top of page

5 Things That Send Prospective Employees Running

People Want to Work; Your Job Post Just Sucks

"Great Resignation" or not, organizations are telling us there are no workers while workers are telling us there are no good jobs. So if you’re trying to hire up and you’re having a hard time, it’s possible that people want to work but they just don’t want to work for you. Read on for 5 major mistakes employers make in their job posts or skip to the bottom for free/low-cost hiring resources!

1. No Salary Listed / Terrible Salary

We’ve said it before, we’ll say it forever: you have to post a salary with your job openings. Not doing so is inequitable, a waste of time (yours and the candidates’) and frankly, a poor move if you want people to share and respond to your job post. When determining salary, do your homework and make sure you’re offering a reasonable wage for your geographic location, the responsibilities of the role, and the context of other salaries in the organization. And don’t forget benefits - health, dental, retirement, professional development, vacation, remote options - they matter now more than ever.

2. The Role Responsibilities Suck

People are attracted to roles that help them along their career path and have clear expectations (bonus points if it feels like they’re doing something that makes a difference!) When creating a role at your organization, ask yourself whether you have ever met anyone who is qualified for or would be interested in the role as you’ve described it. If the answer is no (or if the person you can think of is in a higher-paying job somewhere), then you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. Offer a clear, compelling job description and remember that no one is excellent at everything. What’s critical to nail in this role and what can be addressed through professional development or just by getting some experience on the job?

3. Unrealistic Qualifications

Do you actually need someone with a degree or will experience suffice? Do you really need someone with 5-7 years of experience, and if so, are you offering them a role and a salary that someone at that point in their career would seek out? And this one should really go without saying, but if you call a role an entry-level position and then list experience requirements, well - you do the math. Another common mistake: you've squashed what should be several roles into one. It's one thing to ask an employee to wear a few hats; it's another to ask them to juggle multiple roles with highly varied skill sets.

4. Lack of (or Suspect) Information

The job-seeking process is trying; don’t make it even harder by making prospects hunt for the information they need. Include some background about your organization, why you’re hiring right now, and what kind of person you’re looking for. Share information about the workplace or the organization’s focus and what makes it compelling. Why should people want to work for you? Beware that certain phrases may turn candidates off. A fast-paced environment with other duties as assigned? No thanks. Looking for a go-getter who can deliver under pressure and think on their feet? Not unless you’ve got that go-getter, high-pressure money.

5. Your Reputation Precedes You

This is a big one. If you have an employee turnover problem, you probably have a reputation problem to match. There is rarely a stronger marketing force than word-of-mouth, and if your management or work culture leave a lot to be desired, it’s not a secret. Plus, job seekers check job boards on the regular, so if you have the same jobs open in perpetuity, they notice. Excellent applicants do reference checks on organizations, much like organizations do on applicants. What would your prior employee references say about you? Consider it the footnote on every job description you write. Either address it head-on in your hiring strategy or work to correct it. Ideally, do both.


Salve for the Burns

Hey, we know it’s hard out there, and this list was a bit of tough love. Allow us to offer some salve, particularly for our nonprofit managers who are almost always doing way too much with way too little.

Hiring - The Management Center

We almost didn’t want to give this one up, it’s such a treasure trove. The Management Center has everything you need for the hiring process, whether you’ve yourself running an ad hoc HR function in your scrappy nonprofit or you’re a seasoned pro who wants to save time. From job description samples to interview emails, hiring rubrics, and performance reviews, if you’re missing something in your hiring toolkit, you can get it at The Management Center for free.

Wage and Benefit Research

Unfortunately, there’s no one-stop-shop to consult when you need to find equitable pay ranges for roles, but if you work in Allegheny County, RMU’s Wage and Benefit Survey is one of the closest you’ll get. At a cost of just $100 or $150 depending on your budget size, the survey will tell you what others in similar positions as compared to organizational budget, number of years in the role, level of education, and more. Remember: this is a survey of what folks are already being paid, which may not be equitable. We suggest pairing your research with other tools, like the EPI’s Family Budget Calculator, MIT’s Living Wage Calculator, and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ data sets.



a blog to help you work harder smarter

bottom of page