I learned how to ride a bike by being pushed down a massive hill. No lie. I was a little old to be learning how to ride a bike in the first place – probably 10 or so – and I wanted to keep up with the neighborhood kids. But they all knew how to ride a bike and they rode fast. I wasn’t going to keep up by running behind.
I was determined to learn how to ride a bike. I rode up and down my driveway and the street. Then, eventually, my daredevil friend spoke up. “You should try riding down a hill; that’s way easier.” I took his advice. I mean, I didn’t know anything about riding a bike, anyway.
As I approached the massive hill, I felt that pit in my stomach of fear. But with so many other kids watching, I couldn’t say no now. “Here we go,” I remember thinking as I pushed myself with both feet. Accelerating down that hill, I felt free. Powerful. Excited.
Then I remembered I didn’t know how to stop shortly before I hit a curb and went flying. I scraped my neck, knees, elbows, and even my stomach. I was a mess. I remember my mom pulling up from work as I laid in the grass bleeding. All I remember her saying was, “well, you rode a bike.”
Why Hiring Managers Shouldn’t Write Job Posts
This is a true story metaphor for having hiring managers write job postings. Hiring managers shouldn’t write job posts – they don’t know what they’re doing and are flying toward bias without any brakes. I mean, if you as a recruiter don’t know how to write a job post – how would they?
Plus, if you don’t know what you’re looking for? You can’t find it. How will you know you’ve found the right candidate if you have no idea what their work history should be? Do you really know what the hiring manager wants when they hand you a wish list created by copying and pasting five different job posts they like from the Internet?
Bottom line: hiring managers shouldn’t write job posts no matter how big your organization is or else it could really hurt your organization. They don’t know how to stop when it comes to bias. Writing a job post is *not* as easy as riding a bike.
Guess Who Should Write Your Posts? Recruiters.
That’s why you have to be the one writing job posts and it’ll start with a hiring manager intake. This isn’t just a time to make a list of skills. It’s a time to build trust.
For example: Asking “What are your ideal candidate traits?” will get you a list of made up requirements.
Instead, try: “What projects are they working on now that will make them successful on day one?” That will get you a helpful shortlist of projects so when the right candidate mentions they are working on that, you know you’ve found the right person. Plus, you can list those in the job post so the candidate can self-identify and you can save time on sourcing.
Remember, a good job post simply tells the truth and to understand the truth, recruiters have to facilitate a conversation with the hiring manager. This isn’t a creativity contest and you don’t need to make anything up. Use the hiring manager intake as content for your posting, but don’t let them write the first draft.
Kat Kibben [they/them] is a keynote speaker, writing expert, and LGBTQIA+ advocate who teaches hiring teams how to write inclusive job postings that will get the right person to apply faster.
Before founding Three Ears Media, Katrina was a CMO, Technical Copywriter, and Managing Editor for leading companies like Monster, Care.com, and Randstad Worldwide. With 15+ years of recruitment marketing and training experience, Katrina knows how to turn talented recruiting teams into talented writers who write for people, not about work.
Today, Katrina is frequently featured as an HR and recruiting expert in publications like The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and Forbes. They’ve been named to numerous lists, including LinkedIn’s Top Voices in Job Search & Careers. When not speaking, writing, or training, you’ll find Katrina traveling the country in their van or spending some much needed downtime with the dogs that inspired the name Three Ears Media.