The Employment Opportunities List

The Ultimate Source for HR Jobs and Blogs. Friends Helping Friends of Friends.

Wanted: creativity, diversity and realism in job postings

Can we please try and take a good hard look at the way we write job postings? Almost all postings for HR positions are eerily similar. It seems that all we do day after day is scour the internet to read each other’s job postings and then copy and paste to cobble them together. The latest trend is to ask for ‘x years of progressive HR experience’. And I’m thinking, progressive, as opposed to what? Is there such a thing as regressive HR experience? And if that exists, what is it exactly? I don’t know too many people who regressed while in an HR role – my thinking is, if you show up for work every day and put in a decent effort, you can’t help but progress in your profession.

Why do job postings invariably contain the words ‘complex’, ‘challenging’ and ‘rapidly changing and dynamic’? Organizations tend to hype their work environment as dynamic and fast-paced, while from personal experience and anecdotal evidence it is obvious that a number of them are, in fact, static and slow-paced. Companies tend to state something like ‘ABC Inc. is a progressive organization that focuses on continuous improvement and innovation. We offer a collaborative team environment with a dynamic culture and standard of excellence’. New hires usually find out that the reality is much different once they are on board and end up frustrated.

Why do so many managers and recruiters still interpret movement as progress? If we’re serious about being strategic, creative and forward-thinking, a job posting should include something like ‘Required to sit back an hour each day and think about better ways of doing things’.

We’re drowning in jargon. HR job postings tend to ask for effective problem-solving abilities (as opposed to ineffective), the ability to translate business needs into HR solutions, we need to reinforce a collaborative high-performance culture, make impactful recommendations (as opposed to?), champion and execute programs, be proactive (instead of lethargic), be a thought leader, attract and retain critical talent (but not too critical), build and sustain an engaged workforce, improve HR workplace efficiencies, be both strategic and tactical with the ability to see the bigger picture, be results-oriented, develop innovative solutions, act as a thoughtful coach and partner with leaders to develop team workforce strategies to ensure alignment with strategic priorities. Oh yes, the word strategy – every posting needs that at least three times.

Be careful what you ask for. If you state that you offer a dynamic, fast-paced, inclusive work environment while your organization is stagnant, sluggish and cliquish, there’s an issue when dozens of vibrant entrepreneurs apply for the position. Same thing if we parachute a dynamic, results-oriented HR guru into a bureaucratic, process-oriented organization where dozens of tenured people look at new ideas the way chickens look at storm clouds. Also, don’t state that the HR Manager is expected to be able to work independently and implement strategic HR decisions if the CEO thinks of HR in terms of payroll and birthday cakes.

It can’t be too hard to be a bit more creative, original and upfront. If your culture really is that exciting, then talk about the fun stuff. Also, be frank about the bad stuff. We all know the old HR statistic that if people quit, they quit on their first day or in their first week – usually because the job or the environment turns out to be completely different from what they expected, or were led to believe.

Consider a job posting that reads ‘Let’s face it: a lot of HR work is not that exciting. We at ABC Inc. would love to tell you that we value work-life balance and while our work day officially is 9 to 5, you, our HR Superhero, will be expected to stay until 7 or 8 on most days just to get through the backlog. So forget about dinner with your family or running before daylight fades. We offer a high-stress environment where you’ll be dealing with a lot of tedious, mind-numbing administrative work for the first six months and yes, we do have a couple of people here that were miscast in their roles and left to marinate in their own shortcomings, because nobody wanted to deal with it. So there’s your challenge! Still interested? Visit our website!’.

It is so rare to see a sense of humour come out in a job posting. Example: last year I saw a posting from a cosmetics company that included the following line: ’50% off all our products so that you feel fresh every day’. So, we can find inspiration elsewhere. I recently bought a red wine called forward and to my surprise, the label on the back stated the following: “This spot is usually reserved for a wine description. Often confusing or intimidating to some, we believe there is only one criteria: you like it, or you don’t. For those wanting more info on this wine, please follow us on Facebook or visit our website for a detailed description. We’d love to hear from you!”. How about a job posting that starts as follows: “This spot is usually reserved for a job description. Often full of irritating jargon and over-the-top to many, we believe there is only one criteria: either it’s a fit, or it’s not. For those wanting more info on this job, please check us out on glassdoor or visit our website for a detailed description. We’d love to hear from you!”. Quite refreshing.

As HR professionals, we have a key role in making sure that we don’t raise job seekers’ expectations about the company and the work environment to unrealistic levels. When a hype proves deceptive, we will likely be confronted with mis-hires and turnover. It’s our job to protect organizations by managing expectations.

Evert Akkerman is an award-winning HR professional based out of Newmarket, Ontario. He has worked extensively in the private and non-profit sectors and has broad experience in communications. Evert founded XNL HR in 2012 and can be reached at and 289-338-4001.

When you are planning a career transition

For some, job change is an overwhelming process. Going through resume reviews, job applications, interviews and then anxious wait to hear back. Ask me what makes the process even more exhausting and I would say its career transition – moving from one job type to another.

When you have knowledge, skills and confidence to pursue a new career but lack experience for the new role, its challenging to compete with others who have it all. Is there anything one can do to make the transition smoother ?

Share your story

Everyone has a story, so what’s your story? Who are you, what you do, your professional and personal journey. Why do you consider this change, how are your preparing yourself for the change, what do you wish to achieve or accomplish, let others know. Employers are interested to know you as a person , your core strengths and how you can benefit them (employer). So reach out and tell your story and with many social media apps available, its easier than before to make and sell your brand.

Informational interviews

This probably is the best and quick way of knowing about the organization, career or industry of your choice. Your social network or a common connection is a good way to connect with the relevant people in your desired role or industry. You can also approach through a personal reference to meet the person who can help your with the information. Such meetings are called Informational Interviews. They are often conducted in a formal fashion where you get an opportunity to ask questions, get insights and inputs and also hear experiences from those who have been working in the role that interests you. If you already know the person concerned, why not invite him/her for informational interview over a cup of coffee and get the conversation rolling?

Network with those in the trade

Looking for a new career, its time to build up new network too. Meet and connect with people who are in the same profession. Social media is open to all and people often are willing to help if you approach them. So utilize the opportunity to hear their stories, understand their opinion, their challenges and take their advice. In this social media age, a great network is often first step to a new job .

I shared a few tips from my personal experience that I am finding helpful while in transition stage of my career. An important point is to keep remanding yourself that consistent efforts in the right direction won’t disappoint for long. What would you suggest me and many more others about making that career transition?



12002039_10156292130510556_7427721370465839113_n (1)It is September 22, 2015, and I am writing this blog post from an RV park not far from Skyline Drive and the Appalachian Trail.

I am on a little adventure.

I am looking for inspiration.



Something that will help me get through the next ten years of my career.

Everyone is talking about engagement at work. Happiness.

There’s an expression my family uses: Charity begins at home. I think that an engaged workforce starts with a happy HR professional.

I’m not saying I’m not happy, but I am a little itchy. And I want the workforces I touch to be engaged.

Here is what I know so far.

We’ve never rented an RV or driven a big vehicle before but it isn’t as frightening as I thought it might be. It is a sham to call this camping. I can shower indoors, cook indoors and enjoy a fireplace, indoors. I have a full-size fridge. I have three TVs! I am sleeping on a Queen-sized mattress. The truth is that this kind of luxury compact living is now left to the people who can afford it. They are extremely nice people I might add, but in truth, everyone we’ve met so far is over the age of 70. Most have found themselves an acceptable small house or apartment in a place they can call home, and see the world in style with the time they have left. Good plan.

The mountains smell fabulous. The air is cool this time of year, and the air contains a deep smell of pine, but not like the woods in Ontario. It smells slightly like Fall right now. It is the kind of smell that companies try to capture for men’s deodorant, but fail miserably.

Despite getting some new lightweight shoes for walking, they still aren’t right for this terrain. Coming down the steep rocks, my shoes slide on the acorns. I came all the way down here to walk on the Appalachian Trail and already I’m freaking out by the amount of climbing. Bill Bryson has written that a huge percentage of people who set out to walk the whole 2200 miles of trail give up in the first ten. I suddenly understand why.

But this trip was never about finishing. It was about experiencing. Bringing the wisdom of the wilderness into the inevitability of work. To appreciate the cycle, the circle of life. To be in the moment; where I need to be.