Finding the right person for the job is a challenge. You only need to try and fill one open position to find that out! It’s a process that is a both a bit of an art and a science. It’s hard to attract people with the skills you really need, interview effectively, impress the best candidates appropriately, make a competitive offer, etc. – and things can get bogged down or go awry at any stage. You want to do everything you can to ensure you get it all right so you can maximize your odds of hiring a really great employee.

Start with the job description. It’s one of the first things that will impact a potential candidate. It’s how you get them in and it’s the first way they begin to learn about your firm. There’s an art to writing a good one but following a few basic best practices in this area can really help, including:

  • Be clear, clean and concise in your writing, and try to avoid too much jargon and boilerplate language. The job description is one way that a candidate begins to experience the culture and personality of your company, so don’t turn people off with stilted writing. 
  • Be reasonable in listing minimum or “must have” skills so that you don’t needlessly weed out talented individuals with the capacity to learn.
  • Convey excitement. Give the person a chance to see how their work would make a difference, be interesting, and rewarding for them in ways beyond salary and benefits. These are important to people, especially top performers who have their choice of offers.

There’s also a bit of science involved. One interesting new finding comes courtesy of Software Advice, a site that researches applicant tracking systems, who wondered whether something as simple as the design of an online job posting could make a difference in how many people applied (read the full article).  Online job seekers have millions of postings to look through; would the addition of visual content provide an advantage?

They surveyed potential job applicants to see if images or videos in an online job posting made the company that posted it more attractive. The results:

  • 51% of respondents would be more attracted to a company that had job postings with visual elements (images or videos) than to a company that didn’t.
  • Respondents were more attracted to companies that have images in their job postings than to those that have videos (45% versus 31%).
  • The company’s products or services would be the most attractive subject matter to applicants for both images (30%) and videos (28%).

What does this mean?  Well first, as far as I’m concerned, any advantage in attracting good candidates is a good thing. Despite the persistent buzz about slow economic growth and resilient unemployment, it’s still tough to find the right people, and in our business, IT staffing, it’s incredibly competitive.

Second, it’s a relatively easy thing to accomplish, especially when you consider result #2, that images performed better than video. Video is much more time consuming and costly to produce. A simple image will get the job done.

Third, an image that highlights your products or services is likely to be something that you have on hand.  Not that it might not be a good idea to develop some specific images such as the examples given in the study results but until then, you could potentially achieve better results by adding a photo that you already have. Done and done.

As I said before, there are many steps in the hiring process and this is a small addition to one part, albeit a very important part of the process. But if a simple design element can give you an edge, take it!

Wendy Sun
VP of Recruiting
ATR International, Inc.



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