Alexis has worked in human resources and assisted several individuals in finding gainful employment.
What to Include in a Job Posting
Since graduating college, I have done the job search twice. Due to relocation, I am currently on my third job search (while employed). Each of the three has been different as I’ve developed as a person and professional, acquired in-demand skills (i.e. foreign languages), and have grown my network. None of these guarantee a job, but they do give you an edge in the job market (speaking for the United States).
Since I am opting for a career change that places me out of the classroom, I have taken to job posting sites to get a scope of what’s out there in addition to my network. There are a surprising amount of jobs out there that require degrees I didn’t know existed (volunteer coordinator certificate? Can we talk about my two years of actual experience and training instead?). There are also positions that I didn’t know existed (haven’t they been saying that we’re training current college students for jobs that don’t exist yet?).
These are the mistakes and oversights I've seen while job hunting.
1. Make Sure the Job Title Is Correct
There have been more than a few times when I’ve applied to jobs online and the posting and actual application have different job titles. I’ve gone back and checked myself and sure enough, someone goofed (these are higher ed, professional jobs sometimes, too!). It presents the confusing aspect of ‘what do I say in the cover letter?’ I always address the position as what is said on the actual application, since I feel that is likely more accurate.
2. List the Hiring Manager
It’s a rarity, but sometimes I see the hiring manager and their direct email in a job posting (company website, job hunt website etc.). When that happens I’m thrilled because I personally hate a) Tracking down who is in charge of recruiting or b) addressing a letter informally as ‘hiring team’ or ‘hiring manager’.
Tailoring your resume to a job posting, writing a fantastic cover letter and filling out a job application take time. If I have to go on a ten-minute hunt to find the person who ‘might’ be the Hiring Manager, that’s a bit much. A phone call CAN be helpful here though if you’re truly interested in a position. Know that some places hate any candidate reaching out to them and specify ‘Do Not Call’.
Hiring Managers and Recruiters: Please put the appropriate contact person in the posting. Then you know if a candidate doesn’t take time to address that person they can go straight to the discard pile for not reading.
3. Specify the Pay and Benefits (If Any)
I had an awkward situation the other day when I went to a job interview and was offered a job…with a salary far too low. Glassdoor revealed no salary basis, so I based my estimate off the same position in nearby companies. Had I known what the salary was beforehand, I wouldn’t have applied for the job. Companies can offer a minimum but preferably a range with the tagline ‘commensurate with experience’. It keeps honesty open between both parties and employers are more likely to get someone who can accept that salary.
Also, companies, please list the benefits attached to the job. If there are none, specify it. I recently turned down an interview because of this. The job posting made no salary or benefit information and come time for the interview, the recruiter stated there were no benefits. For me, a job without health insurance is NON-negotiable and the same is true with no vacation or paid time off.
Oh, and of course, list if the position is hourly or salaried.
4. List Hours Required
This is another one I rarely see in job postings, but it should be there, to an extent. If we’re talking about a job that has flexible hours or a rotating schedule, hiring managers and recruiters should specify that. If there’s a set schedule, list the hours AND if weekends are required. It’ll cut down the work of both parties to have this information because employers only get employees who CAN work those hours and employees know what they’re required to work.
Also, specify the total number of hours a week if its not full-time or the position requires more or less than 40 hours (the standard in the United States).
5. Do a Spelling and Grammar Check
Everyone, and I mean everyone, misspell words. Heck, if you read any book you WILL find more than one spelling or grammatical error. What I’m getting at is that it’s important to check your grammar and spelling in a job posting. Once I came across a job posting for a large corporation and they misspelled part of the job title in the job description!
If you find one or two errors in a posting, it’s okay to be forgiving, humans aren’t perfect. However, if the grammar structure LOOKS LIKE THIS THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE POSTING, then you have a good reason to raise an eyebrow. If the language is cryptic, there’s another red flag for you.
6. Check the Formatting on Your Posting
This is a common sense one, but one that should be addressed. If you post a job, make sure the formatting is right. No job seeker wants to try and read a garbled mess that doesn’t use indenting or paragraphs. If a hiring manager or recruiter can’t be bothered to check their posting to make sure it looks like after the fact, then run.
7. Clearly Outline the Job Description and Duties
Another common sense one, but I’ve seen tons of job postings where there were barely any details about the job. Go to the website and you find out there’s a lot more to it…and you don’t qualify for it. Once I applied for a company that gave a job description I matched very well, but at the first interview, I learned the position was nothing like what was outlined and the duties were things I wasn’t trained to do.
Worse yet, imagine arriving at a job interview and finding out that the responsibilities aren’t what was listed in the posting. You should always research a company that you’re applying for, bearing that in mind. On a side note, remember that even if you don’t feel completely confident in certain aspects of a job description, there’s always training. Now if it’s a job that requires knowing a foreign language or a high-level tech skill, you might want to reconsider.
Ending note, please recruiters and hiring managers, post an accurate and detailed, but not overly detailed job description!
8. List Requirements, Education, and Qualifications
Before jumping into this next one, let’s get the fact that this could be a whole article (or series) on its own. What we’re going to look at is that jobs should post the following three things in their job description and in the same order below
- Education (specify degree, if necessary) and/or certificates
- Required qualification
- Preferred qualifications
Bear in mind that education and certificates are things usually a candidate MUST have to be considered. If only candidates with 4 year degrees in business are accepted, state it. If they only need an associates, state that, but some education minimum requirement SHOULD be listed.
Requirements are non-negotiable skills that a candidate has. Preferred qualifications are things an employer would like to see, but its negotiable.
These three things should be included, with the exception of preferred qualifications since some jobs have very specific requirements or very general ones. Education and required qualifications should always be listed for the benefit of both and employee and employer. No future employee wants to get through 20 minutes of writing a cover letter and filling out an application to find out an education requirement they don’t have is needed! Also no employer wants to get a resume from someone who meets none of the right qualifications.
9. Give Contact Information and Materials Required
I’m lumping these two together because they go hand in hand. It’s important that recruiters and hiring managers list their contact information (i.e. title, mailing address), email address and phone number if needed. If cold calls are not welcome, state it! A few decades ago, cold calling got people jobs. Nowadays, you’re more likely to aggravate potential employers. Materials needed for the job, i.e. a cover letter, references etc. are also good to specify IF it’s something other than just the standard cover letter and resume.
I have outlined nine essential things that every job posting should have. With hundreds of thousands of job postings being listed in just the United States alone, there are quite a number who don’t meet half the items on this list. The advent of the internet and rise of online job hunting means more competition and more work for hiring managers. If hiring managers up their position details, they’re likely to trim out a couple applicants who realize they don’t qualify or a position isn’t what they’re looking for.
It’s a two-way street and consideration is needed on both sides.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2018 Alexis