CategoryJob Search Tips

Is It Time To Re-Write That Job Posting?

If your HR Department is like mine, you’re juggling everything from applicant sourcing to COBRA administration and all points in between.

So when you write a job posting that effectively describes the role and responsibilities, you feel like you’ve hit the jackpot and found the Holy Grail! And you use that same post and verbiage over and over … and over and over … and over and over.

And once more again for good measure.

Over time, however, even the best of job postings get stale. And if you keep doing the old copy/paste of the same verbiage over and over, you’re eventually going to see a dip in both the quality and quantity of applicants for your positions. Why?

  • Applicants don’t read. We’ve heard over and over that recruiters and hiring managers only spend 5 – 10 seconds looking at applications. Well, applicants aren’t spending much more time looking at the jobs they’re applying to, either. They spend about 15 – 20 seconds reading job postings. So if you’re not updating your postings, you’ll end up with lots of duplicate applicants who either won’t remember applying before or will apply again because they don’t think you saw them the first time.


  • Applicants know you’re not serious. Whether it is your career site or a job board, the serious seeker sees when you’re using the same posting again and again without changing anything. When applicants see that you’re not serious enough about your postings to make routine adjustments, they think you’re not serious about your job requirements. So if you’re not updating your postings, you’ll end up with under-qualified and/or long-shot applicants who think their annoyance persistence might just pay off.


  • Applicants are perceptive. Remember, while you’re screening someone for that opening in your company, that someone is also screening you. When applicants see that you’re postings are routinely recycled, they wonder what kind of organization they’d be working for. How can you legitimately claim to be forward-thinking, innovative and cutting-edge if you haven’t updated your job post wording in over a year or more? If you want to attract top talent but you’re not updating your postings, you’ll end up running off those high performing applicants who think you won’t be able to further develop their talents.

Don’t cause open jobs to linger longer and hurt your talent pool by using stale job postings. If you’re not yielding the applicants that you want and need, it’s probably time to update that old faithful job posting with some fresh new wording.




Bringing that “Back to School” Magic to HR – part 3

In Part One, I gave tips on orientation and onboarding.

In Part Two, I talked about the importance of setting the tone through expectations.

I would be remiss if I didn’t discuss the part of ‘the student’. So that’s what Part 3 is about … “Back to School” magic is not just about the teachers, the same way that new job isn’t all about the company. The student and the employee also have to play their part. Each has to bring their own magic to the occasion for the first moment and all the moments after to have the greatest effect.

Here are a few things you can do at your new job or new promotion to bring that “back to school” magic:

  • Prepare yourself. Research the job you’re going to do and the typical duties you’ll perform. Find and talk to people already performing the work to learn from others. Read relevant books and articles. A clear picture in your mind’s eye of what you’re getting into will build your excitement and anticipation.
  • Bring  inspiration. While I don’t encourage a whole lot of office decoration, when starting a new job or position, it’s a good idea to bring a few items to liven up your workspace, show some personality and keep you motivated. Keeping reminders of who you are, what you do and why ensures you’ll stay engaged even after the newness wears off.
  • Choose a friend. Find someone to bond with early on so you won’t feel so alone. Even if you don’t remain friends with the person forever, it will help in the first few days to have someone to talk to and ask questions. Try to pick someone in your department and/or on your same responsibility level to avoid the appearance of impropriety.
  • Dress the part. To the extent your budget allows, refresh your wardrobe when starting a new job or promotion. Consider a change up of hairstyle and grooming as well. When you look better, you feel better … so if you look different, you’ll feel different. This will help you embrace the change brought by this new role.
  • Have a plan. You know what you were hired to so you should have some idea of how the job should be done. Not all organizations will have a thorough orientation and training plan ready and waiting for you. Some may not have any plan at all! Don’t wait or stunt your progress waiting for them to catch up. Know what you want to do and start figuring out ways to make it happen from the moment you begin.

You’ve got to bring more to the first day than just “what’s in it for me.” It’s work — not a concert. No one is there to engage or entertain you. If you bring your own ideas and enthusiasm, you will be happy and you’ll make a difference.

HR is NOT your Friend

There’s been a lot of chatter online recently about employers asking employees for their Facebook passwords during the interview process. Most came out vehemently opposed to that as an unnecessary invasion of privacy. However, when the request switched to just “friending” candidates on Facebook, the consensus shifted and support split down the middle.

The argument in favor of becoming Facebook friends with employment candidates is that it will give you greater insight into the person. It tells you about out their interests and values. It tells more about their affiliations and types of things they support. It can also tell you if the person has any associations or tendencies that may be in conflict or problematic with the employer’s goals. And it may reveal a connection to a mutual acquaintance to serve as an additional reference that will tip the scales … At least according to THIS article recently published on the Huffington Post written by someone who admits he is “no HR expert.”

Well, I kinda am an HR expert. And I think that’s a bunch of crap and I want no parts of it — as a manager, consultant or potential applicant. The liability caused by the ambiguity and subjectivity of it is just too great. I want to stay far, far, far away from it for a long, long, long, long time to allow time for more research to be done and standards established.

And you should too. Here’s why:

  • Employment decisions should be based on a person’s experience, education and physical ability to do the job. These are determined using screening tools, checking references, performing background checks and conducting behavioral interviews. Not by perusing someone’s Facebook profile to see what things they “like” or what groups they are apart of or where they check-in or tagged photos of them doing the Electric slide at a wedding.
  • Not everyone is on Facebook. Or Twitter. One of my very best friends is an Attorney in Maryland where she has litigated and won landmark cases in her career. Another is a professor and department chair at a university here in North Carolina — she’s published groundbreaking research in her field. Neither one has a Facebook. They both down-right refuse. I was able to drag my attorney friend onto Twitter after months of badgering — but she participates moderately. It’s just not her thing! And that is OK. But an employer who based a final decision on Facebook friending would miss out on these awesome potential employees … Plus, not everyone on Facebook is an active user. Some people just login once in a while to see what their friends and family are up to without posting or liking much of anything … And then there’s that pesky thing called “the digital divide” that still keeps some people offline altogether.
  • There is a great likelihood hiring managers will misuse the tool. I don’t know about your organization but, in my experience, it’s hard enough to get a hiring manager to use the proper tools already at their disposal. Sending them off on some kind of wild-goose-chase on Facebook is not something I would do. Because chances are higher they will end up not hiring someone because they are a fan of Keeping Up with the Kardashians than because they are a fan of the KKK. Or that they will bring someone in for an interview because their profile picture is hottttt. Or not bring them in for an interview because they have kids or they are a Muslim or some other unlawful reason.

I’ve got more than enough employee relations issues to deal with because watching too much Judge Judy and reruns of The Practice has them thinking they can and should sue for everything that doesn’t go their way so they can make millions, never have to work again or end up owning the organization … Sorry. That was jaded. But true. I have more than my share of mess to sort through and I don’t want to add more.

Instead of friending candidates on Facebook to assist in hiring decisions, invest in developing hiring managers to conduct thorough behavioral interviews and identify red flags. Instead of using the acceptance of a friend request to tip the scales, invest in some proven professional skills and personality testing. And if you want to check out an online profile, connect on Linked In where professional networking is appropriate — then judge THAT profile based on how complete it is and who the candidate is linked with and what groups the candidate belongs to.

But unless part of the job is to manage the organization’s social media presence, don’t go friending or following employment candidates online.

And use caution even after they’re hired.

The Other Side of HR – part 4: Job Search

This month, The Buzz on HR is doing a series about the things I’ve learned on the other side of the HR equation, as an employee experiencing the thing that happen to thousands of employees every day. Week 1 looked at Benefits. Week 2 looked at Sexual Harassment. Week 3 looked at the FMLA. And the final week is the Job Search.

I think there is nothing more difficult than being an HR person looking for a job. Certainly, there are some advantages. We know the entire process from beginning to end — what jumps out at a recruiter or hiring manager in a resume (and the fact that these can be 2 very different things), the right things to say during the interview, the wrong things to say during the interview, how to negotiate salary and so on.

But that is where the advantage ends. Because we also know what goes on behind the scenes with the person or people looking at our resume, conducting our interview and extending the job offer. HR people are often super critical of our performance and over analytical of the process at the same time. When there is a lull or delay in the process, we can’t ever be sure if it is something we’ve done wrong or an issue with the hiring company’s process — and, if it is the latter, we have to decide how to feel about that and if we can work for a company who doesn’t have their act totally together.

This is what I faced earlier this year when I dusted off the old resume to see what opportunities were out there for me. If you know me and/or have read other articles in my blog, you know I work with some challenging people — like Mustang Sally, Teflon Tyler, Surly Sue and the great pop-culture debaters. Sometimes, I wonder if the grass is greener elsewhere. When I get that feeling, I update the resume and start searching.

It took awhile to get a response. Months, even. It was a little disheartening. I let a recruiter friend look at my resume and give me some pointers to improve it. Then I just told myself to stay consistent in my search, be patient with the process and have faith that the right opportunity would come at the right time.

And it did! I got a call back from a great company for a great HR opening. I began thinking about all the great things I could do in this new position …

Unfortunately, I got to the interview and I wasn’t impressed. The job wasn’t really what I thought, the environment wasn’t what I imagined and I didn’t click with the people that worked there. It was a complete and total let down for me … but once I got over the disappointment, I was appreciative for what I learned from the experience.

  1. Always keep your resume current. Before I started this search, I hadn’t touched my resume in almost 4 years. Whether actively seeking a position or not, that is pathetic and unacceptable. There were so many things I’d done that I’d forgotten about so I couldn’t add those things to my resume — and I am sure it had a negative impact on my search. A resume should always be a work in progress.
  2. Recognize the holes in your experience and take the steps to fill them. I saw a lot of jobs out there that were awesome but I didn’t even apply because I didn’t have right skills and experience for it. However, seeing what is out there, I now know what I need to do to improve. So I am going to take some classes and seek out volunteer opportunities to strengthen the places where I am weak.
  3. Remember you are screening employers just like they are screening you. This was the first time I ever walked away from an interview not wanting the job. I didn’t know how to react to it. However, my family and professional friends quickly reminded me about the importance of “fitting in” at work and that the working relationship has to be a mutual one. Just because someone offers you a job doesn’t mean you have to take it, whether you are already employed or not.

Ultimately, looking for a job when you already have a job is a “gut check.” It is like standing on the edge of a cliff and deciding if you really want to jump or not. In the end, I learned I wasn’t ready to jump. So I recommitted myself to the place I am now with a new appreciation and some great ideas on ways to improve myself and my environment.

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