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Your 6 Step Checklist to Crafting the Perfect Job Description

I’ll never forget the time I was sitting opposite a client taking a brief for a new position in her team and when I asked her if she had a position description she literally scribbled a few bullet points on to a Post-It note and handed it to me across the table.

Was she serious?

Apparently so.

I should also point out that the all too common “We’re hoping to create the job around the best candidate depending on their previous experience” never really cut it with me either.

So here’s a step-by-step job description checklist for any business owner or hiring manager thinking about bringing somebody new into their team. Read More…

The Seven Stages of the Modern Recruiting Workflow

The Seven Stages of the Modern Recruiting Workflow

Editor’s Note: Originally published on June 9, 2015. This post has been updated with new data and information.

Recently, we set out to round up the best tools for modern recruiters. We specifically wanted to look at the unique workflows of independent and internal, agile recruiters for small brands. We compiled all of our recommendations into a monstrous, 60-page e-book you can download for free, “The Agile Technology Guide for Modern Recruiters.” Read More…

Your Thanksgiving Recipe for Great Recruitment

Your Thanksgiving Recipe for Great Recruitment

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, where we all take the day off, eat an egregious amount of turkey and side dishes, and have the yearly family arguments about whether canned or homemade cranberry sauce is better. (How is there even a question about this?) Read More…

Get Your Job Ad Message Across - Think Like an Online Marketer

Get Your Job Ad Message Across – Think Like an Online Marketer

If you have a fantastic job to fill, you’re sure that you’ll get tons of qualified candidates, and filling the job will be like picking low-hanging fruit. You post the job online, but your candidate response is anything but robust. What now? Here’s a secret for you: stop behaving like a job recruiter.

Stop thinking that you can post an ad online and your work is done, because it isn’t. You have to start thinking like an online marketer, because that’s what you are. You’re competing for attention for that job just like any company competes for visibility for its products and services.

You may think that you’re not qualified to be a marketer, that’s not your skill set. Here are some things to think about to give your job ads that marketing advantage. Read More…

Attract Candidates to Job Ads – Think Like an Online Marketer

How does a marketer write job adsIt’s time to fill an essential role in your company, but responses to your job postings have been lackluster. You’ve done all the right things with the job ad itself — you’ve included information about the job duties, advancement possibilities, company culture, and every other piece of information a job hunter needs. However, the most perfectly crafted job ad is completely useless if the job seeker either can’t find the ad, or the title isn’t interesting enough for him/her to click on it. Take a close look at your job ad title and put your marketer glasses on in order to make it shine. Read More…

Get Candidates to Apply - Think Like an Online Marketer

Get Candidates to Apply – Think Like an Online Marketer

You got your snazzy job ad text together with your killer job description, and you’re ready to go. You rev up your favorite form-filling software and take a trip through as many job sites as possible. A couple of days pass. Then a week. You aren’t hearing a peep from remotely attractive candidates.

Chances are, you spent so much time figuring out the perfect job description and title and skipped over the part where you told applicants what to do. It’s time to take a focused look at calls to action on job ads. Read More…

Get Your Jobs Found - Think Like an Online Marketer

Get Your Jobs Found – Think Like an Online Marketer

Wondering why you’re having a difficult time attracting a waterfall of talent when everyone is still complaining about a tough job market? If your most recent search to hire the next Director of All Things Awesome isn’t panning out the way you expected–that stampede didn’t exactly knock down your door did it?–we’re guessing you may not have considered what Google thinks of your job.

No, we don’t mean call over to Mountain View and ask the Googlers what they think of your latest LinkedIn listing. We mean you’re not thinking like an online marketer–and you’re leaving way too many opportunities on the table. In a world where everyone looks to search engines to find what they need, job applicants are exhibiting the same behaviors as buyers shopping for a major purchase–which means they need to be managed with the same tactics. So if you want to improve your job applicant pool, it’s time to start attracting talent like its 2014—using search engine optimization to get your jobs found.

What is Search Engine Optimization?

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the science and art of getting your content indexed by search engines so that it is returned in the results when applicable searches are performed. For hiring managers this means having your job show up when searches matching your industry or open position are performed. It requires a mix of SEO best practices for setting up job postings and descriptions on your company website and third party listings as well as more advanced SEO tactics for optimal results.

SEO for Your Job Descriptions

The simplest and most immediate SEO best practices to implement in your hiring are to optimize on site job description structures. Each job description should have a standardized format with proper HTML formatting to help search engines figure out what your job description is all about. A sample structure is:

1. <h1> Title tags

The H1 tag tells the search engine the main point of the page. This should be your job title. Remember that this title should reflect a search that your prospective applicant might perform. So even if your position is titled Director of Awesomeness, unless your job applicants are going to be searching for that specific phrase, choose something else. Select something that informs both the search engines and human searchers.

2. <h2> and <h3> Subheadings

Just as you wouldn’t read through an unorganized mass of text, search engines and job applicants need help sorting out subtopics. If you have a specific set of job requirements, use <h2> and <h3> tags to group them together and organize them by a name that search engines and job applicants can understand.

3. <ol> and <ul> Lists

Use list tags to break up keywords and components that you’re looking for such as specific skill sets, training, education or experience.

Job Term Keyword Research

The second most important activity to improve your hiring SEO is to perform keyword research to understand what your job applicants are trying to find. If you’re trying to hire an inside sales professional but the industry is trending towards Inbound Business Development Executive in search queries, keyword research can help uncover this. Utilizing free tools such as Google TrendsGoogle AdWords Keyword Planner or Spyfu’s free version can help uncover similar keywords that may generate more traffic and clicks.

Backlinks and Social Signals

More advanced SEO strategies include generating key backlinks to your content as well as notable social signals. Google has explained that valuable backlinks, as well as regular social activity, signal to search engines that your content is legitimate and worthy of ranking. By posting your job on relevant forums (don’t forget niche forums, such as marketing job boards for your next social media manager position), including in-context links to relevant content and using natural anchor text to connect the dots for search engines, you will increase the potential for improved rankings dramatically.

In addition, while social signals influence SEO by correlation rather than causation, including social share options within job descriptions, posting social links to your job descriptions and covering job listings in blog posts, Google+ posts and in other company social profiles can only help SEO efforts. Consider including job application tabs where available—Facebook offers some advanced options for including job postings in company pages—and don’t forget to encourage sharing of job posts by active employees.

In general, employing any or all of these SEO strategies can only improve your job applicant pool by simply making it easier for job searchers to find your listing. By continuing to engage in ongoing SEO best practices, future job postings will benefit from a historically strong search engine ranking and incoming applications should continue to improve over time.

Do Your Employees Suck? Check Your Job Descriptions.

Do Your Employees Suck? Check Your Job Descriptions.

Maria Sharapova, who can hit a tennis ball well enough to earn a pretty good living, once famously said: “I can’t please everyone. That’s not in my J.D., you know, not in my job description.”  Lucky Maria, she knows what her job is well enough to be able to confidently tell people what it isn’t.  So what does Maria have that many of we mere mortals don’t?  Apart from astounding talent, good looks and a heap of money in the bank that is!

It’s pretty simple really.  She has a clear goal and a coach to help her get there.  She knows what is expected of her, what she has to do to achieve the desired outcome and has performance checkpoints along the way – in the world of professional sport, her win:loss ratio tells her when she is getting it right and when she is not. Read More…

New Recruit Dropout

6 Ways to Ensure Your New Recruit Isn’t a Dropout

New Recruit DropoutHave you ever been in the position of watching your new recruit flounder away and then drop out or worse, have to be pushed?  When a new employee doesn’t make it past the end of the probation period, the blame game usually kicks in and it is often the recruiter who is put front and centre.  Comments like “they sent me a bad candidate”, “they obviously didn’t know what we were looking for”, and “I could have advertised myself and got a better candidate than the one they sent me”, are all too familiar when a placement goes sour.  The truth is, the responsibility for a bad placement is a shared one.

Placements usually fail for one simple reason, a lack of clarity around the role and the client organisation and a less than warm welcome on the newbie’s first day. Recruiters will say they were not told certain things about the company or the role.  Clients will say the candidate wasn’t suitable and the recruiter just didn’t get it right.  Candidates will say the job wasn’t what they were led to believe it would be.

Here are some tips to making sure you get a new employee who will not only make it through probation but will become one of your treasured team members.

1. Have a current and clear Position Description and Key Performance Indicators for the role.

In the same way a road map gives a driver a sense of direction in unfamiliar territory, a clear Position Description ensures both the employer and the employee have a clear sense of direction in what the role is designed to achieve, the tasks that need to be completed to achieve it and how the person’s performance will be evaluated.  A good Position Description will make a statement about the scope of the role, confirm the reporting line, clarify the levels of authority, communicate the key areas of responsibility, and outline the specific tasks required.

2. Avoid trying to force square pegs into round holes

Organisations are simply small communities working together toward a common goal.  Every community is made up of a variety of personalities (that’s what makes them interesting) but there are particular personality types that fit better than others.  Understanding the personality traits and behaviours that work best in your company and across your team will ensure harmonious and productive working relationships.  Like any relationship, “if it doesn’t feel right, it’s not right!”

3. Engage a professional recruiter

Recruitment is a skilled profession like any other and just like Doctors, Lawyers and Accountants, Recruiters have developed specialisations throughout their careers.  A skilled Recruiter clearly understands the skills and experience required in particular roles and this knowledge, combined with a clear position description and a clear understanding of your organisation’s personality and culture, means a good “fit” is a much more likely outcome.  The screening process is efficient and accurate and your shortlist will be candidates with a high level of suitability for the role.  No dropouts!

4. Don’t be fooled by appearances – conduct thorough interviews

A nice suit, tidy hair and dashing smile tells us a candidate cares about their appearance and has good dress sense and where they went to school might tell us something about their social group but quite frankly, that’s about it!  Is he/she resilient and resourceful?  Is he/she an effective problem solver?  And what of their work ethic?  There is no substitute for spending the time thoroughly interviewing every shortlisted candidate.  Utilising well researched and effective methodologies will help you truly understand what you are “buying”.  Open-ended questions to elicit information that points to behaviour and competency are the best.

5. Do Reference checks

So, the candidate presents well and your interview process has identified they have the skills to do the job and are likely to be a great fit but how can you be really sure?  In this brave new world of the internet, candidates can research and rehearse their responses to a plethora of interview questions.  Reference checks with past employers are a vital part of any recruitment process.  A professional and targeted approach to reference checking gives insights into how the candidate has performed in the past, how they have responded to certain situations, and why they were a valued team member….or not.  Reference checks also give you the opportunity to verify certain information the candidate may have provided, another step in the quest for clarity.

6. Make the new recruit feel welcome

The letter of offer has been signed and a start date agreed.  The candidate turns up, agog with an equal dose of excitement and apprehension – after all, it’s their first day in the new school.  Make sure they are expected – nothing beats a warm welcome.  Make sure their workspace has been well prepared for them and take them on an introductory tour of the team before heading into a structured and informative Induction session.  But that’s another blog!

Photo courtesy of reynermedia.


What Is Market Mapping and How Do You Do It?

Are you just throwing a job advertisement out there hoping to catch a quality candidate? Don’t fool yourself. Recruiting like this is the equivalent of bad fishing techniques. Throw the old, stale bait out into any old pond and wait to see what you catch. While this may be the simplest method, there’s not much chance of catching the big fish.

Read More…