Before Writing a Job Post, Answer These Questions
Writing a job post is a first step toward finding the right teammate for your digital learning team. Start your candidate search on the right foot.
A job post might be the first place that a qualified digital learning expert hears about your organization. Using the information in that post, they’ll decide if the position is right for them, and whether it’s worth spending their time and energy to apply. In short, a good job post can help you attract a qualified teammate. But writing a job post isn’t easy.
Many job posts include outdated or irrelevant information. Some set impossible standards that no applicant could meet. Others are so generic that it’s impossible to tell what the role actually entails. Your goal when writing a job post should be to attract qualified teammates. You can get off to a good start by asking the right questions.
1. What tasks will someone in this position do?
Start with the responsibilities of the role. What daily or weekly tasks will this person be expected to complete? What will be their primary responsibilities? Remember that you don’t want to hire just any learning technologist. You’re looking for the one who will bring the right mix of skills and experience to your team.
The best source of information on this topic is the team the new hire will be working with. Managers and coworkers alike may have insight into how this role interacts with them. After chatting with the team, you’ll have the information you need to really understand what the person in this role will be doing.
Taking this extra step now can simplify the screening and selection process later. You’ll have a better idea of who your team is looking for. Also, when you clearly state the tasks and responsibilities of a role, job candidates are better able to assess whether they’re a good fit. They can also highlight their relevant skills and experience. That makes the hiring process easier for everyone.
2. What skills and experience does the candidate need?
It’s easy to overemphasize experience. While experience is valuable, it’s not the only measure of a candidate’s ability. Think first about the skills a person needs to meet the responsibilities you laid out in question one. When you say you want someone with 10 years of experience, what knowledge and skills do those 10 years represent?
To keep expectations realistic, think about how this position would fit into a job seeker’s career progression. If they come in with a decade of experience, is there still room for growth in your organization, or will they need to find a new job to advance their career? A teammate who already knows everything the position can teach is likely to become restless and bored in the role. You’re looking for someone who will grow with your organization. So set experience requirements accordingly.
It is also important to distinguish between wants and needs. If you’re writing a job post for an accessibility specialist you probably need someone who is experienced in producing digital instruction materials that meet common accessibility standards. You might think you also need someone who has worked on math courses in the past. But if their responsibility is accessibility, not the creation of core content, expertise in math might be a want, not a need. Consider creating a must-have and nice-to-have list to start differentiating between wants and needs.
3. What benefits will be most relevant?
When evaluating job postings, experienced candidates consider benefits and perks alongside requirements and responsibilities. Salary and healthcare benefits have traditionally been the most important items to candidates. We’re now seeing more and more candidates prioritize paid time off, remote work, and flexible hours. Check that you’ve thought through the list of true benefits offered, then include the most attractive benefits in your job posting.
Also take care that your benefits list matches the role you’re trying to fill. A remote contractor worker will not be impressed by your matching 401(k) since they won’t qualify. But that could be a valuable selling point for a full-time employee.
4. If recycling, is this accurate?
To simplify the process of writing a job post, many teams reuse old job postings. If you plan to do this, take care. Roles often evolve over time. You could be attracting the wrong candidate. Assess the old post carefully to make sure that the tasks, skills, and requirements match what the role actually demands.
Pay special attention to boilerplate, like the company description or mission statement. Make sure they match the most updated versions for your organization. Also, double-check that you’ve asked for the right job search documents. If you expect writing samples, a portfolio, or other elements, those should be clearly listed on the post.
5. What is the purpose of this role? What impact will it make?
Most people make a central mistake in their job postings. They get so caught up in tasks and skills that they forget to communicate the purpose and impact of a role. The fact is, highly motivated, talented people tend to have options. They want to work in a role that aligns with their beliefs and mission in life. To attract the best applicants, write a job posting that inspires. Make it clear that this role and organization matter. Show them how they will make an impact.
This information should not be confined to a single sentence or paragraph. Instead, you should try to weave it throughout the text. Make sure you’re including these key points:
• Info about your organization. Who are you? What is your mission, vision, values and most importantly what impact are you making or striving to make?
• Why they want to work with you. What are you doing differently, how do you work as individuals and a team, how are people valued, do you recognize and celebrate successes, do you support growth, what exciting things are they involved in, how much creativity, developing and implementing new ideas, and problem-solving is encouraged?
• Connect responsibilities with behavioral best practices. For example, if you said, “We believe that innovation comes from the people who work closely with our students and create our learning products,” one of the responsibilities might be: Conduct focus groups and share ideas for making our products better.
As we all know, when you hire someone is passionate, motivated, and aligned with your organizations’ mission and purpose – you get better employees and better results.
More Support For Writing A Job Post
To support you in writing a job post that answers all of these questions, we are building a portfolio of sample job descriptions. Download and customize these samples to create job postings that fit your organization and the role.