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How Secretive Are Your Job Postings?

How Secretive Are Your Job Postings?Sometimes, when writing job descriptions to promote a job opening, you come to a fork in the road where there’s an important decision to make: how much information should you include? Very often, companies are hesitant to divulge too many trade secrets that may jeopardize the business, such as specific employee benefits, technologies used, future projects, or certain policies.

Potential job applicants skim through many postings across countless job boards when hunting for jobs, and yours is just a number to them. As such, you want to include all of the attributes of your organization that make it a unique and desirable workplace.  Simultaneously, you must remain cognizant of the fact that competitors may also be reading your job postings, seeking to learn how you’re stealing all of the best talent in the industry.

So where’s the balance? How do you decide what you’ll include in a public job posting and what you’ll save to tell an applicant in a job interview, or after they start the job? Here are a few thoughts to consider:

  • Trade secrets vs Industry standards. Have a strategic discussion with the company’s leadership about what’s truly a trade secret within your organization, and what’s an industry standard that everybody else is also doing.
  • You’ll attract more people with more details. As noted, there is a trade-off. If you hide more information, then it’s harder to sell your company and everything you have to offer. Eventually, you become just another employer.
  • Does it look sketchy? You’re hiding information from competitors, but if job seekers perceive it as hiding information from them, you’ll lose trust right from the start.
  • What’s the market like in your industry? If it’s more important to find people than it is to keep innovations a secret, then consider giving a few more details to bait in the talent.
  • Do competitors really care? That’s the next question to ask yourself. Sure, you think it’s an important part of your corporate culture and sets you apart, but maybe that piece of information means nothing to your competitors.
  • They’re going to find out anyway. And if they do care, they’ll find out (assuming they haven’t already). Except for well-kept secrets that require confidentiality agreements, there is little that remains confidential. It’s a fact that employees leave organizations and some will talk to competitors. You’re kidding yourself if you think they’ll remain loyal and never talk about what you offer for benefits.

In the end, what you’ll disclose in a job posting is up to you and your company’s strategy, but avoid over-thinking the discussion. In today’s economy, talent is arguably the top competitive advantage, so in most cases, giving up more information to attract better people will win.

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