One of my friends is trans. He transitioned over a year ago. He’s the top salesperson in his entire recruiting agency; yet he gets dead-named every single week during team reporting. (Deadnaming is when one refers to a transgender or non-binary individual by a name they used prior to transitioning, like their birth name.) Why? Because he hasn’t legally changed his name.
The reason? Because his name has not been changed legally, they won’t change his name in their system at work.
I help companies write better job posts for a living. Here's how your business can improve its listings and attract a wider pool of talented candidates.
This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Katrina Kibben, founder and CEO of Three Ears Media, a copywriting firm that teaches recruiters how to write better job posts. It has been edited for length and clarity.
My company does copywriting for recruiting. We teach recruiters to write, specifically job posts. I am getting more calls than ever from employers realizing how fundamental a job post is and that they need to know how to write one.
Job postings can reveal signs of trouble ahead with a potential employer or role. Experts break down the red flags that candidates should look for in job ads.
"When people ask me if they should include salary in a job post, I ask them, "Have you ever taken a job without knowing how much money you would make first?'" said Katrina Kibben, a job post consultant and founder of Three Ears Media. "It's just basic human choice. We would never accept a job without knowing how much money we'd get in it. We cannot make a decision without that core information."
So when a company dances around the subject or makes no mention of it at all, it's worth noting.
If you’re struggling to get qualified applicants to apply to open roles, your job postings are probably to blame.
“Job seekers deserve someone to sit down and write 250 words that tell you exactly what they’re looking for,” said Katrina Kibben, founder and CEO of recruiting and bias training platform Three Ears Media, at the annual HR Transform conference on Monday in Las Vegas. “Every time we put an ask out there, there’s someone with a dream on the other side and they deserve to be seen.”
Employees want to be able to visualize the job they’re being asked to do and clearly understand the expectations of the role if they plan to put in the work to make a career leap, Kibben says. However, job postings are typically too long, convoluted and filled with “lies and cliches,” they say.
"Job seeking tests our endurance; it tests our hope," Katrina Kibben, CEO of Three Ears Media and a recognized expert in writing effective job posts, told attendees Aug. 23 at the SHRM Talent Conference & Expo 2021 in Las Vegas.
"The job posting is the first instance in the job search that you as a recruiter can offer opportunity to someone else," they said. "You can be the person who prevents bias from creeping into a moment when a person is at their most vulnerable—because the job search is inherently vulnerable, and everyone will experience bias at some point looking for a job."
Katrina Kibben, CEO of Three Ears Media, is a recognized expert in writing effective job posts, and their session at the SHRM Talent Conference & Expo 2021 in Las Vegas will help attendees engage a more diverse candidate pool. They will be presenting in person on Aug. 23 at 10:15 a.m. Their session will also be available virtually.
Kibben's presentation will cover why many job postings fall flat and what employers can do to give them a refresh, including how to tweak job posts to attract a qualified, diverse selection of candidates through simple word changes, better bullet points and other alterations.
Be cautious of postings that oversell and under-explain the position, warned Katrina Kibben, who teaches recruiters how to write better job postings as CEO of Three Ears Media. Especially when they use ambiguous terms like collaborative to describe desirable traits (which means different things in different organizations) or buzzword salad that doesn’t mean anything, that’s a big red flag.
“What are they hiding?” Kibben wondered. Job postings should detail the position’s requirements and what success looks like.
Katrina Kibben, a Colorado recruiting and HR expert who identifies as trans and nonbinary, said real inclusiveness — not just lip service — may be more important than ever. “People are leaving jobs for new reasons — like values.”
Kibben pointed out that while trans workers are just 1% of the workforce, how companies address their needs is a meaningful measurement of an organization’s ability to evolve and help all employees.
While the AI tools show promise, some in the recruiting world urge caution. Katrina Kibben, CEO of Three Ears Media, a firm that advises companies on recruiting strategies, advises companies to look carefully at their own recruiting process before looking at AI as a blanket solution. For example, one of Kibben’s clients wanted to use an AI-enabled resume screener to improve retention of recruits for warehouse jobs, but realized after careful review of their existing process that a glitch with background checks was causing candidates to drop out late in the process. Implementing several email reminders solved the issue—no AI required.
“If we had not gone through the process,” Kibben says, “many companies would have kept throwing money on top. Strictly outline your hiring process before you have a conversation with a vendor.”
The end of the resume? Hiring is in the midst of a technological revolution with algorithms, chatbots
Despite the optimism, high-tech hiring remains in the early stages. Most human resources departments are wary of automation, and few are using it in a way that saves time because humans are heavily involved in managing it, said Katrina Kibben, CEO of Three Ears Media, a recruitment consulting firm.
Adoption will accelerate as “people who grew up with iPhones in their hands” take over and technology advances, she said. For now, though, employers risk alienating applicants with chatbots that spit out canned responses, or wasting time with resume filters that can’t distinguish between apple the fruit and Apple the company, Kibben said.
Three Ears Media