The year begins. Several managers will have open positions to fill. The right way to hire is to start the hiring process the right way. Right from the job posting.
People management is not a demon, but it involves a lot of things. The lot of things that would not fit in a single post. Besides all that it involves, one thing is certain: people management starts with good professionals selection. Without this, without good raw material, there is little point in spending time and energy developing a “non-talent”. Good ceramics are made from good clay.
In order to select good people, besides doing a good interview, it is necessary that job postings attract good candidates.
That is where the problem starts… The best technicians I know do not look at the market all the time. These professionals receive news of a job through networking or they only change jobs when they are really angry (or frustrated). If a manager, as all humans do, has finite networking, if social networks only show ads to few contacts, how does one get the job posting to the right eyes?
How to compose job postings to attract good professionals? Well, this is something that has already been commented on, on the opposite side, thinking about who is looking for a job, on the series about tips to land a job in development.
Anatomy of a Job Posting
Funny ads, formal ads, confusing ads. We see a real carnival of things in job postings. Some with truncated messages, others with half messages, some does not what kind of training its expects from candidates. Neither expected experience. Some do not even describe the activities for the posted job.
I’ve seen postings spend more than 2/3 of the available space elaborating how great the company is. Then, everything about the job was in one or two lines. This is something completely useless : job postings are no place for corporate marketing. After all, candidates are expected to look after that on their own, at least to look at the company’s website. This is very basic.
The message of a job post should be clear, straightforward and should describe the desired profile in a non-point scope. A very closed scope would be too much and prevent to meet and interview a professional with similar knowledge, that could have been used. On the other hand, a poorly described job opens scope too much and as well as “spam candidates”, there will be more resumes available than desired. This prolongs the process if the manager wants to check all the resumes. If one randomly cut out a few resumes, one risk discarding the best candidates. None of these situations is desired.
For such a message to be clear, I recommend a more linear structure as possible. Linkedin job post format is very interesting and makes life easier for managers who needs to announce a job offer. Despite this, networking is still very important for recruitment. It may be inevitable to write a good email, perhaps a personalized message to a group or niche about the job, and that can make a difference talent acquisition.
Suggested job post structure is:
- Description of the vacancy;
- Knowledge / training;
- Profile (when important);
- Company Description.
Describing the job is simple. What does the advertiser expect the future employee to spend most time doing? It’s just a description of how the job will be and what is expected from candidate. Literally, a description of what the one will do in the company. For example:
Develop hardware for embedded systems, with hardware and firmware design.
It does not need much. Just one or two lines. If Manager needs to put too many things, he can sometimes condense the description:
Evaluate the hardware and firmware development and manufacturing of a banana straightener.
Finally, it is possible to describe in a few words what will be the activity of the developer. This, plus his knowledge, will define desired profile. There is no reason to overdraw, nor to write down standards and protocols: one can get professionals with an exact profile rarely (unless someone comes from the competition) who are performing the same activity required by the vacancy.
Formation and Knowledge
For knowledge, it is necessary to list what one wants the professional to master. The figure below illustrates this:
These definitions are not new to anyone who followed my series on how to find a job. Interestingly, I have seen vague job postings, even for specialists (when it is supposed that scope is inevitably tight and several compulsory requirements as essential) that only require very fundamental training. Some put elimination factors as desirable knowledge. So I see there’s a definite blur when it comes to putting together the ad.
Note: even if a company has an active HR and the job post has not been well described, it is no use blaming HR. Technical Managers should be accountable for their job postings.
It is the foundation and defines the candidate profile. Usually covered by the technical formation area.
Fundamental is not essential nor does it mean compulsory knowledge. It makes more sense to think that fundamental is what is part of the foundation (if it were obvious we would not have so many bad job postings). First, I always start with: “What kind of graduation should the candidate have attended to fill this job offer?”
With this in mind, there should be 2 or 3 eligible graduations. Of course, this does not mean instant elimination: it may be that a candidate has completed math, but has worked “because of life happenings” with IT, and ended up with solid experience in the field. However, this is very, very rare. It is normal for the good candidates have eligible formation.
Another similar situation are some job postings that can only present essential knowledge, when formation is not something determinant (such as sales).
Fundamental is what the professional needs to know if he intends, someday, to perform on a specific function. It is the area of knowledge, the area of study. However, this does not necessarily defines that the candidate has all that is required… That is why it is necessary to be more specific than just formation, in the essential knowledge requirements.
Essential is what is in the essence. This is what determines, for example, that one device driver programmer can not work easily perform if he is immediately hired for application programming (assuming there is no previous experience). This programmer might have the fundamentals (eligible graduation or know how to program) but does not have the essential (to know how to program in that language on that programming level).
Therefore, essential means to understand all the tools to do some function. By “enough”, it must be understood what is enough: if it is only one, that’s fine. However, in the case of experts, it can be a high number.
The more essential knowledge, the greater the challenges in finding an appropriate professional.
Another point: sometimes it is interesting to group knowledge in alternatives. For example, whenever I set up the essential knowledge section for FPGA designers:
Some of the following knowledge: Digital electronics, microelectronics, FPGAs or hardware description language.
In short: it is essential that candidates be proficient enough to perform, regardless of his or her experience. Proficiency can be measured, so it is good to request it according to the profile of the job post. I avoid the “trainee-junior-full-senior” scale or to measure it in years (3-5 years of experience). I use the following scale:
I have seen some articles separating essential knowledge into two categories: compulsory and non-compulsory. I understand this as a mistake: if it is not compulsory, it is not essential, so it is desirable.
This is bonus points that the candidates might have. This is what the candidate would normally bring in as differential. In technical positions, experience is desirable, but not necessarily that is all. A good programmer is a good programmer, no matter how old he is or how many years programming. It is clear that market time for good professionals tends to improve them, but this is not a general rule.
It is important to note what is desirable. For example: a future candidate may not be proficient in one programming language, however, he may have a lot of experience in a particular type of product; it may be that this desirable knowledge (knowing the type of product) allied with the fundamental (knowing how to program) allows it to work with a new language in the same type of product.
Used in the right way, it’s a section that helps the advertiser get a fair amount of great candidates and perhaps even a few experts without having to be extremely specific.
Typically, companies have on their websites the story they like to tell about themselves. The advertiser does not even have to expend energy in creating such information, just copy it.
With the absurd volume of fake, CV fishing or paid job agencies, it is important, in times of social networking where everyone wants to be unique, to post the job openly. Anonymity prevents good candidates from applying, for fear of being their own company.
It is worth noting if a company does not post its offers openly because it intends to replace an employee and this employee cannot be aware of that… Well, we have a case when a company becomes hostage. This is a much more serious problem than privacy and should be addressed beforehand. This is one of the most common mistakes when advertising a vacancy…
Already mentioned, but still very common. But I’ll look at it from another point of view: everyone is fighting for publicity.
Having a job to offer, announcing it openly and seeing this publication to be shared in social networks passes the image of a solid company, generates free marketing and free collateral mind share and lends credibility to the process.
Except for privacy, I see no real advantage in remaining anonymous.
5 Job Posts in One
This is awful. It ends up scaring good candidates. I’ve seen internship programs asking for PMI certification. A college student hardly tried out what was learned in college: clearly in this case they’ve announced an internship program and a senior position in the same post.
I do not know any company that is hiring and that can’t afford 2 different ads for 2 different jobs. If this is the case of the company in which the readers / managers are, I seriously suggest that they consider changing jobs … Also, a company that does not invest in selective process and look for professionals for future investment, well, it is not necessary to insist on theme. It’s obvious.
Disparity on Profile x Compensation
This is another ugly mistake. A profile requesting solid knowledge for a trainee. Requests that candidates take care of an entire development department and pay an entry level compensation. The problem here is not salary: it is the job description.
Announcing a job with the right profile in knowledge and compensation will not necessarily drive away better qualified professionals, specially in a country like Brazil where the market for developers is tight.
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