How to Find the Right Candidate

By Laura Pokrzywa

Once you have that well-written job description in hand (see last week’s blog post), you are ready to begin recruiting. You can think of it like fishing. FishingIf you are tying to catch a particular fish, you have to use the right lure and know where to cast out. The same is true when you are fishing for candidates. Post an ad that is too vague and you waste time sorting through a large number of unqualified applicants. Post an ad in the wrong place and you may miss your target candidate entirely. In order to find just the right candidate, you’ll need to create the right ad and post it in the right places. Here is the best approach.

WRITING THE AD: Details are important. The more information you include, the more likely you are to get the right hits on the ad. The job description will be your best resource to get started. Here are the basic essentials every job posting should have:

1.  A description of your company – Include one brief paragraph telling job seekers who you are, what you do and where you are located. Brag a little. Tell them why it’s a great place to work. Give them an idea of the culture to help them determine if it’s a good fit for them. This is a great place to add a link to your company’s website.
2.  Any “must-have” requirements (listed as bullet* points) –Include requirements for education, minimum experience, certifications or licenses, and unique skills or personality traits that will be needed. This will be key to narrowing your applicant pool and snagging you the best candidates. Not only that, but it could keep you out of hot water should a disgruntled, unqualified applicant accuse you of discrimination. *Hint: If you are using online forms, it might be best to use dashes   (-) or asterisks (*) since bullets do not always translate into html formatting.
3.  Title and description of the job – To avoid confusion, use a job title that is common to the industry (i.e., if you are looking for a short-order cook, don’t call it a “Sandwich Artist” or “Food Prep Technician”). Include an overview of duties and an idea of how this position fits into your organization. To facilitate online searches, include key words that job seekers would use when searching for relevant postings. And be honest! You don’t have to list every duty. But you should list the “make or break” duties, even if they aren’t the most glamorous.
4.  A brief description of benefits – Including the salary or salary range will help job seekers determine if your job is a “fit” for them. If compensation includes commissions and bonuses, point that out.
5.  Instructions for applying – You may want to set up a dedicated email address to accept resumes. If you don’t intend to read cover letters, tell them not to send one. If you require certain formats for electronic resumes, tell them. Whatever your process, make sure applicants know how to apply.

POSTING THE AD: Where you post your ad will depend on the type of job you have open, the qualifications of the candidates you seek and your advertising budget. Here are a few options to consider:

1.  Online search engines: The list of online job boards is long and the costs vary. Some of the most visited sites include monster.com, careerbuilder.com, and simplyhired.com. One way to hit most of them is by using a “vertical search engine” such as indeed.com. If you are listing an hourly job, try snagajob.com.
2.  Local online “classifieds” (like Craigslist): These are free and available to all job seekers who are searching by city.
3.  Social Networking: Post your open positions to your Linkedin profile to notify your network that you have an opening. It’s free and is a great way to get recommendations from trusted sources.
4.  Industry-specific professional associations or training facilities: This may include trade association websites, college bulletin boards or career-placement offices. Some may require a membership fee.
5.  State or local agencies: PA Career Link offers free job posting. For more information about PA Career Coach, please visit our previous blog post about recruiting tools.
6.  Local newspapers: This is generally the most expensive option and offers the lowest return on investment for most positions. Most newspapers include an online feature.

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