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In exciting news, for those that still haven’t heard, Stunt & Gimmick’s is hiring. Which as any small business owner can tell you is not only terrifying, but a colossal time sink. Without a dedicated HR team it can quickly turn into an overwhelming project and take over your business and your life. And yet, we’ve been overwhelmed…in a good way. The vast majority of resumes we’ve received have been on point, well worth our reading time, and seemed to generally fit our needs and our corporate culture. To date, we’ve gotten about 300 applicants, and narrowing it down to a field of 20 or so has been difficult, but fun and pleasurable. And all from a single Craigslist post.

So what’s the secret to getting the right kinds of candidates? It’s shockingly easy. All you have to do is disregard everything the little HR drone in your head tells you to do. Here are a couple of tips for writing a help wanted ad that will get you exactly the kind of employee you want without having to waste anyone’s time:

Don’t: write a point by point recounting of the various and sundry tasks your employee will be performing.
Do: try to capture the essence of the position AS IT FITS INTO YOUR COMPANY’S CULTURE.

This is a big one. Initially, a lot of people (especially those just starting out in the wonderful world of self-staffing) are hiring to fill a need, and not really thinking of how an employee will fit into their organization as a person. So a web start-up might know they need someone who can regurgitate Python in their sleep and can work with large Non-SQL databases, but might not know if they’re looking for a hot young coder straight off the MIT press or a seasoned vet with a neck-beard and a list of published Unix guides a mile long. Think of the type of person you want, and convey it. Anyone who’s worth hiring will know what the job entails, and listing out responsibilities just encourages people who are under-qualified to zero in on one or two things in a list they do well and submit a resume.

Don’t: be boring, bland, and forgettable.
Do: be yourself.

It seems difficult to stress this enough, and people like to nod and wave their hands dismissively when we bring this up, but for the love of god people, pay attention. Stop trying to sound like a corporate recruitment video. Your company has a personality. Let it come through. It’s a good way to scare off the cookie cutter applicants who don’t know how to deal with real people. You know who they are. The ones that write resumes that, once boiled down and sifted to remove buzz words, essentially say little more than “I have a name, here is my phone number.” Those people.

Stay tuned through our exciting employee search, because very shortly we will be having fun with resumes, as we post excerpts from the best and worst, have fun at others’ expense, and maybe even learn something.

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