5 Things You Need In A Startup Job Posting

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Startup founders might have some trouble finding their first employees. They’re often more concerned with getting their business off the ground, and the recruitment process consists of much more than simply interviewing prospects and choosing the best ones.

It starts with the job posting, and the results of the entire endeavor are determined by what the posting accomplishes. A great job posting can bring in top talent, while a mediocre one will attract lackluster candidates. Choosing from a pool of possible employees who all leave something to be desired is no way to hire.

Founders need to create a job posting that will lead to applications from outstanding individuals – people with passion and skill will help build a startup into a thriving company. Here are five tips on how to do just that:

1. An Eye-Catching Title
The title of the job posting is the first thing prospective candidates will see, and it needs to grab their attention. However, there’s a middle ground with this – quirky titles like “design ninja” are rarely effective, but postings with bland titles or even numbers like “programmer three” are also unlikely to get read by many people.

Titles that draw viewers are those that are specific enough to give information about the position, but not so company-specific that they have little meaning to those outside the industry or even the business itself. Relying on accurate information rather than gimmicky titles will also help job postings show up more readily in searches. Founders looking for a designer can say as little as “Designer Sought for New Startup” and find several candidates who are interested in this type of work.

2. Clear Requirements for Applicants
Startup founders should consider what they really need in an employee for the position they’re advertising. It’s common to post openings and ask for innovative and self-motivated applicants, for example, but this is not necessary to request. It’s a given that employers don’t want backward and lazy workers. Instead of focusing on descriptions like that, startup founders should ask for specific qualifications, industry training and traits. For example, it’s helpful for many early-stage startup employees to be flexible and able to handle stress, as well as to have good networking skills to get the word out about a new business. This is much more informative than a generic set of adjectives.

3. Give a Comprehensive, Concise Job Description
Job descriptions should be the centerpiece of job postings. It’s important to outline the duties and tasks a worker will be expected to handle, especially because it’s easy for different people to have different perceptions of what a programmer or designer really does. Additionally, startups often have employees double up on roles occasionally, and this should be made abundantly clear to those who are interested in applying. If founders really need marketing professionals who can also program computers, this needs to be explicitly stated in the job posting. This will save time that would otherwise be spent sifting through applicants to find someone with a surprise skills section on his or her resume.

4. Discuss Company Culture
Applicants generally want to know what the company they hope to work for is like day to day. One great way to show them is through a brief description of the culture. Startups have a reputation for interesting cultures, and anyone who’s looking to jettison an enterprise career for a small, fresh company will almost inevitably want to know how it’s different. This has the double benefit of attracting applicants who would fit in and cautioning those who aren’t a good match up front.

5. Give Contact Instructions
Even on job boards where the next step applicants need to take is stated clearly, it’s a good idea to outline how to apply and what’s expected in an application. Not everyone will include a cover letter if they aren’t told to do so, for example. Job postings for startups are unique, but it should be made clear that certain requirements apply across the board.


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One comment

  1. 1

    This is a great list of pointers for growing startups. All startups should keep these 5 tips in mind when writing their job postings.

    I’m the founder of Upstart Jobs, a jobs website for startups. The variation in quality of job postings that we see is astounding. Building the right team is so important in a startup that investing time in a quality job posting is well worth the effort.

    On Upstart Jobs, the number and quality of job applications for a particular job correlates very well with the quality of the job posting. Startups that invest some time and thought in preparing their job postings tend to do better for a number of reasons. Some of these reasons are very practical – for example, a well written and detailed job description is attractive from an SEO perspective. On a more human level, applicants tend to gravitate towards teams that are professional as well as fun. Teams that put some effort into their job postings give off a better vibe than those that do not.

    Startups have always pitched for money. Founders are very familiar with the preparation required to do that well. We recommend that startups view a job posting as pitching for talent. That usually helps to give appropriate weight to the job posting.

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