Recruiting for Passion: Creative Job Descriptions

As a new manager recruiting for the first time you’ll find HR will usually provide you with a job description template. You’ll read it, laugh at how generic it is, and then try to do a bit of modification. That’s a futile effort. (Though depending on the organization you may have to leave pretty close to the strict confines of a template, in that case you’ll be working with a few custom bullet points you can work in.)

You’re actually looking for the most talented, passionate developers you can find given the opportunity, your location, and the relative pay rates provided. So how do you attract those people with a generic job posting? Instead you rewrite the position from scratch and ask for things like writing plugins to open source frameworks, giving presentations at conferences, or writing a technical blog. You want to attract developers who care about their craft and are going to bring up the overall level of your team.

So in short:

  • Keep it short a paragraph or two and bullet points. The meat of the content is in the bullet points.
  • Explain the challenges of your environment, if you’re a hardcore waterfall shop trying to shift to Agile be upfront.
  • Explain that mentoring is part of the job.
  • If you have the control you can even write the job description in a programming language.
  • Be very clear that bringing your passion to work is encouraged.
  • If you’ve won some of the wars with the furniture police, explain the nice hardware and multiple large monitors that are available, or even semi-private offices.
  • If other members of the team have some public blogs, or open source projects point to those as well to give them a feel for the team.
  • If you’re not in Silicon Valley or New York, sell the upside of your region (probably cheaper living).
  • If HR will let you point to some of the targeted job posting sites like 37 Signals or Stack Overflow.