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Before Posting a Job, Edit This

Published Wednesday Jun 19, 2019

Author Kelley Small

Before Posting a Job, Edit This

Where do most people go to learn about a company with which they’ll potentially do business or consider applying for a job?

For many, it’s the ubiquitous “About Us” tab on the company’s website. It’s where people look to get a sense of what the organization is about and what makes it stand out. Companies looking to hire a senior member of their team need to consider whether they are building that About Us messaging into their job description.

While necessary, job descriptions can be mundane and of limited value, featuring bulleted lists of the required tasks and skill sets. Higher-level hires, however, need to ensure that top candidates align with the corporate leadership style that is key to attracting and retaining future talent. As a result, online services that cater to early-career positions and don’t facilitate the posting of substantive content about the business and culture might not be the most appropriate resources.

Capturing the culture and personality in a job description is critical for all searches. It will more likely yield candidates that are both accomplished and a good fit. Conversely, a task-laden description that lacks personality might yield a large pool, but ultimately not result in a hire because the finalists were not a good fit.

A job description needs to sell candidates on the company and the positions, so make it easy for prospective candidates to get all the pertinent information in one place. Lead with an overview of the business and the culture: Is it fast-paced, collaborative, serious, funky, data-driven, entrepreneurial, employee-owned, rapidly growing or casual?

Tie the company’s mission and goals into the description. What is the organization’s direction? Is the company expanding nationally or internationally? Did it recently rebrand? Is the business introducing new products and services? How does this particular job play into a growth strategy?

Keywords and Titles
Businesses need to identify keywords that both define the company and align with who they want for strategic positions.

Companies need to consider the work environment and capture that in their introduction. Is the business in a renovated mill or a modern high-rise? Is the space open with few offices? Some people can thrive in an open environment and others cannot. A firm should not surprise someone in a director-level role with an unworkable office space rather than a private office. Depending on their style, this may be a game stopper for them. From the beginning, a business should be open and clear.

Attracting top-level prospects who are a good fit initially will create a much better, faster and more effective search process.

The job title needs to capture the essence of the role and align with the level of responsibility associated with it. Words in the title matter and should be carefully thought through.

Format Is Important
Once a company includes an engaging About Us section and a well-thought-out job title, it needs to use an easy-to-read and digestible format to go through responsibilities, qualifications and expectations. A substantive bulleted format is
often easier to digest than paragraphs. Firms need to avoid minutia, as someone at this level will not need to know everything they may do between Monday morning and Friday afternoon in a job description.

Hiring the right people can be satisfying and rewarding, but it is not easy. Searches are a lot of work, and they become harder as companies look to fill more senior-level positions. Taking these steps can increase the likelihood of a great hire.

Kelley Small is a principal with Standish Executive Search, a firm based in NH and Rhode Island that helps organizations define and fill management roles. Visit

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