3 Questions You Must Ask Your Hiring Manager Before Writing the Job Posting

July 21, 2016

Great news: 87% of professionals are interested in working for a small to medium sized business. And, 42% of those people research job opportunities each month. Often for small businesses, the job post is candidates' first impression of your company. So, it needs to be good.

With a lot hinging on the job post, the challenge becomes making it stand out and attract the right talent. To do this, you need to work closely with your hiring manager to 1) define the position and 2) define the ideal candidate.

To help you kick off this process, we created the Job Postings Starter Kit, which includes 20 questions to ask your hiring manager (or yourself if you’re the business owner/part-time recruiter) before writing a job description. It also includes templates, checklists and more to make the jobs process faster and easier.

Out of the 20 questions you need to ask your hiring manager, here are three that are essential to writing the best job post possible:

Question 1: As a manager, what would your team say are your strengths and weaknesses?

Why ask this question? You want to learn about their managerial skills, so you can identify the right type of candidate who will complement this manager.

This question helps you identify two things: First, knowing their strengths helps you identify what they excel at and how this will benefit the candidate. For example, if the manager is strong at vision and strategy, you know that the candidate will have an inspiring leader with a clear direction of future and impact.

Second, knowing their weaknesses helps you identify candidates who have the skills to fill in the gap, or support the manager in turning these weaknesses into strengths. For example, if a manager says innovation is a weak area, consider looking for a more creative candidate.

How does this help with the job description? Use this information to clearly communicate to applicants who they will be working for and the skills they need to successfully work with this person. Using the examples above, consider a bullet point that reads, You’ll report to a visionary leader on strategic initiatives that impact the business” or one that reads, Use your creativity to push the envelope in web design and experience.”

Question 2: What do you consider excellent performance?

Why ask this question? This is different than the typical, “What are the expectations of the role?” question. Expectations of the role are about the responsibilities of the job. This question helps you understand how the hiring manager thinks about performance, and perceives excellence.

Does your manager see excellence as consistently exceeding expectations? Or does he/she consider excellence as more soft-skills, like collaboration and leadership. Excellence varies from person to person, so this question helps you get on the same page on what it means for this role and this hiring manager. 

How does this help with the job description? Having this information helps you effectively communicate expectations and what it takes to be a top-performer. It also helps you identify unique qualities and skills to include in the qualifications section. If you give candidates this information, they will know to opt in or opt out of applying, helping you get quality applicants.

Question 3: What personality types mesh well with the team?

Why ask this question? This question helps you identify the right character fit. Every company has a culture, but every team in the company has a specific dynamic, and a new p

ersonality can make or break a team. Think about the hiring manager’s answer, and what it means. Does the team need more or less introverts or extroverts? Is the team full of Type A personalities? Will an analytical individual bring more diverse thinking to the team?

How does this help with the job description? First, this information helps you clearly describe the team the new hire would be working with, and set expectations with the candidate early in the hiring process. Second, you can write the description to attract the personality types you need to hire.

Refrain from putting down, “we need introverts to balance our extrovert-heavy team.” Instead, massage the language to highlight the benefits of bringing diverse personalities to the team and workplace. For example, You’ll bring your thoughtful listening and decision-making skills to a team of outgoing, creative marketers. While the team sits in an open-office environment, there are plenty of quiet spaces to focus and reflect on strategic projects.”

For more ways to write better job posts and minimize those tedious tasks, download the Job Postings Starter Kit.

*Image by Andi Sidwell

To receive blog posts like this one straight in your inbox, subscribe to the blog newsletter.