There are two important documents that you will utilize during your recruitment process and they should be designed to work together to maximize your recruiting efforts. I call the first one the “Job Bulletin,” and I call the second the “Job Announcement.” In many jurisdictions, these terms are used interchangeably or other titles are used for the same two documents. Still other jurisdictions attempt to get the job done with just one document. So I have given each document the name I commonly use and I like to stress that, ideally, agencies should make use of both documents. Particularly since the distinction is that the “Bulletin,” is short and covers the basics, while the “Announcement,” is much longer and covers all the aspects of the selection process in detail.
Utilizing two documents can save an agency money and increase the success of the recruitment and selection process. The bulletin being short by design and covering only the basics is cheaper to post on the websites, newspapers and periodicals you have chosen as your sources for getting the word out that you are recruiting. If you have done a thorough job of preparing your job announcement, the length of the document will make posting it on all your recruiting sites cost prohibitive.
The bulletin itself should be an attention getter. The title of the job, your salary range and the location of the job opportunity should serve as the header for your bulletin. A short plug emphasizing what a great opportunity you are offering to people to come and work and live in your wonderful community should open your narrative. Then stick to the basics. Cover what potential applicants need to know to decide whether or not to apply. All the relevant dates and times need to be included in this document as well so that interested individuals can set time aside to participate in your process. Potential candidates need to know the dates and times of your written exam, your fitness test, and your oral exams and the approximate time frame for out-of-town applicants to complete the process. Candidates also need to be informed of materials that they need to bring with them to each step of the procedure to be admitted. Even with all this information being provided, remember that it needs to be succinct and brief, enticing and informative without being unduly wordy and expensive to post.
The job announcement is a document that is much more detailed and its focus shifts from enticing candidates and giving them the minimum, to educating candidates that have already indicated an interest and providing them with all the information you can to help them be successful in your process. Some of the information in the announcement will be redundant with the information provided in the job bulletin in that candidates can not be told dates and times too often.
In addition to the basic information, specific details about each step in the process should be given along with hints to succeed. If you are using a multiple choice, one hundred item written exam as the first step in your process, you should say so and provide that information. It is also important to include the subject areas to be covered in the exam and the number of items in each section. In addition, if you are providing training sessions for the exam, the dates and times for these sessions should be included.
In that regard, an important adjunct to recruiting and improving the ratio between the number of applicants and the number hired is the inclusion of test preparation sessions. These sessions should not be limited to just going over your written exam. As part of your outreach recruitment efforts, it is important to go out into the community and offer information on how to succeed in every aspect of your selection process. Dates and times for these sessions should be included in your job announcement. Designing and preparing the training materials can be done while the recruitment is open or written materials that accompany the training can be prepared before the recruitment opens and made available to candidates either via your website or in hard copy form that is mailed to applicants once their application is accepted.
Because of the length of the materials that some jurisdictions develop to assist candidates in preparing for their selection process, they have chosen to develop test preparation booklets. I believe these books have tremendous value in increasing the potential for success and they can also serve as part of voluntary affirmative action. The intention in that regards being to reduce or eliminate any potential adverse impact generated by any portion of your selection process. To off set costs, jurisdictions have also charged a nominal fee for these study booklets. Candidates that are serious about competing for a position with your agency should be glad to pay for a document that will increase their possibilities of success.
In addition to providing information on how to prepare for and take the written exam, many jurisdictions have found it beneficial to provide practice oral board sessions and fitness testing sessions. Taking this preparation to the next level, some jurisdictions have provided training regimens led by physical fitness instructors from their academies.
Maybe your jurisdiction does not have the manpower or funding to provide training in each area of your selection procedure, but you should provide what you can and you should maximize the effectiveness of your job announcement by providing detailed information about your process and how to succeed in each portion. From my own experience, I have seen that the greater the efforts the greater the results in obtaining the workforce you want representing your jurisdiction.
Next, we will look at spending your advertising dollar.