The best outlets in which to advertise often are dictated by the particular position you are seeking to fill. It is important that you target the most productive sources. For management- and professional-level positions, using the newsletters and trade journals of appropriate professional groups are essential for productive searches. Tennessee Town & City and the publications of other municipal leagues are helpful sources. A partial list of sources is in Appendix A. Advertising in the classified section of local or regional newspapers also is common. Advertising in widely circulated publications is likely to prompt additional applications, although many will lack desired levels of education and experience. In addition, opportunities exist to advertise on various websites, including the municipality’s own site. The city must determine how broadly or narrowly it wishes to advertise.
Important elements to consider including in the advertisement are:
- A brief, attractive description of the city or town, including population, and an overview of the organization, including number of employees and budget
- Minimum requirements for experience and education
- A salary range, which may include “commensurate with experience”
- An application deadline of no fewer than three weeks and no more than eight weeks from the date of the ad
- A location to which applications should be submitted
The best candidates for the job may not respond to an advertisement, or they may never see it. Because good prospects may not be actively looking for a new job, do not rely exclusively on advertising to generate all applicants. You also need to ask others for suggestions. Within a particular profession, it is possible to secure the names of individuals who are highly respected and who may fit the job design profile you have developed. This can be accomplished by securing a directory of the appropriate professional association and making direct contact with current officers and members. Some local governments hire the services of an executive search firm, often referred to as a headhunter, to enhance the applicant pool. While often effective, executive search firms can be expensive. Local governments must weigh the costs and benefits of using an executive search firm with the overall criteria established for the position to determine if outside assistance is needed and the extra expense is justified.
Remember not to be shy about inquiring and making personal contact. There is nothing improper or unethical about informing people of employment opportunities. It is up to the individual to decide if he or she is interested enough to apply. As an equal opportunity employer, make every effort to attract qualified minority candidates. Minority recruitment is an obligation and a beneficial practice to promote community diversity. One final recruitment tip — Look right under your nose. The best qualified person may already be working for you.