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Are Employers Required to Post Open Positions for All Employees to See and Apply?

August 29, 2022

Courtesy of Ahola Corporation

Generally, and as long as you’re not a federal contractor, you don’t need to post an open position for all employees to see. That said, if your company has an established policy or practice of posting internally, you should be consistent.

Of course, what you can do as an employer and what you should do are often not the same. Posting new positions internally is generally a good idea, even if it creates some extra work. Opening the position to all internal applicants demonstrates transparency and increases the likelihood of finding the best candidate.

The employee you had in mind might not actually be the best person for the job, they may not be interested in the position, or other circumstances might change such that having a wider applicant pool would be an advantage. Posting jobs internally also helps you keep a pulse on your internal talent pool and see who is interested in either cross-training or promotional opportunities.

The article does not constitute legal advice and does not address state or local law. For example, Colorado does have posting requirements.

Job Posting Best Practices

A job posting is often the first impression a prospective job applicant has with your organization. It’s important for that impression to be an informative one. Your job postings should convey why someone would want to work for your company, what distinguishes your workplace from others, what’s exciting about your mission and vision, what you have to offer, and what the job is and requires. Here are a few ways to get better results from your job postings:

Highlight the company’s strengths

Part of the purpose of a job posting is to sell your organization to prospective employees. It’s a sales pitch that conveys your culture and brand. Be sure to include both traditional benefits (e.g., insurance offerings, retirement plan) as well as less common, more exciting perks (e.g., unlimited PTO, remote work options, product discounts). You should also mention company awards, notable achievements, and career development opportunities.

List the minimum requirements and essential functions of the job

You can also include the full job description if you have the room for it. The requirements and functions you mention should be accurate and clear. You don’t want to scare away great prospects with unnecessary requirements, but you also don’t want a lot of unqualified people applying for the job.

Include the pay range

Posting the pay range of the job will get you 30% more applicants. It will also save you and potential applicants a significant amount of time by allowing them to self-select out of the running if the range is too low for their needs or if it clearly indicates that you are looking for a more experienced employee. It will also promote transparency and help create a more equitable workplace, but it’s not a requirement.

Analyze the results of previous job posting locations, especially if you paid for them

Consider not only the upfront fee but also whether you received a good number of applications specifically from that source. Were the candidates qualified? Have you ever hired candidates from this source? There’s no sense paying to post job ads that aren’t bringing in good candidates.

Consider alternatives to where you’ve posted in the past. Here are a few options:

  • Overlooked talent pools (e.g., websites geared toward certain populations or groups) can be especially helpful for increasing diversity in your workplace.
  • Community events and job fairs in your area—being able to answer questions about your company and your open positions can help weed out those who may not be a good fit or might not be happy in the role.
  • Local schools—many colleges guarantee a certain job placement rate and have an entire department to help their students become employees in the industry of their education. Oftentimes the coordinators of these programs will come to you for jobs as well, which is another direct talent pipeline. Reach out to your local community colleges or local universities and talk with them about any students that they might have who would fit your job description needs. They often also have an internal communication system that can get your job posting in front of many students (or even alums) in a hurry.
  • Previous applicants—even those you interviewed who might have been a second or third choice. You already know they’re interested in your company, and you may even have met them face to face. Even if it’s been half a year since they applied, reach out. What’s the worst that can happen?
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