What to Do When You Are Having Trouble Writing a Job Posting

ID-100111419The general advice on writing job postings says to be specific and upfront. But what if the job you’re posting about defies traditional roles? The good news is that you can still be specific and clear; you just need to approach the posting from a somewhat different angle.

1. Make a few lists on the following job attributes:

  • Why the job is there (what is the job’s purpose, its goals and its relationship to the business at large?)
  • Required mental and physical processes (they can run the gamut from good snap judgment to lifting 40 pounds)
  • Means and methods to do the job (education, skills, training, temperament).

If the job is a current position, solicit feedback from people formerly and currently in the job. The information should go into the posting and may help you figure out a way to better classify the job.

2. Be specific and candid up front in the posting that this job does not neatly fit descriptions and categories, and elaborate on why. Describe the personality types the job may be best suited for.

3. Devise an assignment—a task which serves several purposes. First, assignments take time and investment, ensuring you only receive serious applications. Second, you should tailor the assignment to reflect the nontraditional way of the job. For example, if the job entails working in marketing sometimes and in sales other times, with night and evening work thrown in, an assignment could be: “Explain what your approach would be in transitioning to and from these sales and marketing roles, and how you work successfully from home during oddball hours.”

4. Create a job title that stands out. By all means, list possibilities such as “Marketing Executive Wanted,” but in the end, try for an honest, appealing and creative title. For instance: “In Search of Marketing/Sales Exec with Good Sense of Humor, Flexibility and a Love of Misfits.”

If you are running short on staff, you still need to do your best on a job posting. Here’s how.

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