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Post by Rich Moy on Aug 24, 2016 12:00:00 PM

This post was updated in November 2017 with new information.

How many times has a hiring manager come to you with a job that was so urgent, you could only cobble together a job listing that you hoped would grab the attention of developers? Whenever you're given a tight deadline, it's only natural to launch job listings that you're not thrilled about, just for the sake of starting the search quickly. While there's nothing wrong with pursuing aggressive hiring goals, there are plenty of opportunities for a poorly-written tech job listing to impact your entire search. Here are a few ways lackluster tech job listings might lead to a costly bad hire.

They Set the Wrong Expectations for Developers

Your engineering team has a tech stack that it uses to build incredibly products, but that shouldn't serve as the only list of keywords you use when you create your job listings. Sure, you might receive a lot of applications from programmers who have experience using those technologies, but that’s not necessarily a good thing if your job listings don’t get into the meat of the job or your unique company culture. In fact, this leaves you vulnerable to meeting developers who merely cram a long list of tech languages onto their resumes just to get an interview.

Not convinced this is common? Our CEO Joel Spolsky once wrote, “Every working programmer knows about these computer programs that filter resumes based on keywords, so they usually have a section of their resume containing every technology they have ever touched, solely to get through the filters.”

They Leave Too Much Room for Interpretation

Recruiters who write tech job listings from scratch are forced to ask themselves how well they truly understand the roles, which gives them an edge from the competition. When your job listings don't tell developers a compelling story about what it would be like to join your team, candidates are forced to draw their own conclusions based on the little information they have. Repurposing old tech job listings might save you time, but it won't generate the type of excitement you need to recruit and attract developers. If you’re not sitting yourself down to write tech job listings that developers actually want to read, the odds are that you don’t have a good enough idea of what your roles require—which ultimately could lead to a bad hire.

They Make the Best Candidates Look Elsewhere

Considering that 87% of developers told us that they're employed at least part-time, it’s safe to say that most programmers have ignored their fair share of job listings. Although developers have made no secret of what they’d like to see more often in tech job listings, many employers still have been slow to take the hint. The amount of time you dedicate to writing job listings is entirely up to you. However, if you can think of two or three things you wish you had included after you post your positions online, the odds are that some of the most talented developers will glance at them quickly before moving on to something more interesting. Considering that TheLadders found that the average job seeker spends around 49 seconds reviewing a job listing, the time you save by skipping important details will eventually cost you quality developer applicants over the long haul.

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