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6 Steps to Writing a Great Job Posting

Source: aaron_anderer

Clients often ask us how we attract so many incredible creative freelancers.

We believe that part of the magic is being able to write compelling job descriptions that not only explain the role, but also illustrate why a particular job really stands out from the rest. Just as we encourage candidates to craft clear, concise, and engaging resumes/portfolios, we encourage hiring managers to be equally diligent when they set out to hire those candidates.

Never ones to shy away from providing assistance, we asked super agent Fay Scott to pass along some hot tips for writing a job posting that gets results.

Whether you’re posting on a broad site like Monster, or a specialized one such as MediaBistro (or even your own site) we’re sure these tips will you save time and draw the best candidates for your open role.

Think of a job posting as you would an online dating profile—you need to make a good first impression if you’re going to get good results.

Just as in dating profiles, using tired clichés (think “long walks on the beach”), is not going to get you the best candidates out there—the ones that can grow your business and add value to your team. You need some copy writing firepower.

So here are six tips to help you position your job opening as an exciting opportunity and help you locate that elusive Mr. or Ms. Right. (For the position that is...)

1. Use a job title that’s both searchable and relevant to a broad audience. Perhaps your company doesn’t use the same job titles as everyone else in the industry. What some groups call a “Creative Production Specialist” may be more commonly referred to as “Production Artist,” for example. If you want to attract the best candidates, you’ll need to to stray from company semantics and use the title that best describes the position (and that includes stage of career: junior vs. senior, associate vs. coordinator, manager vs. director.) If your job title isn’t a common one, it’s certainly not going to come up in common job seeker searches. Resources like the AIGA/Aquent Salary Survey or our Quickhire tool for help with definitions of creative positions.

2. Sell candidates on your company. Even before you go into the details of the job function and requirements, you need to promote why your company is so cool. Have free breakfast Fridays? Flexible work hours? Encourage creative input? Tell the world! Let candidates know what your company culture is like and why working with your team (or your project) is more appealing than all the other (similar) job opportunities out there. Be sure to include links to your website, your latest news and press releases, and links to your company’s social media presence to give candidates lots of reasons why your company rocks.

3. Sell candidates on the role. What’s the best thing about having this job? What types of projects or clients does your team handle? Does your team push limits and use the coolest technology out there? Do tell. To see what I mean, take a look at the examples below. Both postings are for Web/Print Senior Art Director roles, but each will appeal to very different candidates:

    • Close-knit in-house creative team seeks a Senior Art Director to be the visionary behind cross-channel web/print campaigns for a Fortune 500 brand.
    • Prominent local branding agency is looking for a Senior Art Director to drive web and print creative in a both hands-on and conceptual capacity for a hip children’s clothing client.

4. Make sure your requirements are clear. Share the requirements for your role, as well as whether they are “must haves” or “nice-to-haves.” This list should mirror the performance you expect from the candidate you hire and guide your feedback throughout the project. If you make it clear that experience in an industry is a must, but experience with a particular technology is a nice-to-have, you will improve the chances of getting the right candidates to apply.

    • Ability to deliver 80+ of creative projects per month, on time, under budget, with incredible attention to detail
    • MUST have 3+ years of experience in healthcare industry
    • HTML5 coding experience is a PLUS

5. Tell candidates what you need to see from them. You may think this is overkill, but if you want to set candidates up for success, it’s the best way to communicate what the boss (the hiring manager) is looking for in a portfolio or resume. Doing this will save everyone a lot of time, believe me. Think carefully about candidates who don’t comply with your request. Their choice to ignore (or miss) steps in your application process often shows how they’ll perform on the job.

    • Include your latest UX project in your portfolio (including preliminary research, wireframes, and user flows)
    • Include code samples via live links or HTML files for review

6. Ask candidates to do more than push a button.Request a blurb about why candidates think they’re the best fit for the position. Or come up with a relevant question that candidates can answer as part of their submission. Doing so will uncover additional details that may not be communicated through the standard resume or cover letter, and will give you another chance to gauge communication ability and style. You can also find out which candidates are truly interested in the position and which may be applying to openings in bulk.

    • Give an example of a time you’ve tackled a difficult design challenge. How did you approach it and what was the outcome?
    • What are some nuances between email marketing to the B2B and B2C audiences?

And those are just a few ways you can improve the experience for job seekers and improve the results of your postings, too.

It’s a win-win, and even better, it’s all stuff you know lots about: Y-O-U! Being super clear about what you really want your ideal candidate to have and to do as part of your team will ensure you get the right person—and that the person you bring on will be set up for success before you even interview them.

Got any job posting tips we missed? Let us know!

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