One common misconception in recruiting is that job posts have to do everything. They’re an internal compliance document and also an external marketing document. They have to introduce the job and the company but also filter the candidates too. While job posts certainly perform the initial round of filtering, it takes job interviews and assessments to do the rest.
It’s important to distinguish between job posts and job interviews. Job posts have the specific function of getting potential candidates to apply. That’s it. Including things in your job posts that you can discuss during job interviews can actually get in the way of that function. Including things in your job posts that are meant for the employee lifecycle (e.g., every possible job responsibility) also gets in the way.
Here’s a quick overview of what you should include in job posts and what you should leave for hiring discussions.
No. Job posts lay out the basic requirements, but they rely on job seekers to self-assess how well they match up. Job interviews, on the other hand, enable hiring teams to do the assessing.
What belongs in job posts
The main purpose of job posts is to introduce your company and your job. They should lay out the minimum requirements necessary to perform the role, so job seekers can self-assess. And they should reveal enough about your company to give an impression of what it’s like to work there.
- What makes your company special? Convey your mission, passions, and workplace culture.
- What’s the job like? Succinctly tell job seekers who they’ll work for, what they’ll be doing, and what the goals are. Also frame the job within the context of your entire organization.
- What are the minimum requirements? Be specific about what tasks the role performs and what tools an employee will use to do them. List specific technical requirements, avoid vague or cliche requirements (e.g., problem-solving skills), and include preferred qualifications.
- What are the extras? List the benefits you offer, and affirm your commitment to inclusive hiring and workplace culture.
What belongs in job interviews
Everything else. From a practical standpoint, there’s only so much you can put into job posts without making them too long (which can deter job seekers). Also, job posts aren’t all that good at filtering candidates because, again, the candidates are doing the filtering themselves.
Anything that’s not absolutely essential to the role can wait until the assessment and interview stage of the hiring process. It’s at that point when you can get a better idea of a candidate’s work product (e.g., by assigning a mock project) and soft skills (e.g., how they communicate).
Soft skills such as communication skills, for example, are the poster child for what to leave off of job posts and address in job interviews. They have no place in job posts, for a few reasons.
One, excellent communication skills is such a vague and subjective requirement that it’s basically meaningless. Does it mean the ability to write an email, converse fluently over the phone, pen a well-written blog post, or make presentations to the executive board? Also, one person’s magnum opus may be another person’s dime novel.
Second, a candidate’s communication skills will be evident all throughout the hiring process. On their resume and cover letter, in their application, and, of course, during any phone, video, or in-person job interviews. Hiring teams have plenty of opportunities to evaluate someone’s communication skills without including them in job posts.