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How to Write a Job Description (Video)

A proper job description is helpful when posting jobs during the recruiting process, but their usefulness goes beyond hiring. A perfect and detailed job description will ensure all employees are completing their tasks and allow for accountability if something falls apart.

Writing job descriptions can be daunting, especially when you’re starting from scratch or dealing with extremely outdated files. If you’re working in HR, or any sort of management, and find yourself in this position, have a look at this short video from HRCloud. Not only is it entertaining, but it gives some quick pointers on the basic elements of a job description.

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Does Your Recruiting Process Match Your “Fun” Corporate Culture?

Does Your Recruiting Process Match Your "Fun" Corporate Culture?How fun is your recruiting process? Not for you, but the applicant. If your organization boasts a fun work environment and encourages new hires to have a sense of humour, then shouldn’t you demonstrate that as a company while recruiting them?

Before going any further, let’s clarify that not every organization wants to have that fun, Silicone Valley-style corporate culture with ping pong tables. We all have different definitions of “fun” and to different degrees, and some organizations prefer to define their corporate cultures in other ways. Today, we’re going to provide some tips on where you can inject fun and humour, on any level, into your recruiting process.

Careers Page

The Careers Page on your website is the first place a job seeker goes to learn about your company before applying. It needs to reflect your culture. A common technique many HR departments already use on this page is interviews, either written or video, with current employees. You can continue to do this, and add lighter elements into the interview. For example, ask them to tell their favourite joke, their weirdest experience while with the company, or any other out-of-the-ordinary question. The way people dress and what’s happening in the background of a picture or video will also give an idea as to the company’s culture.

Job Descriptions

If you search through job descriptions on Indeed, you’ll notice that very few of them have that “fun” element to them. Most, at best, have a standard company boilerplate, followed by a description of the role and the requirements work in that role. That doesn’t scream “fun corporate culture.” Try including a few off-the-wall responsibilities or make light of the position’s stereotypes (make sci-fi references in a developer post, or comment on the accounting department’s obsession with being organized). You may also add some graphics, comics or memes.

Job Interview

Do not hire a stand-up comic to run a job interview, unless you plan to film it and make the next viral video on YouTube.  Your top priority in the interview is to evaluate the candidate and their skills, so it needs to stay relatively serious, but you do have some opportunities to stand out. Interviewers have a habit of going on a power trip, trying to intimidate candidates and make them sweat — why? Keep the conversation light and add a subtle joke here and there. You may choose to evaluate how they react or respond to your jokes, but most candidates will remain conservative as opposed to exposing their natural wit. A couple quirky questions will also soften the mood and give you a chance to learn about the candidate’s creativity.

A Few Words of Caution

Comedy is a tricky thing. If you’re not funny, you come off as cheesy or offensive. Understand where to draw the line and run ideas by other team members, before causing damage to your company’s reputation. Also, it goes without saying, but take note as to where the fun should be minimal. For example, the first phone interview, salary negotiations, and the first-day policy review all need to remain serious and professional.

How can you spruce up your recruiting process so it better matches your corporate culture? Do you have an ideas you’d like to share with our readers? Please share them in the comments below.

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How to Create Images for your Job Postings on Social Media

How to Create Images for your Job Postings on Social MediaIn a previous post, we discussed the importance of adding an image when sharing job postings on social networks, as well as a few tips for sharing them on networks including LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. That sounds great, but for many recruiters and managers, it may raise the question “Where do I get images to share on social media?” Once again, Virtual Recruiter is here to help!

What kinds of images can you share with your job postings?

It’s really limitless. If you can think of something visual that would grab your job seeker’s attention and represent your employer brand, then throw it up there! Here are a few ideas to get your mind working:

  • Just the Title. Sure the title may be in the post, but adding “.NET Developer – Apply Today” in large colour letters will make a job seeker see you before your competitor’s identical LinkedIn post.
  • Any other stat, quote or statement. All you need to do is make somebody look at your link. Your image can be somewhat irrelevant to the job posting, as long as it will make your target audience look twice.
  • Memes. Memes are those witty images you see with white writing that get shared (sometimes overshared) across every social network you’ll ever be on. They also go viral. Wouldn’t it be cool if your job posting went viral?
  • GIFs. Social networks have only recently started supporting GIFs as much as they do now. There are ways to create your own, but even easier is to find a website that provides GIFs for free.

How can you create images to share with your job postings?

First, there’s no need to create them. There are plenty already available for you to share, you just need to look. You can share one that you already see on a social network (remember to give credit), or look through a free database, like Google Images.  Use search terms related to job hunting, your industry, or the specific skill. For example, “funny developer meme” or “job search quotes.” If you use Google Images, remember to click “Search Tools” and under “Usage Rights” select “Labeled for Reuse.”

Here are a few suggestions if you’d like to create your own images related to the unique job posting:

  • Talk to Marketing. If your company has a Marketing Department, then they may have access to software that makes creating graphics a cinch.
  • PowerPoint. Yes, PowerPoint is for more than just presentations! Start with a blank slide and use some of the built-in formatting. Then add your words, maybe some clip art and you’re done! Go to File, Save As, and change the file type to jpeg.
  • Canva. Finally, there’s this tool that will turn anybody into an expert graphic designer. Canva is a free resource that helps you create graphics very easily. It also has templates and sizing already optimized for the social network to which you want to share your job.

Are you adding images when sharing your job postings on social media? Do you plan to start? What ideas can you share with your readers?

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Tips to Recruit Techies When You Know Nothing About IT

Tips to Recruit Techies When You Know Nothing About ITAs your small business grows and becomes more successful, you may need to expand your team and start bringing some work in-house. As exciting as this is, hiring a new employee is always a huge investment and you want to make sure you recruit the right person the first time. If screening piles of resumes wasn’t already complex enough, what happens when you know absolutely nothing about the role you need to fill? Specifically, how do you hire your first information technology employee when you know absolutely nothing about IT? Here are a few tips:

  • Understand your needs. You don’t need to know all of the technical requirements at this point. For now, identify your own business objectives lay out everything that you know this person will need to handle. It’s a good idea at this point to also discuss the requirements with other people on your team who may require this person skills.
  • Write the job description. Read through job descriptions online and search for ones similar to what you require. This will help you nail down the right title for your new IT resource and learn about jargon, technologies and certifications you may want to include.
  • Know what attracts IT professionals. Your job description should also speak to your target market to attract the best talent. Like most people, techies are looking for a nice salary, but they also want to know they will have interesting work, new challenges, and work with the latest technologies.
  • Get the word out there. Major job boards and LinkedIn are great resources for recruiting anybody, but there are niche IT job boards and technical forums filled with with techies looking to be hired. Attending networking events or tech meetups will also get the right people in front of you faster.
  • Conduct detailed interviews. You go through this process with every new hire, but there are a couple extra steps to take with your new tech professional. In the interview, ask them about similar work they’ve done that relates to your current situation. Also, test them to ensure they can understand your business and objectives, as well that they can explain things to you clearly, in layman’s terms, and not in “geek speak”.
  • Ensure you can support them. Your new hire will want to be able to do their job in the best way possible. Learn what kind of equipment and software will be required to do that and obtain it, or you may be setting them up for failure.
  • Consider contractors. Independent contractors are often a better solution for technology projects that don’t last forever. Review your needs and see if a temporary or contract worker would make better sense.
  • Get help when you need it. Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Especially if you truly don’t understand what you need, you don’t want to hire somebody only to realize it’s the wrong skillset. Help can come from your friends, your network, or a recruitment agency.

IT professionals — developers, analysts, architects or any other discipline — are a major asset to organizations; however, they can be tricky to find when you don’t know what to look for. These tips, plus the help of a trusted recruiting professional, will surely get you on your way to hiring the best IT resource.

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10 Mistakes You’re Making in Your Job Postings

10 Mistakes You're Making in Your Job PostingsHow much thought do you put into the job postings you publish online? Is it just a template that you never edit? Did a hiring manager throw it together and nobody reviewed it? If you’re not putting much thought into job postings and at the same time questioning why people don’t apply, perhaps it’s time to change your ways. Here are a few mistakes we’ve seen people make over the years. Once fixed, we consistently see a larger stream of applicants coming through.

  1. Inaccurate Job Titles: Have you ever seen an article on your LinkedIn or Facebook feed that looked interesting and when you clicked on it, realized it was nothing what they promised? If you think that’s frustrating, it’s worse when you’re a job seeker. Regardless of how tempting it may be to spice up the job title so people click into it, this practice will not generate more qualified applicants.
  2. Weird Job Titles: Where an inaccurate job title may get you more clicks, weird ones will get many less so people will never learn about your opportunity. Try to stick with generic titles that people understand. If you are searching for someone to write proposals for example, you may have difficulty finding a Proposal Writer but more success with a job title such as Writer/Editor.
  3. Vague Description: When the right person clicks into your job, make sure they understand what it is and if they fit. A vague description could have a number of adverse effects, including the person not realizing they’re a fit (when they are a perfect fit) or an impression that you didn’t care enough to customize the posting.
  4. Massive Amounts of Content: People have short attention spans; this is a reality that you need to accept. Writing your job posting in the form of an essay, or including 50 bullet points, is going to result in very few applications and many more page exits.
  5. Limited Information: On the contrary, not enough information is also a negative thing. Now you’ll have everybody and their brother applying to your job because they all think they’re qualified. Good luck screening those resumes.
  6. Boring: A common mistake made by companies wanting to be perceived as professional and intelligent is that they write their descriptions using obscure words and complex phrasing. Unless you’re specifically targeting this type of resource, try dumbing it down for an easier and more casual read.
  7. Unprofessional: Although we don’t want you to “boring” we also don’t want you to be unprofessional. This can happen when recruiters have so much fun creating a job posting that it looks like a kindergarten application, but it can also happen if you fail to proof-read.
  8. Boilerplate: One strategy to get a job posting published sooner and ensure it’s been proof-read is to have some templates available. This is helpful, but applicants may recognize your boilerplate and it could get you into trouble with points 3 and 6 above, so take a few minutes to customize it.
  9. Unrealistic: Sure, we’d all love to find that iOS Developer with 8 years of experience using Windows 10 and the ability to perform a root canal, but it’s not going to happen. If you’re not receiving any applicants, take a step back and ask yourself if you may be asking for too many qualifications from your candidates.
  10. Failure to Write for Your Audience: Finally, this last mistake gives you permission to ignore any of the points above. Your primary goal needs to be writing for your audience, for example are they contractors or permanent employees? Although less common, some roles require a vague description, others can be super boring, where others may even succeed with a weird title. The key is to truly understand your target audience and who you’re trying to attract, and then write a job posting for them.

The job posting you publish to your careers page or a job board is the first impression a new applicant will have of your company. A terrible posting can result in a lost opportunity of an application from a talented candidate, meaning you will never even know that this person exists. Rather than letting candidates screen you, ensure the description you use to advertise the job opening encourages them to apply so, instead, you’re screening them!

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4 Steps to Getting Applicants Immediately

4 Steps to Getting Applicants ImmediatelyHow many times have you found yourself suddenly needing to hire somebody but when you go to post the job, you realize you have no idea what the job posting should say? Writing the perfect job posting and getting input from all necessary parties takes time, something that you may not have if your need is immediate. Here are a few steps you can implement today so when you need applicants “now”, you only need to click the “Publish” button:

Create a Company-Wide Template

Almost all organizations have a boilerplate job posting template. It contains company-approved information about the culture, any legal disclaimers, and a basic shell of subtitles such as requirements, description, and maybe even salary range. Regularly review that boilerplate to ensure it’s up-to-date. You may also consider adding bullets that you know will always be requirements, for example, in-depth knowledge of you industry, outstanding communication skills, or a specific education level or certification. From there, refrain from keeping the document HR-centric. Have that template readily available to all managers so they can start filling in the blanks on their own.

Create Generic Postings

Aside from the odd specialized role, your organization probably has some common positions that you’re always seeking to fill. Go one step beyond the basic shell and create generic job descriptions for these positions. If you anticipate specialized roles in the near future, it wouldn’t hurt to put together postings for them as well. There are many online resources to get you started. When you have generic postings prepared, a hiring manager can customize a couple points to match the requirements of their department, and be ready to post it in minutes.

Continuously Update

This might be the most challenging step. It’s easy to create a template or generic template and forget about it. Then, when you pull it out, you realize that it’s terribly out-dated. Schedule regular times to review the documents and confirm they’re still publish-ready. Has your organization changed its perks? Did you win any new awards? Are there new technologies being used that applicants need to understand? If you get in the habit of making these updates as they happen, your life will be easier in the long-run.

Another strategy for keeping up is to inventory your staff on the skills they require and tasks they manage on a regular basis. Good business requires continuous changes in process and updates in role requirements, so, depending on the position, an employee’s role one year may have different priorities the following year. Understanding this also means your recruiting team is always on the look-out for new skills that may now be essential.

Create a Job Posting Plan

Finally, even if you have job descriptions ready to go, you may get stuck in conversations and debates about where you’ll promote the job. Or, worse yet, you may start posting it to places that are irrelevant and a waste of money! The easiest and most obvious place to post a job is your website, so ensure the process to get it there is well-defined and accessible. It would be a shame if your job posting was delayed by two weeks because your only webmaster is on vacation! Next, work with your management team to build a strategy of where else you’ll promote jobs (if at all), understanding that some positions are more successful through different sources. For example, a Developer position may have a different posting strategy than an Accounts Receivable position. If you decide staffing agencies are the way to go, then understand which recruiters are best for which role, and have their numbers readily available. You’ll also want to make sure you’re prepared to answer their questions, such as salary and screening requirements.

Like so many other tasks, the key to success is organization and preparation. By being a step ahead and ready for the unexpected, you can have quality job postings published across the Internet and in front of those who matter — qualified applicants — in a matter of hours. What steps do you take to be prepared? Share your tips in the comments below.

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How to Put Salary Information into Your Job Posting

How to Put Salary Information into Your Job PostingAround this time last year, we went through the upsides and downsides of including salary in your job posting. In the end, we determined that is actually a strategic decision, and it’s important to weigh the pros and cons against your current situation. Let’s assume you’ve decided to go ahead and include salary.  Have you put much thought into how you’re going to do that?  Here are a few extra tips for writing your job posting:

  • Know where your salary stands against the competition. When you share your salary with the public, you need to know how it compares to the other offers candidates are considering. If you know you offer a better salary than the competition, brag about it as much as possible. Highlight the fact that your organization is where they’ll make money. If you’re in the average zone, or even below range, it’s not the end of the world, but be sure to craft your message properly. Highlight the extra perks employees get at your organization, the great corporate culture, and other intrinsic motivators.
  • Remember all of the details. As noted in the last point, a low base salary doesn’t mean overall compensation is terrible.  In addition to benefits, remember to mention if you have a generous commission or bonus model and rewards for top performers.
  • A range is your friend. A common concern with displaying salary is that it can hurt you in the negotiation stage. It can also give too much information to both competition and current employees.  A range can solve that issue.  The more flexibility you need in negotiation and the more you want to keep salary information confidential, the larger the range you’ll use.  (Just make sure it’s not too large. $1-$80,000 isn’t very helpful.)
  • Strategically decide where to place the salary in your job posting. It seems simple, but can have huge meaning.  Placing the salary at the start of your description shows that it’s important, competitive and you want it to stand out. When you wait until the end of the posting, you’re letting the applicant learn about the entire job and get excited before the asking them to start considering numbers. You may also choose to include it in the body so you can justify the salary or highlight which skills will get more pay.
  • Who says you need a number? If you’re really concerned about publishing a number, make a note in the job posting that you will set salary expectations after the application is submitted so you can each decide if it’s worth doing the interview.

Have you ever included salary in your job description?  If you have, do you have any tips to add? We’d love for you to share them below.

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Insider Tips for Posting Openings on Job Boards (Video)

There are many different options for promoting your job and the one that’s right for you depends on the job itself. In this video from docstocTV, Ian Siegel, founder and CEO of ZipRecruiter, discusses the different types of job boards and tools available for posting jobs. Have a look and see if there’s anything else you can be doing to attract the right candidates.

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Job Descriptions for Contractors vs Employees

Job Descriptions for Contractors vs EmployeesA perfect job description is the first step in making sure you attract the most qualified applicants for your position.  If you consider the job posting as a marketing document (which we recommend you do) then you know that to make it effective, you need to write for your target audience. There are many ways we can classify job seekers, but one way is to look at those seeking permanent, full-time employment and those who are seeking contract positions.

The job description you write to attract a new employee should be different from the one you’d write for a contractor who is performing the same work. To understand those differences, let’s first take a look at the goals and behavior of each group.

Goals

Those looking for full-time, permanent work tend to have long-term goals in mind. They’re seeking an organization that will help them grow and provides opportunities for promotion. These people also recognize that since they’ll be with their new organization for a long period of time, they’ll want to be in an environment that makes them happy. Therefore, they research the company and its corporate culture to find the place that they know will fit with their values. Finally, and most obviously, future employees care about the salary and benefits being offered, including vacation. They depend on the company to help them find the ultimate work/life balance.

Contractors are usually independent entities seeking short-term project work. Their main goal is to find a project where they have the skills required to do the job, but they also want to learn and grow as a professional, as well as gain some impressive accomplishments and references to add to a long resume. Although this group wants to know they’d be working in a nice environment, they’re much less concerned with the corporate culture. This is because they know it is not long-term situation, but also because they avoid getting involved with employee activities, protecting themselves from being classified as an employee by the CRA. Finally, independent contractors don’t seek a salary, but instead are looking for a competitive market rate that allows them to pay themselves, and also cover other expenses unique to contractors, such as insurance and vacation time.

Behaviour                                                                                                                    

Because there is more invested in a permanent position, employees often spend more time in their job search. They carefully evaluate all positions and organizations based on which ones will help them achieve their personal goals, and then concentrate on submitting top-notch applications to a select few who meet the criteria. These job seekers (at least the good ones) rarely go through this process but when they do, they’re hoping that it will be their only job search for a long period of time.

Contractors treat the entire situation as a business-to-business activity. Instead of searching for a job, they’re looking for a gig for their business. These people often deal with procurement departments rather than HR and, therefore, are used to that process. Contractors are always looking at new jobs, even if they currently have one that is expected to last for another few months. As such, they apply to many positions, they’re time is limited, and they have no desire to read the “fluff” in a job description.

Writing

The employee job description is what’s more often written about and you are probably already an expert on this topic. When creating a job posting for a full-time position, put a lot of effort into selling the company and the long-term benefits. Demonstrate why they should want to work at your organization and explain the corporate culture. The tone of your ad will also tell a prospective employee a lot about your culture.  Instead of just skills, let future employees know all of their roles and responsibilities as a member of your team.

On the contrary, contract job postings should be short and to the point. Provide an overview of the project with the required skills so the contractor can quickly decide if they want to apply or not. Be sure to include the length of the project and try to use words more unique to contracting such as “rate” instead of “salary.” Finally, there is a common misunderstanding that every contractor would rather be an employee. As a result, there may be a temptation to include a line that says “potential for permanent employment.” This line may actually discourage career contractors, so you may want to think twice before adding it if that isn’t really part of the plan.

Both employees and contractors bring different value to an organization. They each have different benefits so a solid mix is a great idea, just be sure you know the best ways to recruit each of them.

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Five Fast Tips To Make Your Job Posting Stand Out

The Internet is filled with clutter, especially on job boards. If you want to reach the most candidates, you have to post on major job boards, but those websites are filled with so many opportunities that yours just blends in with the rest. So how do you make your job posting stand out? There are unlimited possibilities and this video from HR360 highlights 5 great tips.