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Drafting a job listing is much more than copy-and-pasting a job description, hitting “Submit”, and hoping for the best. The best technical job listings go through multiple revisions, are looked over by numerous people in the organization, and are crafted with intention. An easy way to make sure this intention is conveyed properly in your job listings is to follow a competency model, as mentioned in Joe Ungemah’s book Misplaced Talent. He states that two job competencies should always be addressed in a job listing – behavioral competencies and technically-based competencies.

Behavioral Job Competencies

Behavioral competencies include the patterns of behavior that the candidate should bring to the job to properly perform their tasks. These “life skills” or “soft skills”, as they are sometimes referred to as, include aptitudes like analytical ability, problem-solving, leadership, and more. Experts suggest that each open role should be created with six to eight of these in mind, and we suggest that they be specific and actionable. For example, everyone should ideally be a “team player”, so suggest something a bit more detailed instead.

Technically-based Job Competencies

Technically-based competences are the knowledge, skills and experiences that enable successful job performance. These competencies take into account the candidate’s education, certifications, on-the-job training, etc. Examples of these competencies might be that the candidate is experienced using certain technologies or tools or has worked in a certain industry at their last job. We recommend not being too picky or specific with these competencies since a good developer can likely pick up any language to get the job done.  

Using Competencies When Writing Tech Job Listings

Job listings shouldn’t read like a laundry list of requirements – or in this case, a laundry list of competencies. Instead, you’ll want to construct your posting by focusing on the behavioral competencies and the technical competencies together. If you need to be skilled in X language, what skills and behaviors must you exhibit?

For example, let’s say you’re writing a tech job listing for a Front End Developer. The technically-based competencies you’d want to include could include “experience using Javascript, HTML, and CSS.” The behavioral competencies for this role could include things like “collaborating effectively with UX and Design teams” or “meticulous with details”. You can see how the two competencies work together -- to be efficient using Javascript, HTML, and CSS, it’s important that you’re meticulous to details. 

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