How To Avoid Creating Bad Job Postings With a Simple Excel Template

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The Problem

There are hundreds of places to put up job listings. For relatively smaller enterprises where everyone has multiple responsibilities from operations to HR however, the sheer breadth of choices seems more like a challenge than it is an opportunity.  Creating good job postings is pretty simple. Unfortunately, it’s not really something anyone tries to teach in depth, even in business school.

Some of the common issues we see in job postings include:

  • wordy/imprecise/misleading language
  • inconsistent use of critical terms (such as in job titles and job description/responsibilities)
  • a lack of important information (such as contact details)

Unfortunately, many job postings are not only incomplete or hard to understand,  many are inconsistent across different channels even if they’re for the same opening.

Why You Want To Make Better Job Postings

Help Wanted Lion - reinvented via photopin cc

These are just some of the issues that come up from bad job postings:

  • Qualified candidates may not find or even completely overlook the posting. Conversely…
  • Unqualified candidates may respond to your posting – not necessarily because they misunderstood it, but because you were imprecise. Sifting through them can use up a lot of your time. Smaller businesses that are at capacity can rarely afford much time to do thorough job interviews.

Badly constructed postings will lead to poor candidate responses and waste everyone’s time. Time that could be done so much other useful stuff. This should be enough reason to want to create better external job postings.

Make Better Job Postings, the Ridiculously Easy Way

For most external job postings, we like to use this simple Excel template.  Download this, and you should be good to post in a few seconds.

When you edit the cells under the INPUT column, it automatically generates an external job listing you can copy and paste onto a word processor for further editing, or directly into job posting sites. The idea is to save time by doing away with extensive rewrites for every job site or publication you want postings to appear.

excel file

Changes in INPUT in the first sheet generates a ready-to-use external post template in the second.

This ready-made external job posting template can work well enough if you don’t like dealing with spreadsheet formulas, or simply don’t have the time to come up with a standard external post format.

Why You Want To Use a Template

There are a several reasons you’d want to use a template for creating external job postings. A template will:

  • Reduce the chances you’d leave out important details.
  • Simplify the creation of external job postings. 
  • Remove the need to compose  individual job postings
  • Make following best practices for this activity a trivial matter. 
  • Vastly reduce the amount of time it needs to create custom postings for different positions.
  • Allow someone with a non-HR background to easily create a decent post. Even an intern can handle this!

How To Create Your Own Quick n’ Dirty Job Posting Template

We realize our template is pretty generic and you may want one that better suits your needs. You might also want it to look a bit different from ours, or you might want to include terms or a structure that better capture your company’s image.

Here’s how to make your own.

1.) List down what you need for ALL available jobs in your company. This is so you can reuse your template instead of coming up with a new one each and every single time, only to realize you forgot to include one thing or another.

2.) Create a simple job posting matrix/template based on your list, and answer the items according to the position you need. Like this: 

 excel file

Remember, this is just an example, and it might not work for everyone. A web developer or programmer opening may need a more extensive list of qualifications, including what specific programming languages they are proficient in. In the hypothetical example, I valued actual graphic design and printing industry experience over such things as “Familiarity with MS Office Suite, CSS, and WordPress Platform”.
excel file

Regardless of your other requirements are, always include TITLE and JOB DESCRIPTION or RESPONSIBILITIES as items. This is how potential hires will find your posting. Also state if the opening is a PERMANENT or CONTRACTUAL/TEMPORARY position. Don’t forget to include your CONTACT INFO.

Other items you may want to include:

  • EXPERIENCE/QUALIFICATIONS
  • COMPENSATION
  • START DATE
  • JOB AREA/ADDRESS
  • PROJECT PORTFOLIO
  • LANGUAGES
  • PROGRAMMING LANGUAGES 
  • PROFICIENCY SPECIFIC TOOLS AND PLATFORMS
  • EDUCATION

3.) Sort the answered list according to priority. This gives you some flexibility if you want to create postings on a local newspaper or a magazine as well as on online posting sites.  This way, if you’re only allowed a limited amount of space for your posting, you don’t waste time figuring out which details are more important. This also keeps you from having to backpedal and spend more on postings because you messed up your first one.

However, this is an extremely simple way of creating multiple job postings. If you want to do something a bit more polished, go on to step #4

4.) OPTIONAL: If you’re using Excel, GDocs, or OpenOffice.org Calc, use the CONCATENATE function to create a simple automatic post generator. There are several ways to create a working end result, but you will want to use the concatenate function for this kind of project. This allows you to combine multiple phrases and strings in different cells into just one cell.

concatenate

We used multiple sheets in our template, but you can do all of this with just one. There is no single way to do this, and we’re sure most of you could do better if you wanted. Here’s an excellent video that explains the concatenate function:

Again, here’s our external job posting template if you want a reference point for your own, or if you just need an Excel template to play around with. We tried opening it with OpenOffice.Org Calc and it worked well enough. We don’t actually use OpenOffice.Org Calc that often, so take that with a grain of salt.

5.) Create your new postings! – make sure to just stick with whatever you have on your template. Only change important details when absolutely needed. This will lessen audience confusion and keep you from forgetting to include important info. Of course, you may want occasionally to change phrasing depending where you post.

Additional Pointers:

  • Make sure the actual posting (what’s left after you use the template) is easy to copy-paste if you intend to use it online. You’ll never know when someone will choose to just copy paste the raw text into his friend’s chat window.
  • It’s often helpful to make a list of tags to append at the end of your postings as some social media sites.
  • As is, that screen cap or the source MS Excel file can already be a job posting. A bad one – you can’t copy paste it into a text box for one-  but sufficient enough if you’re in a bind. Just blindly pasting your template however, would be a mistake.
  • Think of it as a tool, and not as a substitute for a real posting.
  • POST IN APPROPRIATE COMMUNITIES. Posting in the wrong places not only gets you unqualified leads, it can also reduce your credibility.

Where To Place Your New and Improved Job Postings

this way, that way

•  Craigslist
Now that they charge $25 for specific job listings, Craigslistis no longer the King of El Cheapo candidate hunts. However, it’s simple enough to post on the wanted section for free. Posting under jobs however, should give you a more focused audience pool and less chaff to sort. Either way, it’s a decent way to rack up applications from local candidates.

 

•  Job Websites

You have popular general job sites such as Monster, CareerBuilder, niche sites. Here’s New Grad Life’s list of Top 100 niche job sites. 

The process involved with each of them is slightly different. You’ll want to go with all the locally relevant niche sites that you can afford and as many of the more general sites as possible. This is where a template will REALLY help. You’ll be glad you made one when you’re through.

 

•  Old School Networks/Word of Mouth

By definition you can’t POST this way. However, since you’ve already constructed a template, your pitch should now be much more precise. This should ideally make it much easier to share job openings verbally without confusing anyone.

•  Classifieds

While most newspapers have already migrated online, there are still plenty of people who find jobs through the papers. Newspaper ads are great for geographic targeting. They can also be a tool for targeting based on political affiliation or ideology, depending on the paper’s target audience.

By the same extension, trade publications and magazines are great for targeting within certain industries. Again, you’ll be glad you have a template ready as the price of ad space can vary a lot depending on the publication’s reach.

•  Other Traditional Media

Flyers, brochures, posters, billboards, decals on buses – you name it. They can still be used to reach people. Rule of thumb – shorter postings for bigger prints meant to be seen from a distance  and more detailed ones for ones meant to be viewed at arm’s length.

Most traditional media employs a shotgun approach that usually isn’t very workable for anything but entry level jobs. A simple “Now Hiring” sign without any other info will presumably mean entry-level work.  Don’t go this route unless you really require just anyone without requiring any specialization.

•  Direct Mailing Lists

Direct Mail however, is very specific, and you may go into much more detail. These aren’t a very common way of sending job postings, but if you must, you may want to employ a somewhat more personal approach than just the bare facts on your template. Be careful not to muddle the clarity or intent of your message, though. The same holds true for:

•   E-mail and Direct Messaging
The online-offline difference between these and targeted mailing lists is obvious, but try to avoid making your job listings impersonal. At the very least, use a custom opening line and use the recipient’s actual name, if you can.

 

•  Social Media

LinkedInTwitterFacebookGoogle PlusQuora, and Pinterest are some among the most popular social networking sites out there, and they’ve all been used as ways for both employers and job seekers to find each other. Linked-in is by far, the most popular social media site for this purpose.

Compared to Facebook, or Twitter for example, LinkedIn makes it much easier to efficiently connect to people within specific industries and locations, all over the world. While other sites such as Facebook may have similar functions, there is much less specialization and these sites are not as used for this specific purpose as LinkedIn.

Reddit is another popular place for finding applicants, but be sure to find a subreddit that closely matches your industry and the type of job opening you want filled.

Which of these should you choose? Should you go with classifieds, or just use social media? It’s all up to you. Personally, I say choose as many as you can handle! A template should help save you a lot of time as you shift between these different job posting venues.

Image Credits

Help Wanted – Thewmatt via photopin cc

Help Wanted Lion – reinvented via photopin cc

This Way/That Way – Lori Greig via photopin cc

Author Bio

profileArthur Piccio is one of PrintRunner Blog’s resident Admins. He is also the head writer for The Art of Small Business. His work has been featured on New York Times’ You’re The Boss Small Business Blog, Bizsugar, SmallBiz Trends, and other small business and printing-oriented online publications.

 

 

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About the Author

PrintRunner
PrintRunner offers online printing service based in Van Nuys, California. They specialize in supplying discerning clients with superior print stickers, business cards, posters, postcards, and other products at affordable rates. Get a FREE copy of their sample kit now and see for yourself.

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