The top priority when hiring an independent contractor is finding the most skilled and talented candidates available. Many workers are leaving the arena of traditional employment to work as contractors, and there are many highly trained and effective people available across multiple occupations.
Since the best contractors can afford to be selective, it is worth the effort to make your job posting stand out. In essence, you are competing with other companies to hire the highest quality contractors, the same way you might entice or engage a new customer or client for your business.
No matter which online platform you are using to post the job, you will want to understand that there are a few key elements involved:
- The contractor has to find you (among hundreds of similar postings)
- They should be easily attracted to the job (clear heading, description)
- They need to read the job posting (concise)
- They need to respond
Here a few tips on writing the job posting to make sure all of this happens:
1. Be Concise
Both the heading and the text of the job posting should be clear and concise. A contractor scrolling through multiple job headings will be more likely to read those that are specific and to the point. It takes time to read multiple paragraphs about your company, vision, market, etc. and they may decide to move on to the next posting.
Also, make sure to proof the job posting to avoid any typos or mistakes that might turn off a candidate. If it looks like you posted the job in a hurry or did not take the time to avoid mistakes, that might reflect on how you will approach the project relationship.
2. Optimize Your Posting for SEO
This is not as complicated as it sounds, and optimizing for searches is a matter of using the same words that the contractor will input. This is especially important in the heading, so if you need a software engineer, then use those exact words, and repeat them in the text as well.
You can check to see if your posting is well-optimized by running a trial search with the keywords to confirm that your job pops up and is noticeable. Some job postings will use ‘hip’ terminology or slang to appeal to younger contractors, but those words are unlikely to be part of their search, so keep the heading straightforward.
3. Acknowledge Everyone Who Applies
It is a good practice to reply to every applicant, although this is an easy step to overlook. If you post regular jobs on one platform, contractors will remember if you took the time to thank them for their application. As a recruiter it makes you look both professional and considerate, an important combination when communicating through virtual mediums.
This holds true even if you select another contractor for the job, and you can tell them that you will keep them in mind for future projects. Remember, there may be more than one qualified contractor, and the candidate that you select this time might not be available in the future.
4. Include Specific Instructions in the Job Posting
Too many job postings are vague with no real call to action, or instructions on applying. The best posts will either ask a question (background, experience, interest in the job) or request work samples. Any application that fails to follow the request can be weeded out easily. The contractor either didn’t read your posting fully, or simply decided to ignore the request.
One caveat with this is don’t ask too many questions, like a one-sided interview. Quality contractors may not want to take the time, or may see it as an unpaid exercise to share information.
The call to action in a job posting is basically how and when to apply. If there is a tight deadline state it clearly, along with pay ranges and expectations. Contractors are drawn to clients with specific, real time project goals, rather than open ended postings that seem to be testing the waters for applicants.
5. Stand Out by Looking at Other Job Postings
It is worthwhile to look at job postings by other recruiters or companies in the same field. If you want to hire millennials (ages 18-35) then use the job posting to make it attractive to their interests. Younger contractors may be just beginning their career and looking for companies that are innovative or open to offering growth opportunities.
One thing to keep in mind while crafting the job posting is that it is not really about you or your company. The job posting should be about them, and how the project is an opportunity for applicants that are talented and ready for a challenge. If the job posting is too self-involved, the contractor may just look elsewhere even if it is a fit for their skills.