The Problem With Entry-Level Job Postings

When I graduated, I was going to be a marketing executive. I would work at the big ad agencies, and everyone would just be dying to hire me. I’m going to assume that you know exactly how that worked out. I mean, I’m sitting here writing a blog about recruiting. It didn’t work out how I expected.

In pursuit of my mission, I went for a communications degree. It was the only degree I could get without taking a math course. Most of my classes taught propaganda and persuasion tactics, but one allowed us to create a campaign.

I was so excited. This was it. We were creating a billboard for a nonprofit. We interviewed people who used these therapeutic resources in the community. My team came up with the winning concept, and I was ecstatic. I worked my butt off. Stressed like crazy. 

Entry-Level Job Postings Suck 

Guess how much recruiters cared about that when I was applying to entry-level jobs. Zero, if you’re wondering. 

Because I was an entry-level candidate, I was qualified to sell radio ads, Ponzi schemes, or get ridiculously low pay for what companies call a management program.

Reading the job postings was an exercise in despair. The clichés caught me off guard. I mean, how many companies could be looking for a high-performing, motivated, self-starter all at the same time? The answer is a lot.

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That’s the thing about entry-level jobs. Somehow they all sound the same. They repeat the same words across every job and pretend that candidates know something when they’re one year out of college and still working at the bar up the street. I hear too many university recruiters say, “Well, they should know,” which is a dangerous assumption for both sides of the equation.

A Job Pitch: An Introduction to Work for Entry-Level Job Postings

That’s why I suggest you include a job pitch in those entry-level jobs. Instead of making up entry-level requirements, use this three-part formula to introduce these candidates to your company and the role. 

  1. In the first sentence, define the impact by explaining who they’ll help every day. Every role has an effect on your company, or you would not hire the person. Define it here. For example, “As our customer service representative, you will help our customers make financial decisions so they can retire with financial security.” 
  2. In the next sentence, list three things they will do every day. This is an easy way to get people to opt-out of a role that’s not for them. You can write this in a straightforward manner. Start with, “Every day you will,” and follow it with three tasks spelled out so clearly that anyone can picture this person working without insider information. “Strategize” is not it. “Lift and transport” is the level of detail I’m looking for here. 
  3. The last sentence is optional. This is where you include anything that is absolutely 100% necessary for this person to thrive. You will not even schedule an interview if they do not have this specific thing. In most cases, this is where people try to tell you a college degree is required when looking for someone interested and passionate about the work.

As a recruiter, it is your responsibility to facilitate this conversation and ensure that only the needed requirements get into the job posting. Ask clarifying questions of your hiring managers to help them understand the minimum. 

Remember, the job posting’s purpose is for the candidate to think, “Yes, I can and want to do the job,” or, “No, I can’t or don’t want to do the job.” Frivolous requirements will never accomplish that task. 

Katrina Kibben believes your first impression on candidates starts at the job post. Many small businesses and companies struggle to find their recruiting voice and craft less-than appealing job postings. As CEO of Three Ears Media and a featured expert in recruiting and HR, Katrina takes a unique, strategic approach to help companies rewrite candidate experience content, overhaul job descriptions, and attract more qualified applicants.

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