How You May Be Unintentionally Discouraging Creative Job Applicants

How You May Be Unintentionally Discouraging Creative Job Applicants
Anna Sorokina (NYFA Communications/Design Officer); "The Fit;" 2020; digital artwork

Job listings are a reflection of your company. Here’s how to put your best foot forward when attracting applicants.

Your job listings are a reflection of the company, whether you run a large or small arts organization, you’re new on the scene or well-established, and everyone in between. When recruiting for a company, it’s best to review the job description from the perspective of an applicant before posting it. Does the listing exude the tone you would like to portray? Thoughtfully written job descriptions provide a clear impression of the company and what working there might be like. This thoughtfulness will ideally attract similarly thoughtful applicants. Keep reading to learn more about how you can create listings that attract top talent!

Sharing Company Culture

Finding the right employee can be a long process, especially when there are more jobs available than job seekers due to our current economy. Similarly to how you would like job candidates to stand out by submitting thoughtful cover letters, job seekers are looking for thoughtfully written job descriptions that include company culture.

Including your Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) statement is a great way of highlighting your dedication to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Additionally, sharing a bit about your company, your company’s values, and work environment will help your job listing stand out when compared to a similar job posting. The work environment is especially important for in-person positions.

Clarifying Location

According to this recent survey from Idealist, the one thing job seekers value most is that a company “offers the ability to work remotely.” If you can offer remote or hybrid options, are you leveraging this major benefit to potential employees in your listings?

Everyone has their preferred work environment. Some people may seek fully remote work because the individual knows they work best from home and have minimal distractions. Others crave to be in the office, surrounded by their colleagues and fewer distractions than being at home. In some cases, an individual’s preference is a mix of both. It is no longer obvious that an employee is expected to work in-person. Including a statement about what is expected will help match the right employer with the right employee.

This can easily be added to your job description. For example, try including the question, “Can the employee work remotely?” and then answer it with the following examples:

  • No, this is an in-person position.
  • Yes – temporarily due to COVID-19. (Specify if a location is preferred).
  • Yes – hybrid. (Explain your company’s hybrid model).
  • Yes. (Explain if the employee can work from anywhere in the world or from a specific country or just from a specific city or time zone).

As an alternative, include a section called “Location” where you specify where the employee is expected to carry out the responsibilities of the role, and whether the circumstances are temporary. 

Staying Safe

For fully-remote roles, you may not need to include your company’s health and safety guidelines. However, if you’re operating in a hybrid or in-person capacity, then it’s important to include.

If your local and state government requires vaccinations, you are well within your rights to say, “vaccination required.” At the same time, it’s beneficial to include the caveat “unless a reasonable accommodation is approved in accordance with applicable law.” Including this legal allowance opens up the conversations surrounding the company’s guidelines regarding mental and physical health, as well as medical restrictions, if applicable.

By not including “unless a reasonable accommodation is approved,” you may inadvertently be discouraging persons of certain religions or persons with disabilities from applying.

Encouraging Wage Transparency

Starting in late October 2022, NYFA Classifieds will require employers in New York and Colorado to include the salary range in job listings. This change is in response to the recent New York City Council law to mandate salary transparency in job listings. 

Similar laws, such as providing the salary range upon request, already exist in some states. Providing the salary range upfront will help save employers’ time by attracting the right candidate and weeding out those whose expectations don’t match up.

This new law is intended to help correct pay inequalities and discrimination. Demonstrate that your organization values transparency by including a salary range in all of your job listings, even if it is not required. 

Questioning Qualifications

Companies are also acknowledging that certain kinds of people are less likely to apply for a role if they believe they are not 100% qualified. In response to this, The Whitney Museum of American Art has included the following language:

“Not sure you meet 100% of our qualifications? Research shows that men apply for jobs when they meet an average of 60% of the criteria. Yet, women and other people who are systematically marginalized tend to only apply if they meet every requirement. If you believe that you could excel in this role, we encourage you to apply. We are dedicated to considering a broad array of candidates, including those with diverse workplace experiences and backgrounds. Whether you’re new to arts and culture administration, returning to work after a gap in employment, simply looking to transition or take the next step in your career path, we will be glad to have you on our radar. Please use your cover letter to tell us about your interest in the arts and culture space and what you hope to bring to this role.”

Fostering Inclusivity

Perhaps a position does not require much writing. Companies are noticing that potentially great employees express themselves better audibly, rather than on paper. Consider the following language (shared by Chelsea Factory) in the application instructions: “If written word is not your best means of self expression, please feel free to create an audio description or video recording.” 

The video-sharing platform TikTok has also altered how job seekers approach their job search. The New York Times shared an article about this called Job-Hunters, Have You Posted Your Resume on TikTok? Video has seeped into both our personal and professional lives. Many recruiters are acknowledging this.

Keeping it Friendly and Personable

At the end of the day, we all want to find the right person or position. By not highlighting your company culture, location expectations, reasonable accommodations, or openness to new ideas, you may be unintentionally discouraging quality candidates from applying. Thoughtfully written job listings are in your organization’s best interest, as the more detailed and intentional you are in your listing, the better the alignment with potential candidates.

NYFA Classifieds is the go-to site for artists, arts administrators, and museum professionals seeking jobs and internships, opportunities and services, and event listings and studio spaces. When you advertise with NYFA Classifieds, you are supporting the arts. Find our Media Kit here.

On the job hunt? Find jobs and opportunities on NYFA ClassifiedsFor other job hunting tips, check out our Monday Motivation posts.

Mary-Kate Grohoski
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