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!
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.
Ok, I’ve lured you in.
So what’ the #1 thing that can be done at work to get ahead you ask?
Is it focus on one thing at a time and don’t multi-task?
Important, yes. But no.
Is it to not allow yourself to peruse Facebook at your desk?
Is it to check email 3-4 times per day instead of 37?
Don’t get me started on this, but that’s not it.
Listen. That’s the thing. Listen first, speak second.
I honestly believe that listening is the most important thing you can do at work in order to be successful.
It sounds simple. You might think you are a good listener. And maybe you are.
But there is always room for improvement when it comes to listening.
Because listening isn’t just the act of listening. It’s also the act of not speaking! This can be very challenging.
I always find that I want to speak immediately if I know an answer, or I have input on something due to past experience. Yet time and time again I am always in a better position when I listen first before speaking my mind. This helps me fully understand what someone is telling me, fully understand how much they know and how much they don’t, and be able to read the situation well enough to know if I even have the right to speak up!
In listening – and waiting to speak – I am actually more respected and viewed as a better thought leader when I do speak. Here’s why:
Now of course, when you do speak, make it smart sounding. Know what you’re talking about. Formulate a response based on what you heard. And if you don’t have a smart response, just ask a few questions and listen some more!
Successful sales people understand how important it is to be a good listener. I think more business people outside of the world of sales can work on this trait in order to be a successful, well-rounded and well-respected professional in the workplace.
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.