You need to hire. There's no time to waste. You're losing money every day that goes by without another qualified employee in place.
You need to post a job description that will quickly attract applicants. You want your pick at the best talent 24-48 hours after you make the job public.
In order to get these results, you're going to have to ditch the traditional methods of creating a job description. Most job descriptions are crap. They are completely boring and don’t give enough detail about the company or the job being offered.
Even a quick Google search on how to write an effective job description results in boring, blah articles that do not show you how to truly be effective in attracting the right applicants.
That’s why I’m going to give 5 tips for writing a kick-ass public job description that does the hard work for you.
Posting an awesome job description will not only get you tons of applicants, it will attract the ones you want.
How you ask? The applicants you really want to talk to will identify with your post so much that they will go above and beyond to show you how they are a good fit without any effort on your part. And those are the exact people you want to be talking to. They’ll be handed to you on a silver platter.
Without further ado, here are 5 tips for writing a job description that attracts the best applicants.
1. Create an enticing headline
The title/header of your job description should be the title you are giving to the new hire (i.e. VP of Operations). Under that, add a subheader that draws attention and makes the reader want to read more.
Try using a question that sheds some light about the company and/or the offer, such as “Are you ready to lead operations for the fastest growing light manufacturer in the U.S.?” or “Are you a Ruby Developer? Do you LOVE It??”
It doesn’t hurt to show some enthusiasm and drum up some excitement off the bat. The subheader also allows you to give readers a sneak peak into what the job is all about.
2. Show off your culture
It’s important that reading your job description allows someone to gain insight into who you are as a company, what you stand for, and your company culture.
In doing this, you’re helping people identify with your company, attracting those who get and appreciate your culture and weeding out those who are turned off by it. (Yes, it’s a good thing to detract people from your description, it saves you time).
If you have Core Values (if you don’t, you should), list them and give a brief explanation for each. Write about any mottos or traditions you have as a company. Write about how your teams work together and what your structure looks like. Write about how you approach clients and what you truly believe in. Write about what excites people already working at your company.
You don’t have to write a novel. And this type of writing isn’t just for companies with ping pong tables and beer Fridays. You’re simply trying to express your company “attitude”. Write just enough about your company and the type of environment your employees experience so that it’s easier for applicants to get a sense as to whether or not they would fit in and enjoy working with you.
3. Write well
Often times someone who writes a job description tries to be brief and all HR about it. Yes, job descriptions can be used as a legal document and of course should be taken seriously. But this doesn’t mean it has to be dry, boring and sparse.
Focus on writing really good content. Again, those who don’t jive with it will stop reading and not apply. But those who are drawn in will keep reading, understand where you are coming from and apply. Don’t be afraid to actually write something worth reading.
So go ahead and write paragraphs that really explain what you’re seeking and who you are as a company and don’t be afraid of writing too much. Yes, you’re going to need bullet points, (more on this below) but that doesn’t mean you can’t also have fun and engaging content throughout your post.
4. Make a sales pitch
Write your public job description like a sales letter. After all, you are selling your company and your opportunity. You are actually trying to get a direct response and/or action from people (just like the goal of a sales letter).
I know what some people are thinking: “Why do I have to try so hard to sell the job, I don’t want someone if I have to hard sell them for their consideration."
Well, you’re wrong. You do have to do some selling in order to attract the right people. This doesn’t mean creating smoke and mirrors and hiding the truth. (And if you think that’s what sales is, you’re wrong on that too).
You are making a pitch. You want people to read your entire job post and then take action. And remember, your hiring/interviewing process will then do the work of weeding out unqualified applicants and ensuring you hire the right person.
A good sales letter speaks to the reader like they are talking to a friend at the bar. It keeps people reading to the bottom of the page. It gives a clear and direct call to action at the bottom (i.e. apply now by doing X).
Think “sales” and you’ll make your job description more effective.
5. Nail down the job roles and requirements
Make sure to take the time to identify the responsibilities for the position as well as the requirements.
The responsibilities should be in bullet form and be concise, always starting with a verb and written in present tense. (i.e. Develop incentive structures for all staff that are consistent with company goals).
Be sure the responsibilities are well thought out and include only the most important functions of the role. These are the things that person must do and be responsible for, no matter what, in order to be an effective piece of the larger organization.
Nailing down the responsibilities for the position helps applicants understand what they are getting into and will help weed people out that aren’t qualified.
Doing this also ensures you understand what you are looking for. If you find you can only be vague and general in this section, then you shouldn’t be posting a job. Go back with your team and make sure there’s actually a seat in your company that needs to be filled.
Create a separate bulleted section for job requirements. These are the things that you absolutely need in order to consider hiring someone (i.e. experience in X, certified in Y, etc.)
Don’t make requirements just for the sake of making requirements. Just make a short list of those must haves so everyone involved in your hiring process and all your applicants are aware of them.
You’ll be checking on those requirements as applicants come in and will use them to weed people out. Because of this, if being certified in X is really just a nice to have and not absolutely necessary, don’t add it to this list (you can always add a “Nice to Have” list below the list of Requirements).
So there you have it. Tips you can use to craft your next public job description so that you will never fall short on highly qualified individuals that you can hire for your next open seat.
Does anyone have other tricks they use when writing a job description that has been proven to attract the right applicants? Comment away!
I find the hardest moments with my son, who is now a toddler, are the times when I'm most happy to be with him.
When I remember to not get annoyed and not rush angrily through a temper tantrum, wishing my son would just be easier...when I just live in that moment and just be there with him at the time when he appears he's at his worst, I am able to remain positive about my explosive 2 year old.
I know I will look back at those moments as important - more important than the times when we were happily playing with blocks or giggling. I'll know those were the moments when he needed a present, level headed mom and I'll view those moments as the best quality time I could ask for with my son.
The are many aspects to being a strong leader. One is inspiring and motivating others in a particular direction. Leaders tend to be positive and upbeat. They don't let failure get them down and they keep their eyes on the future.
I've seen these traits in a lot of great leaders. The harder trait of leadership is the ability to make change and create movement from one place to another - business growth, a championship team, shipping a product.
This aspect of leadership requires thoughtfulness and strategy. It's the execution side of the equation, the side that reaches the goal line. It's about choosing the right people to join the pack to get from point A to point B. It's knowing how to get them there. It's about making a plan and setting the framework so that collectively the group wins.
A good leader can inspire. A great leader creates a winning team.
Accountability is one of the most underrated traits of a company. People, of course must be accountable for their particular responsibilities, but it starts with the company creating a culture of accountability.
Companies do this by ensuring everyone has a job description with 5 key roles/responsibilities. You should be able to walk up to anyone in the company, ask them what they do and they should repeat those 5 things.
Along with this list of key responsibilities are metrics for everyone in the company. Everyone must have at least one number (most will have more) that they are working toward and is tracked on a weekly/monthly basis. It could be a customer satisfaction score, gross profit number or # of leads generated.
This now is the company's foundation for building an accountable firm. It is now easy to understand why each employee exists in the company and exactly how he/she is contributing to its overall success.
The Webster Dictionary defines politics in the following ways:
So by definition, politics is less about the tactics (the how) that are employed in a government and more about the science, or the systematic study and observation of the government itself and who should control and influence it. Politics is about the art of influence, it is not the actionable items that can be taken in order to affect policy.
So even though politics is really a game that is learned and played using different strategies and approaches, and not the actual performance of work within the government, we still get wrapped up in each party's rhetoric.
I'm not trying to dismiss the idea of politics, that's not my point. Of course it is necessary for people to be persuaded and influenced by ideas in order for change to happen and tactics to be employed. So I'm calling out the obvious a bit, but like to remind myself that politics, by definition, means that candidates running for office are most concerned about how the game is played.
Media fuels this and feeds the fire that is polarizing our people. One time a friend of mine said she hated me when she found out what party I was affiliated with. Little did she know that I sided with her on most issues. Instances like that make me agnostic. I didn't even bother trying to defend myself when I knew it was just media and politics driving her comment.
As I continue to watch the presidential race unfold, I can't help but feel that I just want to cut through the political fluff and get to the part where a bunch of people have to work together and run a business we refer to as the Government.
Seth Godin taught me something today. Well, I've heard the same thing from some of my other inspirational favorites, but for some reason Seth's comment stuck.
He said on Tim Ferris's podcast that everyone should blog every single day. He said that people need to observe and notice things, every single day, and write about it.
Seth said that keeping a daily diary is the same thing, but the reason he urges you to write a blog post is because it's public. It's easy to hide behind a diary. You can't hide behind a published piece of work on the internet. So it's like look, I said this 6 months ago, and thought about this 2 years ago, and here's what I thought about this week.
I find that I have great ambitions to write more and to put my "work" out into the world more often, to teach what I want to teach, and provide value, and serve others with strengths that I think I have.
Then I freeze.
I wonder what people will think. Then I realize I have no followers, no one is going to read this anyways, so why even write it. And when I get over that I decide that what I have to say isn't good enough, smart enough, insightful enough, different enough. And then I realize I am nobody. And back to frozen.
Seth happens to be super popular and a thought leader. He talks and people listen. Of course he can tell anyone to blog every day.
Frozen even more.
Then I realize if I don't unfreeze, I'll never begin to unfold and untangle the thoughts in my head. I will never give myself a chance to come up with something thought provoking, something of value.
I will never do good work unless I start.
So I've melted.
And now I'm going to write.
I posted this story on Linkedin yesterday. You can view it here or read on below...
Someone once told me:
Never miss out on a chance to talk to a CEO.
His take was that even if you’re an intern or miles away from the CEO on the organizational chart, if she or he is in your office or you have any chance of seeing him/her, why not start a conversation? Share an idea. Come up with something smart to say about the industry you're in. Ask for his/her take.
Choosing to approach these leaders puts you top of mind and shows that you are ambitious, proactive, and interested in learning and solving problems. It's great practice figuring out how to approach and start a good conversation with a leader.
Many of us (including myself) have never thought of approaching the CEO at our place of work, even if her door is always wide open. And if the thought has crossed our minds, we’re often scared as hell to start a conversation.
Once being one of those scared employees, I now know to never miss a chance to have even a five-minute chat with a CEO. These conversations have helped me grow and build confidence, and led to me working side by side with these leaders.
And now I have some great takeaways and learnings. I thought I'd share what I’ve learned from talking to and observing CEO’s. Feel free to add to this list:
They are great listeners – The best thing I’ve learned through CEO’s is that you don’t make it to the top by talking. You make it by listening and making keen observations. The CEO’s I know and admire are active listeners.
They ask a lot of questions, even ones that they should know – Not only have I noticed a lot of listening, but also a lot of question asking from the CEO’s I know. Asking a lot of questions usually means ditching your ego. Asking questions tells others that you don’t have an answer, and many people have a hard time asking questions because of this. I’ve found that CEO’s are fearless about asking questions, even ones to which they might know the answer. Why would they do that and risk looking dumb? Good CEO’s know that it’s worth it to hear from a variety of people and get the chance to hear many different answers. In this way, they are constantly learning and obtaining information.
They read a lot – This coincides with asking a lot of questions. CEO’s read a lot to continue the learning process and obtain as much information as possible so that they can solve problems.
They are great conversationalists – I think it takes great people skills to get to a CEO position. Talking with a CEO is always a good time. Even more reason to start a conversation!
They aren’t afraid to recall and talk about their failures – The CEO’s I know never miss a chance to discuss and even laugh with others about their failures. Smart CEO’s know their failures are the only reason for their success. Brilliant CEO’s know they need to remain humble and remember where they started, when things weren’t always going so great.
Now of course other leaders in your office can have similar traits and habits. But when it comes to CEO's, I think it’s worth it to not just read about the greats like Jack Welch, but to take any opportunity to chat with the one sitting right in front of you. You never know where it may lead. Would you agree?
My mom tells me the story about when I first learned to write. I generally was an ambidextrous child, and decided to write with both of my hands, instead of just one.
Well apparently while in kindergarten I would write one line of text from left to right with my right hand, followed by a line of text from right to left with my left hand. So every other line I wrote was backward (as we all know, we read from left to right).
So my teacher told my mom that I have to pick a hand. I don't remember this conversation, but I guess I chose my right.
I told this story to someone not too long ago, and she replied with an interesting comment. She said, "wow, your creativity as a child was completely suppressed!"
She made an interesting point. My untrained, non-jaded brain as a 4 year old chose to do something in a different way. Not just stick with one, dominant hand but rather exercise both. However, I was forced by my superiors to do things the "right" way.
Ok, well I grew up getting mostly A's in school and getting into and graduating from an affordable college that I wanted to attend and following that up with a graduate degree. Rule following can be good and often necessary.
But this story made me think. Thinking outside of the box has always been in me but over time I became just another constant rule follower. It took almost 25 years to pass before I realized that in doing this I may have lost the instinctive, creative ability with which I was born.
Abilities to do things like create a business, do something I'm passionate about and be happy and successful by my standards and not just everyone else's who are just following the herd.
So was it a good thing that i was forced to write with one hand? I'm not sure. Maybe if my teacher and parents didn't introduce to me this structure I would be struggling today to keep order in my life, find jobs and deal with challenges deliberately and practically. Maybe not.
What i do know is that it never hurts to flex our creative muscles as adults. Maybe every once and a while we should pretend to be 4 years old again.
Are you afraid of asking for a raise at work?
Not only do employees often feel uncomfortable chatting about money with their boss, but many times managers feel just as uncomfortable when forced to speak about this with their employees.
It can be scary, awkward and uncomfortable to talk about money. Unfortunately, to get better at it, you have to make yourself a bit uncomfortable for a while. It's not easy, but it's possible to get better at asking for more money and seeing more dollar signs come your way in return!
So I'm going to offer some advice in this post. And it may not be for you. If you don't apply this specific approach, that's okay. My main point I'd like to get across here is that we can think differently about pay. And once you start thinking differently, the asking part starts to become easier.
First, let's break down this idea of salary into a more simple concept. Salary or earnings from a job is a simple exchange of dollars for services. When you get a job, you do what your job description says, and in return, you get paid. Now, you may get away with getting paid and not doing your job, or not doing it very well, but for the purposes of this post let's keep it black and white: services rendered --> payment received.
So there comes a time while you're working your job, delivering your agreed upon services, when you feel you should be making more money for what you are offering your employer. You feel you are providing more value and output than what you're being paid.
What do you do?
You could wallow in your own pity and complain under your breath that you do way too much for the company and are accepting way too little money in exchange.
You could whine to your coworkers and friends that your job sucks and doesn't pay enough.
You may even go as far as mentioning to your boss that you want or need more money ("you know, it's not cheap living in New York City..."). And your boss very well may reply, "we just don't have money in the budget for any raises this year."
All these things will not do you any good. They do not get to the point of what money is all about: Services rendered --> Payment received.
In order for a boss or manager to even consider offering a raise, they need to be told, and shown in a very clear way WHY they should raise your pay. They run (or manage) a business. Your salary is a line item in their business.
The business wouldn't choose to buy a random piece of Sales Software or new set of computers without first researching all options, their features, benefits and COST, would they? No.
You are no different than a fancy new CRM your company wants to buy and implement.
So you have to show YOUR features, benefits and costs, so they can weigh their options and see if you're worth it.
You can't assume that your boss recognizes this without slapping them in the face with it. And if they do notice all the things you do, exactly how you provide value and why you are a strong contributing member of the business, then you still have to prove to them why you should get paid more money (so they can have a solid leg to stand on when they have to advocate for you to their own boss).
Start thinking of yourself as an asset to the company. Do they want to lose you? Or pay you more? Are the benefits you provide them worth the payout?
You'll notice that all this will not work if you are just going about your job, not contributing anything special and barely delivering on your deliverables. Believe it or not, you have to work to get paid more. You have to prove yourself.
First, list, draw, or diagram all the things that you deliver to the company that is part of your job description. Then under all those things, be sure to represent how you are meeting or exceeding those deliverables.
Second, add in anything outside of your job description that you currently do/deliver. Again, under these items detail how you are meeting or exceeding these deliverables (be as specific as possible, using numbers, percentages and objective remarks wherever possible).
Then, if you really want to make a point, list out items that you'd like to add to your deliverables list, and create a mini action plan of how you see yourself carrying those things out to benefit the company.
Now, you may not be able to do this based on what your job is, but it's always promising for managers to see an employee provide ideas in a thought out and actionable manner. Even if these ideas are not or can't be used, you will be seen as more valuable because you are thinking outside the box and are acting like a committed member of the team ready to help the business move forward.
Managers and employers want problem solvers. They want people who take action. Problem solvers get paid what they want.
Finally, come up with a dollar number that equates to the worth you just drew out on a piece of paper. After explaining your diagram/list to your boss, you'll ask for that dollar number.
What if this doesn't work?
You may be yapping that all this work may not give you the raise you want. But think of it this way - what's the worst that can happen? Your boss says no? Ok, then you go back to work as usual and start searching for a job that will pay you what you believe you are owed.
You get fired? Not likely at all. Showing your value in a thought out and truthful manner will certainly not risk you getting fired. Remember, you're having an open, honest and frank discussion here with your manager. No one can fault you for that.
Even if you do not get a salary bump, what you have done is created something useful. You could show your fancy diagram to a new potential employer to show how you changed and/or helped a former company. You have written out your current value. That's not a bad thing. Learn from it. Use it to help you grow and figure out how to make positive change and progress at your current or next company.
And now that you have ideas of more ways you can provide value at your company, you can try to negotiate a raise after implementing some or all of this plan.
Remember, it all starts with you. Do the tough homework first. Then ASK.
This photo is most definitely not me. Whoever it is, good for you!
I am currently 39 weeks pregnant and stopped running somewhere between 20 and 24 weeks.
From what I gather, every woman is going to be different. Some runners will run well past 6 months, some I've heard have to force themselves to stop at 3.
What I've learned during my first pregnancy is to become highly tuned to your body and then just listen to it. At a certain point, running just didn't feel right to me. I couldn't even explain what that meant, but it just didn't. So I simply stopped.
I didn't have any crazy pains or the Round Ligament feeling stuff people talk about. I didn't have one horrible run that made me start crying about not running for another 30 plus weeks. I just reached a comfortable stopping point. And then stopped.
In this way, not doing something I am used to doing (and very much enjoy doing) hasn't been so bad. Once running didn't feel quite "right", I found that I really enjoyed spending time on the Elliptical at the gym and taking long walks around the large cemetery by our house. I have pushed myself to keep exercising, (sometimes it's easy to make excuses and just be a pregnant lady on a couch) but after that initial "push," I never pushed my physical limits much further but rather got into a comfortable state of moving. I just did what felt "right."
I believe what has been key in getting through some major changes is focusing on what I can do, rather than what I can't. After all, something is now very important to me - this boy or girl growing inside me. This small human now is now in charge and I have to listen.
I will run soon enough. For now, when my husband runs out the door on a sunny Saturday morning for a leisurely 7 mile loop around town, a loop we've done together many times before, I'll smile and wave him off, remaining content that I am listening to my body and doing what feels good at that moment in time.
And now that I'm at 39 weeks, my body is pretty much telling me to stay put. No more long walks or gym time.
In an effort to get "back on the horse" post pregnancy, I've already picked a few road races that I can work toward.
And who knows, maybe my body will enjoy other new and fun physical challenges post pregnancy. I guess I'll just have to wait and see.
I'm Kim. I like to work hard but not enough to stop having fun and enjoying life. I hope I never stop learning and exploring. Other people inspire me to be and do better every day. Read on for reflections on work and play.