The smaller your business, the more important it is that you add the right people to your team. You need to find the perfect candidate -- the one person with all the skills, credentials, and experience you need.
And then, for good measure, you toss in a bunch of personal attributes.
Which sound good on paper, but might communicate very different things to the people who see your job posting.
To quote the Spanish philosopher and ambidextrous swordsman Inigo Montoya, "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."
Here is what some great candidates might think the attributes you list in your job posting really mean:
1. "Fast paced"
Limited staffing, constantly changing priorities.
2. "Self starter"
You're on your own.
3. "Works well under pressure"
Everything is urgent.
We like to micromanage.
And your desk comes complete with its own grindstone.
4. "Results focused"
As if there were something else to focus on.
5. "Competitive salary"
People are smart. They understand market conditions, financial constraints, revenue shortfalls, and increased competition. They understand you may not pay top-of-market salaries. But they do assume the pay you offer will be reasonable and fair.
As Margaret Thatcher once said, "Power is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren't."
When something is spoken that should go unspoken, there's usually a problem.
6. "Opportunities for growth"
If you're cool with loads of currently worthless stock options and a string of ever-fancier job titles in lieu of pay, this is the place for you.
7. "Wear many hats"
The smaller the company, the more important it is that employees can think on their feet, adapt quickly to shifting priorities, and do whatever it takes, regardless of role or position, to get things done.
Great employees jump in, without being asked.
But in a broader sense, wearing many hats is a cultural thing, one proven by behavior -- not demanded by job postings.
Again: If you feel the need to say it, there's usually a problem.
8. "Family environment"
Think about the last time your extended family got together.
You love them, but would you want to work with them every day?
9. "Unlimited vacation policy"
None of which you better take. (See: "Results focused.")
10. "Great sense of humor"
Because our personalities are pretty tough to deal with.
11. "Change agent"
There are a number of things we haven't managed to get our employees to do.
Hopefully you can pull it off.
12. "Work hard, play hard"
You're going to work 60-hour weeks, so you better squeeze what you can out of your time off.
Also, our CEO does triathlons.
(Hat tip to Kristen Abell for this one.)