How to Write a Job Posting That Works

By JohnPaul Bennett

How can I make my job post more attractive and relevant to developers?

I get asked this question often, so here’s a short guide on how to make your job posting relevant to developers. Spoiler alert: there’s not one secret way.

Don’t play the guessing game with developers.

Sure, Guess Who? was a great game growing up, but developers don’t want to be taken for a ride and guess what your job is about.

Do unto developers as you would have developers do to you

Just as you look for more than technical skills in a developer, developers look for more than just the job description and requirements.

Full-time job postings are pretty straightforward. Be clear with the job description and requirements for the position. Adding a paragraph about your company culture or what your team members are into can help give your job post personality. Include any perks or benefits that come along with the job. Also, if there’s an option to work remotely include it in the title: Senior Node.js Engineer (Remote).

Freelance job postings aren’t quite as straightforward as full-time posts. For starters, keep the job title relevant, but short. Titles with 30-65 characters are long enough to be informative but short enough to quickly read.

Be Clear

To get a quality product, have a clear vision of what you’re trying to build. This will allow you to easily communicate your vision to a developer. The more information you provide about the freelance gig, the greater your chances are in narrowing down your search. A freelance developers time is valuable so think of the process as dating, get it all out in the open so no one is wasting the other’s time. This lets them make up their mind about your company and you about their skills.

I’m always surprised when a job post looks like this: “Need a developer, help me build a new application to be the next Facebook, will provide a lot of equity. Send me your resume.” That ladies and gents is an awful post. You want to avoid developers skipping over your job because it’s crappy. If you’re struggling with a title or description, talk with a developer on your team or just email us!

Here are two examples of clear, informative posts:

“Write a self-contained “shell” WxPython project that runs a sample Python app that renders a simple dialog and can be packaged into a small app for Mac and Windows. The main purpose is to make the packaged app small (3-5MB compressed) by doing a custom build of WxPython. This shell project will be the basis of a desktop app. You'll need to be good in C++ and Python. Let’s see how small you can get the app! Someone good should be able to get this done in a few days. There’s follow-on work if you get it done quickly and do a good job.”
“I am looking for a iOS front-end engineer. I have a semi-completed application and most of the views are constructed and accessible, but the majority of our back-end API has not been integrated with those views. Please have experience with Objective-C and fully implemented iOS applications”

These examples provide project details, what’s required from a developer, and how long it should take.

The more a developer can see what is required, the quicker they’ll be able to determine if they have the knowledge or experience about how to do the things you require. And you don’t have to give away your 'secret sauce,' but you should include enough that you can find somebody with the specific skills you need.

Set a Time Frame

Setting a time frame is critical to finding the right freelancer for your project. A proper time frame can make or break a project.

Be Patient

Once your job post is up, you'll begin to receive offers from interested freelancers.

You’ll start noticing a lot of different styles and skill sets. This can be a bit overwhelming, especially if it’s your first time posting a freelance job.

When you start receiving applications, stay calm and be patient. I understand finding someone quickly is important but you may end up missing out on a better developer if you choose the first person who comes along. Engage with everybody who looks like they might be a good candidate. This will allow you to see the differences in communication and chemistry.

Also, once you find the right person for your project be sure to take down your job posting so you stop receiving offers.

Did this article help? Is there something I'm missing out? Leave a comment below or connect with me on Twitter!

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Posted by JohnPaul Bennett

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