is a big step. As an employer, you will be making an important contribution to the economy of your city, state, and country. And, you will have a great deal of influence over and responsibility for your employees’ lives. If you build fantastic relationships with your employees, it will enrich not only your business, but also your life.

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