Writing a job advert

How many times as a hiring manager have you engaged in to recruiting a new employee – most organisations have some form of HR process which you must adhere to and typically this means liaising with HR to draw up a job description and a job advert to advertise externally. As you are busy you arrange a meeting to talk through the role with a HR representative and leave them to write the JD and an advert. Often this is a mistake, after all you are the one who knows what you need and leaving your description open to interpretation from the HR person can lead to old job descriptions being reworded (sometimes not even that) or a JD being written by someone who is unsure what the role really is.

Writing a job description is good practice for you to really prioritise your wish list and give a little background to the team and department the new employee will be working in. Once you have written the document you need to think about how to take the core competencies and write them into an advert which will attract applications. No matter how difficult the role may be to fill due to constraints such as budgets you can still attract good strong candidates with the right kind of information.

In project management recruitment it can be the case that a well experienced project professional is required to join a project or programme at a crucial point, the salary offering is below market rate for someone with so much experience but none the less your needs are just that. So making the advert as attractive as possible is key to drawing in interest.

Not all project professionals are gunning after the big ££’s – in fact in my experience most are after a gripping challenge and looking to expand their experience. Therefore giving information about the challenges and why you need the more experienced candidate is not off-putting (if it is to some, then you don’t want them on board anyway), it can be the reason for applications. Something experienced project professionals gain from joining a challenging environment is further experience but also they just love to rise to the challenge and are not fazed by failing projects – they take pride in bringing projects back into scope.

A big mistake when writing job adverts is to not give any real detail about the projects to be worked on – now I know some pieces of work are sensitive and so you cannot name them but giving an idea of the type of project in context will help you gain applications from candidates with the right backgrounds.

For example here is a small piece which can introduce the role in a nutshell:

An experienced project support professional with a background in PMO and exposure to supporting circa 10 concurrent projects with interdependencies and good knowledge of manufacturing required to join a small established team to deliver a variety of business change projects ranging from new system roll outs to cultural change initiatives.

This can then lead into a little about the business and the challenges it currently faces such as; globally dispersed teams, cultural challenges, adversity to change etc. Then lead into the core competencies required such as; risk & issue management, planning, reporting, workshops, coaching etc. Finally talk through the advantages of joining such a team, talk through the maturity level of the PMO and how you envisage this person to help drive forward practices and really be a part of the organisation.

By writing a generic but informative advert you will not only hit keywords for those searching online for new roles, but also avoid dozens (if not hundreds) of applications from those who are not suitable for the role. Of course you will always get a few applications from unsuitable candidates (unfortunately I have yet to find a way to stop this completely) but on the whole you will be attracting the right calibre of candidate.

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