Honesty Uncensored…Is Your Job Posting Too Transparent?

Honesty Uncensored…Is Your Job Posting Too Transparent?

Honesty is the best policy. Or is it? One of the core components of The YOLO Principle™ is communication, and I truly believe in communicating openly and honestly about the positions for which you are hiring. However, sometimes you can be a bit too far as evidenced by this job posting inadvertently published on Indeed.com.

This very transparent ad states:

“The current situation with the Photo team in the US i.e. Melissa Sinclair, is not a long-term solution. Currently, we have an agreed budget of $2,200 per issue for a freelance Photo Editor, 10 hours work at $22 p/h, which would normally be completely fine, however the issue is that Melissa physically cannot find good enough candidates to fill these freelance positions, and at the current rate of magazine production, she needs multiple people available to work on multiple cities, simultaneously. Because she can’t find people for these freelance positions, she’s been forced to do all of this work herself, and is currently completely swamped and overwhelmed, the design team has had to chip in to help her, which is not ideal, but has been required to get the magazines out the door on time.”

The ad goes on to give the rationale for getting poor Melissa some help and preventing her from becoming frustrated and leaving. This ad was removed shortly after it was published, but not before it was shared prolifically on social media. View the full ad here.

Most of us have struggled with issues like this in our businesses. While I am an advocate for honestly communicating both the good and the less attractive parts of a job, you may want to take a slightly different approach in your own ads than the one used to get poor Melissa some help.

The hardest part of writing a great job ad for most people is getting started. So, here are a few tips to help loosen up your creativity.

Pretend someone is sitting with you and you’re having a conversation about your company and how this job contributes to its success. Tell them you’re going to post this position and you’d like them to listen to you describe the job. Before you start talking, hit record on your voice recording app on your phone or computer. Later, listen to the recording and type up your notes, word-for-word. No editing of anything at first.

Or, meet a friend or colleague for coffee and do the same thing in person. That way you get their feedback on what is most interesting, where they have questions about something, or where they want to know more.

If those ideas don’t resonate with you, put on some headphones, crank up your favorite song and just start typing with wild abandon, without worrying about the words you’re putting on the page. Later, go back and read what you’ve written. The words you need to write a great job ad will be somewhere in there.

Now, you can start editing. Follow these guidelines to create a job ad that stands out from the boring job descriptions everyone else is posting.

  1. Start with a great job title. You want to speak directly to your ideal candidate. Your title needs to be something your candidate will use in their online job search.

  2. Your first two lines must grab the attention of your ideal candidates and make them want to read more. You want to speak directly to your ideal candidate. Use this real estate strategically to give applicants a couple of reasons to read on.

  3. Sell the value of the position to your company’s success. Avoid clichés and jargon. Use the same language that your applicants use. Great candidates want to know how their work contributes to your mission and vision. They also want to know that your company values align with their personal values.

  4. Talk about the people on the team. People want interesting work with interesting people. Show candidates some of that in your job posting.

  5. Remember to be real. Show your company culture. Create a picture of your company so that candidates can see themselves working for you.

If you’re wondering about poor Melissa, she received an outpouring of support on social media. Her company obviously values her and wants her to stay. That’s a great testimonial for how that company treats their employees. Let’s hope that Melissa gets the help and support she needs. Now, if only they can improve the way they write job ads.

If you have a Melissa who needs support so she doesn’t get frustrated and quit, grab a copy of The YOLO Principle: The Ultimate Hiring Guide for Small Business. You will find more tools and resources for writing great job ads that attract the right people to your business.

Of course, you can always ask for personalized help. Schedule your insight session today, call me, or send an email.


Rebecca Barnes-Hogg, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, is The Small Business Hiring Expert and works with small business owners and entrepreneurs who want to end their struggle to hire the right people. She is the author of The YOLO Principle: The Ultimate Hiring Guide for Small Business, and a co-author of Rethinking Human Resources. She can be reached at 843-779-YOLO (9656) or rebecca@yoloinsights.com.