As a Seedcamp VP from a design and product background, I’m regularly asked for hiring advice. Especially from folks who have had an open role for several weeks (sometimes even months), but haven’t been getting the quality or volume of candidates they’ve been hoping for. The first thing I usually do is ask to take a look at the job ad, as this is generally where the problem starts.
The Hiring Landscape Has Changed
I think folks are used to writing job ads in an environment of abundance; where there are tons of qualified designers, developers and product managers looking for their next job, and your role is to narrow the field down to only the most qualified. As such, you spend the first half of the job ad talking about how great your company is and how lucky the person seeing the ad will be if they get the role. You then write a long list of requirements, intended to put off all but the most qualified candidates.
There’s an argument that this kind of approach might have worked in the past, and may still work for companies with a very strong brand presence who genuinely are wanting to narrow down the field. Although even then research has shown that job ads which use overly gendered language or contain long lists of requirements tend to bias against female applicants. So my advice is generally to ditch the long lists of bullet point requirements and run your job ads through a gender bias filter first.
Job Ads Are Becoming Less Effective
In my experience, while still common, these more traditional job ads are becoming less and less effective. Why? Because talented candidates are finding themselves in a sellers market. Hiring has exploded of late, and there are only so many qualified candidates around. As such, rather than trying to limit the number of applications to make the hiring manager’s job easier, the role of a job ad is to stand out in an incredibly crowded market; to make people who currently have a pick of roles consider you over somebody else. As such your job ad needs to be just that, and “advert”-and by that I mean something that really sells you, your company and the role you’re looking to fill, rather than simply sharing the fact that a position has comer available. So how do you do this…