5 Lines to Better Candidates

You’re filling a temporary or permanent role. Easy, right? HR sends you the job description on file—it’s a basic write-up, but it gets the job done—and you send it to your suppliers to recruit. Then you get a slow trickle of candidates who don’t look quite as good as you expected.  Where’s the wave of talented people that should be flooding you with qualified résumés?

Maybe it’s time to tweak that basic HR job description need. Next time, add these 5 sentences (or versions of them) and see what a difference a few words make:

“This position is initially posted as a 3 month assignment, but could be extended if the workload, budget, and candidate’s performance warrant extension.”

  • Why it works: You want to know your job has a future, right? So does everyone else.  An open-ended job with the opportunity to stick around is an attractive prospect. On the other hand, if the job will be a short one, being up front about its temporary nature lets candidates know what they are getting in to from the start. If they need something long-term, they can opt out.

“Candidates will be reviewed and sent feedback within 2-3 business days after qualification into the candidate pool.””

  • Why it works:  Nobody wants to send résumés into a “black hole.” Committing to a turnaround time shows suppliers your urgency and makes your positon their priority. Your timely feedback also shows suppliers there is some life in the request, motivating them to keep working on it. Specific and timely feedback is key.

“Candidates previously submitted to our last open job will/won’t be accepted for consideration.” 

  • Why it works: Suppliers want to send you their best people. It’s how they fill jobs and win business. If the candidate you interviewed for a similar job last month was close, but was beat out by someone just slightly better, suppliers want to know if you’ll consider the “silver-medalist” again. But if she was completely wrong for your company, it’s not worth it to send her back, and you should say so.

“Candidates without a four-year degree need not apply.”

  • Why it works:  This goes for any must-have criteria. Sure, you’ve listed the requirements in the skills/education/experience section, but tagging the job description with a reminder at the bottom of the page indicates it’s a showstopper that bears repeating. Make sure your top criteria come through loud and clear.

“This assignment is a great opportunity to ________.”

  • Why it works:  You’re looking for the person who wants this job, not someone who needs any job. Besides a paycheck, what will your candidate get out of it? Experience with cutting-edge technology? Connections from an industry-leading organization? Flexible work hours? True talent is scarce; the best candidates have their pick of where they want to work. Describe why someone will love working for you, and you will have talented people excited about applying.