Is Your Job Post Chasing Away Top Candidates?

Empty LobbyA job posting is often a candidate’s first interaction with a company. It quickly creates a lasting impression
of the organization. If that first impression is negative, the relationship is likely to end before it ever begins.  Let’s look at a few common mistakes that might be chasing away your best candidates for open roles.

#1: Lack of Proofing

Spelling and grammar mistakes are the most common faux pas I encounter. Candidates read an error-ridden posting and subconsciously draw a conclusion that the role is unimportant to the organization. The lack of attention to detail implies the candidate is in for more of the same if hired. Top candidates will quickly pick up on this negative vibe and steer clear. Thankfully, this mistake is easy to fix with a little time and proofreading. If using a recruiting firm, hold them accountable for high quality postings or find another firm with more attention to detail. Recruiters represent the company in the eyes of the candidate, so their lack of attention to detail is the company’s lack of attention to detail. The extra time and attention may be what’s needed to entice hard to find rock stars to consider your role.

#2: Misleading Titles

The second most common posting error I encounter is an irrelevant or misleading title. Although titles like Chief Yahoo and IT Guru might initially draw attention, they do little to convey what work is actually needed within the organization. The same holds true for generic titles like IT Contractor or Consultant. A poor title makes it difficult for candidates to benchmark the role. With so many roles and employers to choose from right now, star candidates will quickly move on if they are confused. Unless swanky titles are a core part of organizational culture, following industry standards is the simple solution. Terms like developer, UX designer, and architect have meaning and allow a candidate to quickly determine the expectations for a role and decide to explore further. Standard titles also ensure search visibility. With most job searches displaying results based on key words and titles, an off the wall title means your post will never even been seen by candidates.

#3: Role Inflation

One last mistake I often find in postings is a little more subtle. I refer to it as role inflation. This happens when a role is posted for mid-career or experienced employees, but lists rookie requirements and responsibilities. This trend extends far beyond the hiring process, exacerbated by companies giving big titles to junior employees as a retention tool. This leaves little room for growth over a forty year career and often results in unhappy employees after the honeymoon with the new firm is over. Asking for helpdesk responsibilities on a mid-career role sends a confusing message and isn’t likely to attract hard to entice candidates. If a “senior professional” is truly what’s needed, ensure the experience level aligns with posting requirements. If this is a new role, spend time capturing why an additional person is needed and what value is expected as a result. Include elements of this in the post. If this is a backfill, ensure past responsibilities were appropriate. Be flexible and restructure the role if necessary to get a good fit with plenty of runway for the future. A job posting is a reflection of both the hiring manager and the organization. Although a perfect posting is far from enough to woo potential candidates, a badly written one most certainly will drive them away. Poorly written posts send a negative message to prospects, telling them to steer clear of the organization. Don’t chase away candidates by hastily writing a lousy job post. Instead, take the time to craft a quality communication that is proofread, uses industry standard titles and keywords, and is not over inflated ensuring room to grow. You will be rewarded with more qualified candidates and a better hiring experience.