Outsourcing 101 Course Podcast

Writing the job ad

Episode 11 of The Outsourcing 101 Course Podcast


In this episode James Mackay shares how to write a job ad: what attracts the right candidates and what information needs to go into the initial advertisement. Check out http://outsourcing101course.com to sign up for The Free Outsourcing 101 Course that includes 15 video tutorials and much more!

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Hello, hello, hello and welcome back to the Outsourcing 101 Course Podcast. Thanks for joining me yet again. I appreciate that you have a choice of podcasts and I am glad you’re back here.

Today’s topic is pretty important. It’s less subjective and more OBjective.

Just like with anything else, setting down your expectations are critical when you are trying to get someone to do something.

Generally speaking you would see a corporate or even a well-organised small business put together both job ads and position descriptions? Why? Because it allows everyone to understand exactly what’s expected of them. There’s no confusion and disappointment.

Most importantly, in the long run it saves the most important asset that you can never get back: time.

Time and time again I see people post stupid job ads that end up in the whole process being a debacle. Simply posting a job ad that says “Wordpress developer required to build website” is simply wasting everyone’s time.

Now that outsourcer is going to get flooded with unsuitable applications from totally unsuitable candidates. And the well-qualified people won’t apply because they have better things to do than waste their time with incomplete job ads.

The outsourcer will get the 50 applications, and start wading through them. They’ll probably be stoked that people from all over the world are applying, from as little as $1 an hour! Bargain, right? Well, my experience shows that if you hire one of those freelancers you are opening yourself up to a world of pain. Here’s a few reasons why:

  1. They have no idea what the job is (because your job ad was so vague)
  2. The probably won’t understand your instructions right up front
  3. The number of emails back and forth will bury the outsourcer
  4. The quality of the work will be very poor. I mean, come on – what kind of website are you going to get for $1 an hour?

So what’s the solution? I’m going to give you a much better chance at hiring an appropriate freelancer by helping set the basics up front.

Step 1: Open up a word doc

Step 2: Write three headings a few lines apart. Here are the headings; a) What I need done b) The successful candidate should be able to and finally, c) It is essential you can:

The next bit should only take about 4 or 5 minutes. Go ahead and write a few things under each heading. The first one should be sentences describing your project. You don’t have to give away vital secrets but you do need to explain what you’re looking for. Are you trying to get a basic online store made? Say that and explain a little about why and how it could be achieved.

If you’re not an expert in the field you are hiring for, say that. Be upfront about your lack of technical expertise and explain that you’re looking for some guidance, if that’s the case.

Move on to the second point. This can be bullet points so go ahead and write as many things you can think of that will be relevant. Same example… The successful candidate should be able to:

  • Work independently and not have to ask questions every day
  • Make decisions about which development platform to use and which online store method we should adopt
  • Be proficient with PHP

You get the idea. Set the parameters and let them know what you expect.

The final section is the same sort of thing but essential jobs, such as:

It is essential you can:

  • Have access to and a knowledge of WordPress
  • Write me 100 words every day to explain the progress and the status of the project
  • Have reliable internet and electricity supply

Go ahead and include whatever you need to.

Within 5 minutes you should have put together a pretty nice little job ad.

There are sample job ads up on Outsourcing All Stars so you don’t have to write them from scratch.

Now here are two things that I do to maximize applications from not just qualified, but switched on candidates:

Number one: I make the last line of my job ads read as this: “On your application put the word “donkey” in the first sentence. Applications without the codeword will be deleted without being read.”

Why do I do this? We’ll call it my own little spam filter. It saves you having to trawl through job applications from people who didn’t even take the time to read through the ad. I mean, what’s the point of having a candidate – even if they are qualified – if they can’t follow simple instructions?

I know – it’s strange but hey – it works.

The final step is to create a good headline. In about 8 words you can separate the cream from the rest. Don’t mention what you project is all about but rather, identify what you are looking for. Here’s an example:

“Experienced word press developer required to set up online store in woo commerce”

The go ahead and post it. If you get the option to, make the post appear public so you can get as many people as possible read it. They won’t all apply but even if underqualified applicants do have a go, you’ll be able to weed them out using the anti-spam technique.

Some platforms, such as Fiverr, require you to choose the applicant and then provide the job specs. I don’t love this style but I guess it’s ok for tiny jobs because hey, you’re not losing much at the end of the day.

And that’s about it. That’s the best way to get the right applicants based on a job ad.

Next time I’ll share how I go about presenting the job ad properly on Upwork and then how to go through the interview process to make sure you hire the right freelancer.