The kind of help wanted ad you write can help determine what kind of applicants you get. Write an honest, thoughtful, clear ad and you’re more likely to hear from candidates with those qualities. Spout a lot of buzzwordy nonsense and you’ll attract people fluent in bullshit.
We talked about this a year ago in A tale of two job ads and I was reminded of it again when Guy Kawasaki posted How to Not Hire Someone Via Craigslist. He remarks about the need to keep it real in job listings…
Write honest job descriptions for honest job titles. Don’t try to entice candidates with promises of greater responsibilities or opportunities than is true. And don’t delude yourself: If the cat drags in over-qualified candidate, are you really going to expand the job?
An example of a thoughtful, honest help wanted post: Software company Jackson Fish Market’s Four Realizations about Hiring. An excerpt:
As much as deep technical skills are critical for us, the most successful working relationships we’ve had over the past few months have been with folks who are incredibly professional, disciplined, focused, and leave their egos at the door. Attitude comes first.
The whole post is written in that tone. The first comment in response: “Wow! You guys sure know how to write a job ad!”
Kawasaki also wisely points out the job search works both ways, and that ads should reflect that.
Sell. Almost every help-wanted ad focuses on buying, not selling—that is, the qualifications that candidates have to meet and the fences that they have to jump over. However, in the war for talent, this is ass backwards. This ad, for example, should mention things like “award-winning shop,” “work alongside famous designers,” “interesting projects for Disney, Apple, and Audi.”
An example of a good (and amusing) sell job: Meetup’s doc on Working at Google vs. Working at Meetup.