3 Tips on Writing Job Descriptions for Job Boards
Despite all the buzz around social media as the latest and greatest silver bullet
to solve all your staffing challenges, job boards are still a primary recruitment
tool for most independent charter schools and EMO/CMO networks alike. Used properly,
even general boards such as CareerBuilder or Monster can be useful sources of qualified
candidates. Of course, we have all either experienced or heard horror stories of
thousands of unqualified candidates flooding inboxes from a single job posting.
How do you utilize the broad reach of job boards without inviting a ton of “resume
blasters” into your hiring system?
3 things you can do immediately to improve your job
board posting results are:
- Be brutally honest about the job in the description
- Require a cover letter that answers a specific question
- Be brief - Invite them to your website for details
Be brutally honest about the job in the description
First things first, be sure to list the hard requirements for the job at the
very top of the job description. If you know you want a teacher with a math
undergraduate major, a 3.5 GPA, and a Master of Education degree, state that clearly in the beginning
of the job description. Use language like “We will not consider any applicants that
have not...” in bold font. You want to catch any unqualified candidates right out
of the gate and (hopefully) prevent them from flooding your inbox or applicant management
You also want to give an accurate description of what it is like to work in your
school. Don’t sugarcoat it, tell the truth about current challenges the person will
face if they get the job. Be honest about work-life balance. If they really will
have to work 50+ hours per week, say it upfront in the job description. There is
no use wasting yours or the candidate’s time if that is not a commitment he or she
can or is willing to make. They’ll head for the exits as soon as a better suited
job comes along and you’ll have to start the dreaded process all over again.
Require a cover letter that answers a specific question
This is one of the easiest, but most effective means of automatically separating
serious candidates from resume-spamming trolls that waste your precious recruitment
time. Develop a unique, thought-provoking cover letter question that is relevant
to your school and/or the job itself. Force the candidate to write something fresh
specifically for your opportunity. The key benefits of this technique are:
- You can automatically eliminate anyone who doesn’t directly answer your question.
These are people who either don’t read instructions well, are too lazy to sit down
and write something meaningful or are so arrogant they don’t feel the rules apply
to them. In other words, they aren’t exactly your ideal candidates.
- You can assess candidates’ writing skills. I can’t think of any professional position
in a charter school that does not require good written communication skills. It’s
amazing how much you can learn about candidates’ abilities by reading a few paragraphs
of their writing.
- You can make a much better initial screening decision and save time. By asking a
thought-provoking, relevant question for the cover letter, you will have a much
better picture of the candidate’s values, intelligence and overall potential than
with a generic cover letter or resume alone.
Be brief: invite them to your website for details
Although as a niche job board operator this is somewhat heretical to say, you really
want to get the candidates (at least the good ones anyway) off the job board and
on to your website. The way to do this is simple. Be brief with the text that you
include in job board postings. Definitely communicate the hard requirements. Include
a brief, brutally honest description of the job and work environment. Close with
an emotionally inspiring paragraph that inspires the right candidates to click through
to your website for further details and specific application instructions.
Hopefully you have a well organized, up-to-day Careers section on your site that
inspires confidence in your school and builds your recruitment brand. By forcing
the candidate onto your site for further details and to apply, you can track the
traffic from different job boards or other recruitment advertisements and use analytics
data to make better decisions about where to spend your marketing budget in the
If you don’t have a modern, easy-to-manage careers section of your website, have
no fear. In an upcoming edition of Recruiter Insight, we will cover how to setup
a Careers/Jobs section on your website quickly, without breaking the bank or forcing
you to become a computer programmer or having to hire one!
Until then, Happy Recruiting!