3 Mistakes You’re Making on Your Hiring Page

Are you responsible for hiring at a tech company or startup? This post is for you.

If you’re truly committed to recruiting from the widest and most talented candidate pool possible, you can’t afford to alienate anyone.

I spent the better part of March and April last year looking for a new job. The last time I had to look for a job, it was the middle of a recession (2009) and I’d just moved back from a gig oversees. While dumb luck landed me the best job I’ve had so far (responded to a prolific Twitter user), I really couldn’t afford to be picky back then.

In 2015, the job market couldn’t be more different. The Bay Area job scene is booming and I was confident I could afford to be choosy yet still find a job quickly.

But in my two-month long job search, I viewed dozens of hiring pages and job reqs, and was surprised to find that many actually turned — me — off.

I started to notice a few patterns, that might seem innocuous and insignificant to many prospective job candidates, yet weren’t for me.

I wondered, did these companies just not know that they were hampering their own recruitment efforts? In some instances, I wondered if it was intentional.

Here are those patterns and why I think they’re harmful to your recruitment efforts:

1. One of your perks is a “kegerator.”

I like a cold beer as much as anyone, but no wonder the stereotype of the bro-grammer.

It’s just one of those things that doesn’t really do anything for a company on a hiring page. Unless you’re specifically hiring for a narrow profile of a candidate. Or you’re trying to turn off those who don’t fit that profile.

There’s only one way for me to read this: We’re all twenty-something males. And, we like it that way.

Plus, it’s really not that great of perk.

2. Your job req includes “[Insert degree here] from a top tier school a plus.”

It’s amazing to me that a degree from a top tier school can still be important in the Bay Area job market, where CEOs wear hoodies, self-taught engineers earn six figures, and top VCs encourage young entrepreneurs to drop out of college.

There are so many awful things about it: It’s elitist. It’s narrow-minded. It implies you want company to like this Business Insider list of most eligible singles in San Francisco. Ugh.

It’s off-putting to the large majority of great candidates who didn’t attend a top tier school. And, I imagine that a good number of candidates who did attend a top tier school might like to work alongside people who aren’t just — like — them.

3. Your leadership page has only white male headshots.

There’s been a lot of talk of companies like Salesforce and Google championing diversity in the workplace efforts, unfortunately this isn’t broadly reflected on leadership teams yet.

I’d think any company with a sincere effort to attract a diverse candidate pool would think twice about posting a leadership page with a bunch of white male headshots. At best, it doesn’t win points with diverse candidates; at worst, it alienates candidates. I know, because this is how I felt.

You probably don’t have direct control over who’s on your leadership team, or even what goes up on the leadership team page. But you can convey efforts to being inclusive, and hopefully, mean it.

I don’t expect every company to run out and create a workplace diversity program like Google’s, although that’s great. Simple efforts to tell your diversity story are sufficient.

Since joining Marketo, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the level of our workplace diversity. Yet it’s not something the company touts anywhere on our website. We can do a much better job to make ourselves attractive to diverse candidates.

How about, oh I don’t know, be totally open-minded about who the best candidate for your company could be? You just might be surprised.

What it boils down to is being totally inclusive, and making a point to convey that. You can’t afford otherwise in our current job market.

The most interesting example of this that I saw is a job posting at Everlane, an online fashion retailer based in San Francisco, titled: Name Your Job.

Here’s what the job description says:

“Interested in joining Everlane, but don’t see the right job posting? We want you to speak up! Tell us your story, write your job description, and let us know how you would spend your first 90 days…”

Maybe it’s a little cheeky, even gimmicky, but I think it gets at the right approach to recruiting.

That is, when recruiting — and for that matter, hiring — cast a wide net versus a narrow one. Build a team of people who complement each other, not of people who are just like each other.

So, why not give your hiring page and your job reqs a quick glance-over? Better yet, ask a wide and diverse network of people to share their feedback too. You’ll probably learn something interesting about how your company comes off to prospective job candidates. It might not be all good.

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