The Internet can be a powerful tool, but, like all good tools, it can also gobble a lot of your time if you let its features distract you from the job. Here are a few steps to organize your online recruiting and to keep you from veering too far off into the Web’s job-related hinterlands.
Step 1: Research by browsing the local sites. Surveying the current listings for your area, your industry, and your open job functions will tell you which services are best for you. Go to Craigslist (www.craigslist.com) and select your city. If your city’s not served by Craigslist, check out the cities available on Lycos Classifieds.
If you find your city or nearby metro area listed on one of these sites, then select a job category for which you need to list. Are there many companies advertising in this category? You’ll quickly be able to tell how actively and accurately this site is used by local companies. If you see only a sparse listing of current openings or mainly “work from home” and national (or international) job opportunities, you might want to consider investing the fee in one of the paid listing sites.
Step 2: Choose your job board. If one or more of the free listing services appears to be active enough in your area, plan to start your recruiting there.
Step 3: Write your ad. The hiring manager is the best source of inside information on what the position will entail and the attributes the ideal candidate. Even if you have a description of the position — from a previous hire or another company — you should update this with input from the hiring manager. Are there additional responsibilities or skills that come with the job in its current form? Are there any new directions in the career path for the job, the responsibilities and requirements, the benefits or compensation, or the company’s strategy that should be noted in the ad?
Remember that your job description will serve a purpose beyond the job-advertisement phase. The job description will be an important document for each of your hires — something you will want to include in the hiring packet and keep on file as a reference. Discussing performance issues will be easier if you can refer to a set of expectations that were laid out at the beginning.
Another good source of effective job-ad pitches is actual job ads out there on the market right now. In your job-board research, collect descriptions of similar jobs from other companies. Use these as a source of ideas to give you a good start writing your own job ad.
Several free online tools can help you either create your job description from scratch or double-check that you’ve included all the skills, qualifications and main responsibilities of the job.
It’s important to have a good idea of what you need to pay to get the kind of prospect you want. It isn’t much help to budget too little (or too much) — some quick research will tell you what such jobs pay in your area at this time.
Catch those keywords! Another benefit of the salary calculators is that they can help you ensure that you’ve covered the key words and phrases for a particular job in your industry. Since your online job seekers will find you through keyword searches of one sort or another, you’ll need to have the terms they’re using in order to get your ad on their screens.
Browsing the ads currently posted for similar positions is, of course, another way to make sure you include the full set of descriptors and terminology.
Other Important Details – Here are some other elements that go into a clear, targeted job ad:
- A description of your company and highlights of some of the benefits that you offer. Remember to note the location! Even though job-listing services narrow search results for job seekers by geographical area, your listing can be seen by anyone anywhere — and you may want to emphasize that you want local talent.
- Pay range. This can be another important factor to ensure that you get only the most serious inquiries.
- A call to action. Should candidates go to your career Web site? Should they email you, fax materials, or call? Many candidates will assume that you want resumes sent by email, so if you don’t, or if you have specific directions on the email procedure (e.g. “send your resume in the body of an email”), then you’ll want to clearly spell these out at the end of your ad.
Think of a job title that sells. The title by which you advertise the open position doesn’t have to be the company’s internal title that goes with the job. While you want to include an accurate job title in the ad, you’ll want to come up with a title for the ad itself that will make job seekers want to read more. This is crucial for a small business to compete with the big brand companies on the big job boards! On Monster, Yahoo! HotJobs and CareerBuilder your ad is likely to be listed among a huge number of jobs for a given category, and the way to get job seekers to notice you among the many calls for salespeople or Web designers is to call out an enticing, distinguishing aspect of your business.
Step 4: Post it!
Step 5: Sort, Revise…Repost? If you post online for free and don’t get many responses, adjust your job description and re-post. If you don’t get the right candidates after a couple rounds, consider these options: go vertical, or go to a for-fee job-listing service.
The paid job-listing services usually offer support to employers who have posted jobs, so if you don’t get the responses you’d like after a week you will definitely want to get your money’s worth by calling on them to help revise your ad. Active job seekers will usually see and respond to enticing ads within a week of their posting, so don’t wait much longer than this to retool your ad and try to attract more people.
As an example, our editorial department at AllBusiness.com had an open position for a job called Associate Editor. When we advertised on Craigslist in San Francisco for that job under that title, we got hardly any qualified candidates (and a lot of completely unqualified candidates). We changed the title to “Project Editor” and suddenly our email boxes we filled with inquiries from qualified editorial prospects. Lesson learned: Don’t be afraid to experiment!