Since debuting “Swim Jobs You Might Love” hear at Swimswam, we have become an increasingly popular source for employers looking to attract candidates for their open positions. The motivation is natural- there are lot of eyes on the site, especially those who may be looking for the posted position. As a professional peruser of these job boards, I though it would be helpful to send out some tips to help you separate your job posting from the rest. What are the things you can do to get the best candidates drafting a cover letter and tinkering with their resume?
Oftentimes, this section lists some general information about the size of the team, geography etc. How about telling prospective candidates what your goal is. What are you shooting for? Do you want to be the best club in your LSC or conference, or achieve some sort of national club recognition? Or are you committed to providing opportunities to a wide breadth of swimmers regardless of ability level? Do you have plans in place to achieve these goals, and how much influence will the new hire have in fulfilling or changing those processes?
What are the strengths of your team? List any of them so that the hire can begin to imagine how they can leverage these strengths to build a better club.
Job Duties: Be Specific
General descriptions of job duties are fine, but consider this. Let’s say your job posting is titled “Head Senior Coach”. The type of people already have an idea of what that job entails, and much of what generally list they assume is part of the job. How about telling them about the specific parts of the job that you see differently on your team or club? One of the previous roles I had coaching a swim team was designing team and ordering team clothing. For a coach that dabbles in fashion, figuring out that they can exert a lot of control over this area could make the job more attractive (I confess that I am far from a fashionista)
Turn Your Expectations On Their Head
Many jobs list general expectations of the person that is being hired. In all of these, it is important to look at the counterfactual and see if it still makes sense. For example, I read a job posting (on another site) that said it expected that you would be “Good at motivating young people”. The opposite would be “Bad at motivating young people”. Consider an applicant that is actually excellent at motivating young people, because it’s a basic skill needed to perform their job. Are they motivated to apply knowing that you are looking for that? Or do they feel condescended to. Imagine a job posting at a law firm where they said they expected you can “read and write”. Would you want to work for that law firm?
Again, specificity is great here! I think that some listing don’t want to be too specific because they believe they will exclude too many if they are very specific about what they want. On the contrary, I think you will find that it makes the job more attractive to people who do meet the specific qualifications, and you will get some very ambitious applicants who don’t meet all the criteria but want to convince you why you should hire them anyway.
Salary: At least make a range
I can think of many reasons why job postings do not want to list salary, but I want to see if I can convince you to at least make a range. Look, it goes without saying that most swimming people did not get involved to make a fortune. However, when looking at your job, having a salary figure allows them to start to imagine themselves there and how it would work.
A range is a good compromise- make the bottom the lowest you would pay someone you actually want to do the job, and the highest what you would pay your ideal candidate.
If you have are feeling embarrassed about how low the salary is, take stock and craft your job posting around what other value you can create. In my life as a college coach, I can remember plenty of situations where I was trying to convince a swimmer to take a smaller scholarship to my school than a larger offer elsewhere. When it came down to it, many chose a smaller scholarship because they saw value in the whole package of what was being offered. Which brings me to my final point:
How to Create Value:
Right now, the sport of swimming is losing talented coaches because of the structure we ourselves have maid. I’ve seen many great coaches, far too many of them women, leave the sport because of the amount of things that “just are” in swimming. There is opportunity in this. When I talk to coaches and hear the stresses they face, in everyone I see a chance for a smart employer to turn them into a positive. What if, your job offered:
Help from someone within the organization in the real estate field to find a place to live close to where you will actually work and that your salary can afford
Babysitting for coaches’ children during practice time to alleviate stress on the employee and/or their spouse
Paid vacations and systems for actually making it plausible for employees to take it
Clearly defined working hours and an overtime policy
Family leave in case of emergency/birth of a child
For board run clubs- how about advertising if you have managed to form a board of former athletes and coaches within the sport and not parents of swimmers currently on the team.
The Bottom Line
These are just a few ideas, and implementing one or all of them will have positive effect on your ability to attract quality applicants to your job posting here on Swimswam. Good luck!