Selecting where to post and writing truly engaging content can be time consuming. Effective job posting creation is an art and can make the difference in empowering your organization to make the hire or conversely result in an open position that is stagnant and left unfilled long-term.
Within nonprofit recruiting sector-wide the job posting itself is one of the most important and frequently overlooked key tools in recruiting. Evolving your public posting into more than just a job description can result in dynamic results. If recruiting amazing talent for your organization is a priority the following approaches can give your organization a competitive advantage in a highly competitive market for qualified candidates.
This nonprofit blog is focused on trending tips, tricks, and actionable approaches you can leverage to write nonprofit job postings that are truly effective for your organization.
In this blog we will be focusing on six main areas for potential improvement. These have been shared from within the nonprofit recruiting industry as some of the most important key elements to consider when creating a new job posting or improving your internal job posting process.
These are as follows:
- Strategic content gathering including your organizational and position goals (so your posting can effectively detail what success looks like in the role and what it will take to accomplish it)
- Writing a compelling opportunity introduction and engaging organizational overview sections
- Salary and title/level review
- Use of effective requirements (and concentrating on proven success)
- Employing a clear and engaging closing
- Effective recruiting and job posting strategies
We will discuss each in further detail. If you employ these approaches your organization will be much more likely to hire talented professionals that are a full match for your entity and that meet the needs of your open positions.
(1) Strategic content gathering.
Step one is investing the time to gather exciting content and engaging stakeholders to come to consensus on the exact position objectives and strategic goals this hire will achieve in year one and beyond. Make sure your job posting is more than a list of what the job will do on a daily basis and is NOT a job description. Job descriptions are not effective recruiting tools, nor do they explain what the strategic goals of the position are. They simply do not get candidates excited to work for you.
Effective job postings detail the big picture work projects that area required to overcome the strategic challenges for the job function and make it successful. They also sell how amazing your mission and organization is. Make this your highest goal to communicate in your posting.
To aid you in the correct collection of content/responsibilities first ask and review the largest organizational challenges the position will be exposed to. Also, understand how this position will work to make big picture impact. Try to uncover the main projects the role will lead in the first year of its work and beyond. Do not stop gathering content (or interviewing internal stakeholders) until you have clear picture of what the specific large picture goals the staff members will be asked to achieve in the role. Visualize what specific tasks they will accomplish to be successful and what these strategic objectives entail. How will they be measured? Include these strategic objectives as positive and engaging content in your posting.
Next first write down the actual traits you are seeking in the role, and that are match for your mission and organization. What interpersonal traits and or qualities will then need to bring? Consider what is most important to your organization. Do they need to be highly responsive and move quickly or is it more important that they are methodical? Do they need to be highly ethical, and be exceptional strong written communicators? What unique traits make someone successful at your organization? Get clarity on these, and only interview finalist candidates that exhibit these aspects and proven experience that meet your strategic objectives. Make sure your job posting covers these specifics in detail.
Concentrate on writing positive and exciting content that effectively describes your true strategic goals and what will need to be accomplished to be successful in the role. Prior to writing the job posting, you must first make a plan. Know what experience you are targeting to hire. Know what region the talent should hail from. Know what demonstrated expertise prospective candidates should bring and from what kind of organization or mission they should hail from. And most importantly gain clarity on what this new hire will achieve in the role to be successful. By concentrating on what the position will execute and achieve you will set up your hire for success. Clear goals and actionable specifics about the role and position, lead to better hires, clear objectives, and less employee turnover.
(2) Opportunity introduction: the secret to writing terrific job postings is all about the opening!
Start with excitement! Start with the why. Explain the challenges the position will have the pleasure of working on! Keep it upbeat, describe the role in broad strokes and represent the exciting positives about your organization. Try to keep the intro to no more than three paragraphs. Remember make the role sound fun, impactful, and challenging. It is also powerful to share information that make the position sound like a rare find. Call the work truly rewarding, or that the position is hands-on, and don’t forget to describe the devoted amazing team of professionals they will work with and your mission. Get creative and grab your readers attention! Once you employ a process of creating opportunity announcements and not stale job descriptions you are on the road to success! Remember, job seekers first look at the opportunity introduction and then decide if they want to know more. If not compelling they will quickly move on to the next opportunity announcement. This is your one shot to land the best talent on the market.
(3) Salary and title/level review: ask yourself first if the responsibilities of the role effectively represent the title.
Next, review the salary in your region to make sure it is a match for the title you have chosen. If these are not congruent your position will stay open and not fill. This area is the most common mistake of all job postings. Inflated job titles that do have salaries that are equivalent, or responsibilities that are way beyond the job title. If you have either of these issues you need to go back and rewrite and re-strategize. If you’re not sure just google the title, location and the word salary to see the average in the area. Your offered salary should be at least the 50% median level.
(4) Effective requirements.
Be careful not to “require” aspects that are not actually fully required. This only limits your candidate pool that will apply. Likewise be careful of listing things as ‘a plus,’ as it scares off candidates that do not hold the background. Instead think about what the realistic target for what you want to hire is. If you will not likely hire anyone with two years of experience unless they can walk on water, why is the requirement two years? Instead list what you would like to hire. List what the true minimum is! But, don’t require specific programs or list them as ‘a plus’ unless it’s a hardline requirement. The purpose of the job posting is to attract the most candidates so HR or a recruiter can then judge who is the best possible candidate. Be a fisher-person not a cynic. Attracting talent with upbeat content and clear goals works a whole lot better.
(5) Use of a clear and engaging closing: just like in sales job postings are all about the close!
Make it sound easy to apply, make it sound like now is the time! Never ask candidates to go to another website that is complex to apply to. If you do you will loose 65% of your best talent! Instead have an immediate email for them to apply to or a link. Think about a location they can immediately apply and upload their resume. A great close includes all the positives.
Detail all of your benefits, perks, vacation, office culture, and how much people love working for you. Create a picture of positivity, opportunity, challenge and career growth. If you have done all of the steps and you are still struggling, it’s time to take the exciting job announcement and network it. Research groups and prospective targets that meet the experience you are seeking. Then just reach out and let them know you are networking! Every job is fillable, with the right approach and strategy.
(6) Post jobs and recruit effectively.
To build a strong and diverse talent pool your organization needs take a dynamic approach to internal recruiting leveraging many resources and proactive approaches for each opening. The four main areas to leverage in a comprehensive recruiting process include the following: (1) posting your job opening online on national sites and strategically, (2) using of your internal resume database/ATS, personal network and leveraging internal and past applicants, (3) direct proactive recruiting outreach to prospects of interest via direct networking, LinkedIn InMails, job boards, networking groups, social media, and (4) and referrals. The less outreach and headhunting completed on each of your open roles the more important it is to post your job openings on effective job websites that reach local and national talent such as Foundation List or other leading websites for recruiting talent. Recruiting is not a passive activity. Ask yourself how proactive your organization has been in uncovering talent that could be your next internal leader.
For a comprehensive list of the best places to post jobs for nonprofits click here.
For a comprehensive list of the best places to post jobs for corporations and businesses click here.
The Top Ten Do’s and Don’ts While Creating Nonprofit Job Postings
- Do not create a job posting that is too short. If you’re nonprofit job posting is only a couple of paragraphs it will not look professional. Short announcements send a message to the job seeker that the job is also not very good. Shoot for between 600 words for lower level position and closer to 1000 words for higher level nonprofit job openings.
- Do not list inaccurate information. Make sure the description you are using is recent, accurate and does not mislead. If it does, it will more likely make the job seeker more frustrated in the position later, if the job is not exactly as it was advertised.
- Don’t be negative! Job seekers are shopping for jobs and it is a competitive market out there. Talk about all the awesome challenges the person will be able to help with, the amazing projects they will get to lead and focus on the impact the position will create! That is what the best nonprofit job seekers are looking for.
- Don’t forget to include a description of your organization! This is an easy one. You likely already have a nice description of your mission and about the work your organization is leading. Make sure to include an “About Us” or “Our Organization” section to show off the amazing work and mission your prospective employee would be part of!
- Make sure to list whom the position reports to and other basic information such as the location of the job, remote work, the schedule and if it is full or part time. This is information normally at the beginning of the job posting. You want to make sure the posting is describing the work opportunity correctly so you can gain applicants that are a full match for the role.
- Make sure to list an easy way to apply. If you have a direct link – list it. If you have a direct email make sure to include it. In fact list them both. The easier it is for job seekers to apply the more qualified applicants you will receive.
- Don’t forget to list out every one of your amazing benefits from vacation/PTO, sick time, disability, heath coverage, volunteer days, training, 403b/401k, any deferred compensation, expense reimbursements, events they can attend, organizational parties, and literally anything that is a positive in the role! Nonprofit job seekers need to see more than just a base salary and will be judging all the aspects of the opportunity not just the money. It is in your best interest to list as many benefits and positive aspects as possible in your compensation section.
- Order the sections within your responsibility and qualifications from most to least important in the role. Make sure to think about the job and list the aspects of the role the person will be doing the most first. Make sure the most important qualifications are front and center, and also list your most important things the job will do first! The order the items in your nonprofit job posting communicates to the reader the level of importance you place on the work! So think about the order of the content!
- Be mission forward. To many job posting for nonprofits are missing the heart and connection to the overall mission of the work. Make being passionate about the mission the number one requirement for the role, in addition to the main type of experience you are seeking to hire. Look for candidates who a full mission match and the will be more likely to work for you long term and also give you 100% of their passion to help your cause and run your nonprofit programs.
- Show the growth. While it is very important to hire a staff member that will want to work in your vacant job opening long-term make sure to also describe how the position will grow and evolve over time. Even solely administrative positions can and will change and take on more over time. Show where the position has opportunity to impact your work, and take on more. All job seekers are looking for an engaging job that is fulfilling and an opportunity to help, impact, feel good and work with an amazing team. Make sure to call out all the positives to attract the best nonprofit talent possible!