In Fall 2021, the National Council of Nonprofits conducted an online survey with the goal of understanding the workforce shortage currently impacting nonprofit organizations. The survey had over 1,000 respondents from all 50 states and found that: over 26% of the respondents reported that 20-29% of their total positions were currently vacant and over 16% of respondents reported that over 30% of their total positions were currently vacant.
There are a multitude of nonprofit trends that could be responsible for the high vacancy rates, but regardless of the reasons, the fact is that many nonprofits are currently looking to hire new employees and competing for talent
During a major hiring push, it is important to have clear, effective job postings that stand out from the crowd. In this guide, we will discuss the importance of effective job postings and cover tips for how to write them for your organization.
Understanding the Importance of Job Postings
Before we discuss the importance of effective job postings, it is important to differentiate postings from job descriptions:
- Job postings are an external tool used for recruiting and hiring purposes.
- Job descriptions are an internal tool used for defining and clarifying a job.
A job posting is used to communicate information about job responsibilities and requirements of the position, specifically speaking to candidates. A job description is used as a formal statement of duties, responsibilities and qualifications associated with a job. They ensure that managers and employees are aligned on the expectations of the role and are used as a basis for evaluating employee performance.
There is overlap between the information included in and the importance of these two tools. But, for the purposes of this piece and to help your organization effectively market and stand out from a hiring perspective, we will focus on job postings.
Writing effective job postings is critical for several reasons:
- Cultural Fit: Well-crafted job postings help to attract the right talent! They help applicants determine whether they align well with your nonprofit’s goals, values, and culture and if the organization appears to be a good fit for them. These factors can have a significant impact on employee retention.
- Clarity of Role: The process of writing a job posting helps your organization clarify the role and effectively communicate to the applicant the key aspects of the position, the functional expertise and competencies needed, and the education and licenses required. The posting functions as a communication tool that sets expectations for both the applicant and your organization.
- Legal Compliance and Best Practices: Job postings help you maintain legal compliance. This includes abiding by the wage transparency laws that have been enacted in 14 states thus far, reflecting a significant trend toward transparency and an effort to promote wage equity. In addition, EEO Statements are required for government contractor positions. Beyond compliance, job postings are an opportunity to follow best practices including using non-discriminatory and inclusive language.
How to Write an Effective Job Posting
1.) Assign ownership of the process.
The hiring manager, someone responsible for human resources, and someone from marketing to help write, is generally a good team to provide input into your job posting. One person in your organization should be assigned the ongoing responsibility in order to maintain consistency.
If your organization does not have internal HR resources, you may want to consult with external HR professionals or recruiters to help you craft a compelling and clear job posting and ensure you are putting your best foot forward. In addition to helping with the job posting and job placement, HR consultants can help vet resumes, interview employees, and support the internal hiring process.
2.) Gather information and compile job requirements.
Next, you will determine the requirements for the position for which you are hiring.
If you already have an internal job description written for the role, use that as a resource and starting point for writing your job posting. Consider also engaging current employees in the process, such as by:
- Observing and interviewing employees about their experiences in the role.
- Creating a questionnaire for staff members to complete that allows you to learn more about their day-to-day experiences in the role.
3.) Draft your job posting.
Once you have gathered information, it is time to write the job posting.
Begin with a strong overview of the organization including its mission, vision and values. This is your opportunity to differentiate yourself. Then present an overview and objective of the job in a clear and concise way. This overview will allow applicants to consider if they are aligned with the organization and the basic needs of the job. At this point, you will want to get into detail about the responsibilities of the job and the requirements.
Base this description, and all other information you include in the job posting, on what you currently need and require for the role rather than what someone in this role did before.
4.) Follow a consistent format.
As a guideline, include the following elements in your job posting:
- Job title
- Overview of the organization and its mission, vision and values
- Statement of purpose or the objective of the position
- Reporting structure to include positions this job will supervise
- Responsibilities of the position
- Desired education, including degrees, professional certifications, and licenses required to perform the job
- Any desired qualifications or specific skills, including years and type of experience and skills such as management, decision-making, problem-solving, and familiarity with emerging technologies
- Work environment, including whether the position is on-site, hybrid or remote
- Location, including whether the applicant must be local or if can they reside elsewhere
- Travel expectations
- Salary range and employee benefits
- How to apply
- EEO statement
Your current internal job description may be a good source of information for creating your job posting, but only if it is up to date. (If it is not, it may be a good time to update it.)
Consider identifying and drawing inspiration from sample job postings you find on the internet that speak to you and are called out by experts as examples of best practices. Also, create a template for your organization’s job postings so you have the foundation to easily create a strong posting going forward.
5.) Develop a process to keep job postings current.
If your organization is frequently hiring for a specific role, ensure that the job posting is updated to reflect current needs and aligns with the most recent internal job description. This ensures that the posting attracts the best talent for your organization’s immediate needs.
If you are like many nonprofits, you may be recruiting for roles across your organization. An effective job posting is your best tool to help promote your organization and stand out from the crowded landscape of nonprofit hiring.
A well-written job posting allows you to define culture, provide clarity about the role and requirements, show transparency with salaries, and meet regulatory requirements. Remember that if you have created a template that can be used as the basis for your job postings, you will have a strong foundation to build from for future hiring needs.
Use these tips and consider using the below template to get started: