When you are looking to attract better qualified job candidates, there are many benchmarks employers expect applicants to meet that aren’t always communicated. Some familiar expectations include what should be in a resume and how it should be delivered. What many employers don’t realize, though, is through their job posting, they can appear confused about who they are, and exactly what they desire in a potential employee. To see what we mean, look no further than the average job posting.
Whether it’s a listing for a project coordinator or a community outreach specialist, several job descriptions tend to have one thing in common—they are vague. For instance, browse through your local job board and certain key phrases like “excellent communication skills,” “capable of working in a fast-paced environment,” or “must enjoy multitasking” frequently appear. However, what usually doesn’t appear is a specific description of the job itself, which can leave the e-mail inbox lid open for a multitude of unqualified, and potentially uninterested, applicants.
That is why Jason Fried and David Heinemeir, co-founders of Chicago-based software company 37signals, decided to do things differently when searching for an administrative assistant. Fried suggests that rather than publish the listing containing the usual verbiage, he and Heinemeir would list exactly what the person would do. This includes sending 25 handwritten thank-you notes to customers, recommending restaurants and activities for out-of-town guests, and ordering weekly floral arrangements. “This way,” Fried said, “whoever was applying would know exactly the kind of work he or she would be expected to do.” As a result, the duo were inundated with replies and eventually found someone who was not only experienced, but also truly enjoyed supporting her coworkers. Read more on Fried and Heinemeir’s approach here.
What Fried essentially did, and what other employers can do, is develop a keen understanding of his needs and be upfront about communicating them .Not only does it help job seekers better assess interest in the position, but it can also prevent a company from wasting time and resources recuperating from a bad hire.