Departments Work

More than welcome: Making your job postings work for you

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

Finding and keeping the right talent is an ongoing concern for many organizations. As human resources professionals in every organization are looking for the right people for the job, there are things to be done to ensure your organization is getting attention from potential employees. Matt Erhard, managing partner at Winnipeg’s Summit Search Group, has a lot to say on how organizations can find better applicants simply by improving their job postings.

“For a lot of postings, not much time or thought is given to the quality of the content in them. Time and effort needs to go into them, to ensure that they will attract the right people for the job.”

Start at the beginning
Review your current postings with a close eye on what they say. Is the language you’re using inclusive? Does it imply anything about age, gender or culture? “Consider the ‘unspoken’ meanings of the words you’re using for the position,” says Erhard. “For example, usage of words like ‘competitive’ or ‘determined’ for roles that tend to be filled by men can unconsciously exclude women from applying.” The same applies to words that can also be ascribed to age, such as “energetic” that may implicitly exclude experienced or older candidates. Instead, use words like “enthusiastic” or “innovative.”

Make sure your postings don’t specify gender, such as tradesperson instead of tradesman, or sales representative instead of saleswoman. Use gender-neutral language and avoid gender-specific job titles.

Once your job postings are neutral about age, gender and culture, make sure the posting is clear and understandable to everyone. Look at how you might be excluding newcomers. Are you using jargon or colloquial language that may be lost on those who speak English as an additional language? Remove the cliches, idioms and jargon to ensure you’re clear to every reader.

Plus, Erhard also says being flexible on language skills can make a difference in recruitment. “While there are jobs that most certainly require fluency in English, there are many that don’t. Newcomers can do many jobs without fluent English immediately.” Be open to hiring those who can work while they learn a new language in their new country.

Also, look at global work experience as a positive, not a negative. A lack of Canadian experience doesn’t mean a candidate isn’t qualified for a position. In fact, job experience from other places may be a great asset to your organization.

In November, the government of Ontario introduced new legislation that will ban the use of Canadian work experience as a requirement in job postings or application forms. This follows previous legislation that prohibits regulated professions “from Canadian work experience requirements in licensing for more than 30 occupations” which takes effect in December 2023.

A closer look
Erhard also suggests being aware of the values that potential applicants have when it comes to looking for work. “Many younger people are concerned about whether the company they work for shares the same values they do. They will do their homework on your organization. Be sure to highlight what your organization’s values are and how that translates into the work environment you offer.”

He also says that an organization’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) is becoming more important than ever. “Attracting a diverse workforce means you have to show people that you are in fact diverse,” says Erhard. People want to be able to see themselves reflected in your organization.

Get to the point
“List the required qualifications for the job and remove anything that isn’t really relevant to the job. Think about the skills that are needed, and take out the ones that don’t, or can’t be assessed in an interview. For example, ‘good organizational skills’ are impossible to qualify in an interview. There’s no point in even listing it,” says Erhard. Quality job postings focus on the qualifications, skills and experience to do the job. The goal is finding the best person for the role—age, gender, culture and location of experience should not matter.

Be upfront
Disclosing pay ranges in wages and salaries in posting is also becoming more common. Organizations often hesitate to share pay rates in postings, but that is changing quickly. British Columbia now requires pay disclosures on job postings, and Ontario will soon follow with similar legislation. While sharing pay information may reduce the number of applications, it may also improve your chances of finding the right person. “By telling people what your wages or salary range is, you can avoid wasting time. Candidates will apply because they are interested in the job, and you can avoid dealing with people who are under or overqualified,” says Erhard. “There’s nothing more frustrating than getting to the final stage and then having a candidate decline because the role doesn’t pay enough. You’ve just wasted days or weeks of your time and theirs.”

He also says that candidates are driven by more than just money. “Showcase all of your benefits, not just the standard health, dental and RRSP programs. It’s often ‘little’ benefits that can make a difference to a prospective employee.” For example, providing meals while working, workplace events that include employee families, or even being allowed to bring your dog to work on occasion can be a deciding factor.

Finish the job
Once you’re taking applications, be sure the whole process works. Make sure the language used throughout interviewing and hiring is inclusive and welcoming. You can also consider blind recruitment strategies, where candidate names and other identifying information from resumes are removed during the screening process. Also ensure your interview panels are diverse, representing several viewpoints in hiring which can also help you find the best candidates.

Be open
A job posting is often the first interaction a prospective employee will have with your organization. Putting your best foot forward in the beginning of the process can make a world of difference in your recruitment strategy. Always remember that the end of the recruitment process should be the right person for the job who can excel and grow within your organization. “By starting the process with a good job posting, you create a win/win for everyone involved.” says Erhard. “It doesn’t take a lot of work to make a posting do what it needs to, and it pays off well in terms of time, money and finding the right people. It’s that simple.”


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