Deconstructing Your Job Postings for Accurate Interviews

JD Conway, BambooHR

It’s a well-documented fact that interviews are the least accurate method for evaluating a candidate. Our own head of recruiting JD Conway is going to explore the subject in great detail in an upcoming webinar on how to overcome human bias for more accurate interviewing. I caught up with JD in advance of this webinar and got a brief preview on an important part of the recruiting process: deconstructing your job postings to be sure that you’re asking the right questions.


Let’s get inside your best candidates’ heads for a minute. What will they do when they read your job posting? They’re going to break it down and parse every word, from action verbs like manage and coordinate to the list of specialized skills needed. Then they’re going to ask themselves two questions: “Can I do this?” and “Do I want to do this?” Your best candidates are going to answer both of these questions with an emphatic yes. And the more accurately you market the position, the more likely that your candidate will continue to answer yes and stick with the position for the long term.

Once again, though, you have a limited window to communicate the truth of the job position. While your hiring managers might think you need someone who is exactly like the person you’re trying to replace, your candidates aren’t going to spend their time reading through 15 minutes worth of job duties, not when they’re trying to apply from their phone. And if they’re like more than a quarter of the people who apply at BambooHR, they’re going to apply from their phone.

So before you draft your ad, break the job down. Start with outlining the five essential functions the successful candidate will perform. Fun psychology fact: the human brain can only hold between five and nine pieces of information in short-term memory: It’s why we remember phone numbers as three groups of numbers instead of ten individual numbers. Keeping this in mind can help your candidates get the full scope of the job while reducing the need to reread.

Next, break down how the successful candidate will spend their day. List the time spent on main daily duties and occasional peripheral tasks. This will help you emphasize the right points in your job postings. For example, If your writers spend 75% of their time writing emails and only 5% doing an occasional video script, then listing both as main points might give the ability to write scripts more importance than it actually has.

Finally, examine how you measure success for this position. Is it based on quantity or quality? Is the team competitive or collaborative? Are goals measured in revenue, leads, user ratings, or some other metric? With this question, the only perfect answer is the honest one: it takes all types of personalities and preferences to create a successful organization. Understanding how you measure success is the first step to helping your candidates honestly evaluate whether they can succeed and whether they want to.

Now that you’ve broken this down, there’s one final consideration: how much training your new hire will need. It’s at this point that you can fine-tune your job postings based on your training capabilities.


For more on this subject, register for JD’s webinar: Accurate Interviewing: Using Structure to Remove Bias.  We hope you’ll join us on June 22!