Economists like to talk about the job market in terms of employer and candidate markets. The basic difference? The party with more control. In an employer market, as we experienced a year ago after the pandemic, employers have all the power in the world. A ton of people are applying. Companies have their choice of active and passive candidates.
That's not the market we're living in right now. Candidates have the power. Around the world, companies are seeing fewer applications and having more people drop out of the process because they already have an offer in hand.
Still, so many hiring managers still believe they’re living in an employer market. They value speed over effectiveness and encourage teams to recycle old tactics to facilitate speed. However, current conditions are unlike any job market recruiters have seen. The “tried and true” job posting templates aren't working anymore — but there are some ways to refresh old these old templates for newfound success.
Back To Basics: Job Descriptions vs. Job Postings
Often in that effort for speed, talent acquisition teams post job descriptions instead of job postings then wonder why there are no qualified applications. The truth? No candidate is just dying to read a legal document unless they want to be a lawyer. They want to get an insider look at the work. Let me explain.
Job descriptions are legal agreements for work. Job postings are for marketing a role. They give candidates a glimpse into what a job is really like. The purpose of a job posting is to get someone to say, "Yes, I want to do this work. Yes, I can do this. I'll apply now." A job description's purpose is to understand the minimum requirements and, in case an employee is not meeting that baseline down the road, a company has a mutual agreement in writing on what those job requirements actually are.
Ultimately, better baseline job posting templates and tactics will continuously improve outcomes. If you want to equip your talent team for success in any candidate or employer market, crafting better job postings should be near the top of your list.
What Makes a Good (and Unbiased) Job Posting?
Making a job posting good is not just adding some storytelling then slapping the legal lingo to the end. A good job posting goes beyond that preview and truly conveys what the hiring manager is looking for, including what goals you will accomplish. You will gather this intel during the hiring manager intake.
During your hiring manager intake, ask questions that help your manager imagine how work will function or improve when that new hire has been working for three to six months. These questions help the hiring manager understand what they're looking for, create a mutual understanding of what good means, and immediately help you write a better job posting. Talk about how they work with the team and what the best teammates have in common. If you need some guidance here, I have a hiring manager interview template you can download here.
Here's one thing you shouldn't ask for — lists. I'm not sure when this "give me a list" intake style started, but it's often the basis of bias. Wish lists are just that — wishful. They stop qualified people from applying to your jobs.
3 Areas to Find and Remove Bias From a Job Posting
Here are a few ways bias can show up in a job posting when it comes to requirements formed via wish lists:
1. Years of Experience
If you can't tell me the difference between what you know at 9 or 10 years, you're not qualifying anyone. You're asking for someone older. Don't quantify work. Instead, qualify people by writing about experiences that would prepare them for this work.
2. College Degree
College is a privilege, not a right. Unless this person uses a license or degree information every day, it's probably not necessary. I run an entire company and I can't tell you the last time I used something I learned in my degree program.
3. Gender-biased Language
The topic of gender-biased language has received a lot of attention — and for good reason. It is helping companies attract candidates of every gender. However, it can also be inherently biased. The distinction of masculine and feminine words leaves out every other identity. With that said, be sure to vet your technology and assure the system you invest in will go beyond gender binaries to align with your belonging, diversity, and equity strategy.
While the current state of job postings is a bit messy regardless of the market, you can lead the change and build a more effective and inclusive process by updating and revising your job postings.
Start by removing these three points of bias and watch the extraordinary talent you’ve been missing begin to roll in.