Five Common Mistakes for Online Job Postings

When you post a job opening, either on your website or on a third party referral job board like ours, your goal should be to maximize click-through-to-apply.  We have found several missed opportunities, both at our clients and at other schools, which can severely hinder that.  Typically, they fall into five categories:

  • Title of Job:  When generic job titles, such as "Assistant Professor," show up in a list of openings, they can waste significant time for applicants because they have to open every job and see if it is a fit for their goals and background; the cumulative effect can be similar to the children's tale about crying wolf.  Simply changing to "Assistant Professor - Kinesiology" will ensure that the correct people open the description.
  • Generic Job Descriptions:  When a school has many similar jobs, such as Adjunct Faculty, with similar compensation structures the tendency is to create a generic job description with one or two unique sentences in the job requirements section.  Even if you feel the urge to create generic descriptions, make sure that the summary overview of the position is unique for each posting.  Nothing insults applicants more than feeling like a commodity.
  • Education:  Know the audience that you want to reach, whether it be credentialed or demographically-oriented.  Certain positions (examples are Social Work and Fine Arts) typically are terminal at Masters, rather than Doctorate, degrees.  If your Assistant Professor roles can be ABD, state it, but also define when the dissertation must be completed.  Similarly, certain ethnicities tend to (but not always) top at Masters, rather than Doctoral, degrees.
  • Say what you want:  If you want someone to teach a specific course or with a specific research discipline, state it as such; differentiate between Must Haves and Preferred.  The worst thing that can happen for a school, for either Staff or Faculty positions, is to get a reputation for not knowing what they want and wasting a lot of the applicant's time.
  • Link response:  One of our well-known competitors, for many years recognized as a leader in higher education content and job advertising, fails 50% of the time when including links to jobs.  Make sure that the apply-now, or click-through-to-apply, functions are visible and easily accessible to the applicants.  Also, for third party referral boards, make sure that the applicants do not need to be signed in to apply; we found out early on that 6 of 7 applicants prefer to be anonymous when clicking through from our site to yours.

If your site is swept by third party job boards or their representatives, spot check the sweeping site weekly.  You might be appalled by what you see.  The site mentioned in the Link response bullet above is notorious for having blank job descriptions showing on their postings.  At $250 or more for a posting, you and your search committees can't afford that kind of waste.

Rick Friedman is President of the holding company for ScholarlyHires.com

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