Do Your Job Descriptions Make Unicorns Weep Tears Of Joy?

Vu Le has many, many bones to pick when it comes to the finer points of nonprofit admin job descriptions. He’s been focusing on specific items over the past few years at Nonprofit AF (formerly Nonprofit With Balls), but he recently packed everything together in a single post that includes some new, and highly useful, guidelines.

Adaptistration People 020Le includes a paragraph or two to elaborate on each point so by all means, take the time to read his post for the full info. But here’s his list of 19 tips for making your job posting so amazing, unicorns will weep tears of joy:

  1. Sound like a human being
  2. List your salary range
  3. Be realistic with job duties
  4. Do not force people to send a resume and ALSO fill out an application
  5. Do not ask for references with initial applications
  6. Accept equivalent experience for degrees
  7. Talk about your org’s values, culture, and what makes it awesome
  8. Describe your hiring process and timeline
  9. Describe the work schedule and flexibility
  10. Break down responsibilities by percentage
  11. Ensure requirements match the level and pay of the position
  12. Stop requiring a car, driver’s license, car insurance, etc.
  13. Knock it off with “must be able to lift 50 pounds.”
  14. List reporting relationships
  15. Spell out benefits
  16. No more “other duties as assigned”
  17. Don’t surprise people
  18. List a contact, in case people have questions
  19. Have a thoughtful statement of equal opportunity and non-discrimination

I found two items from his list hold special applicability to the orchestra field and as such, marked those with bold formatting.

7. Talk about your org’s values, culture, and what makes it awesome

Workplace satisfaction is a long running topic here at Adaptistration and to make a very long story short, the vast majority of orchestras not only undervalue their workplace culture, they tend to ignore it and sweep the results under the nearest carpet. If the field as a whole spent as much time focused on workplace satisfaction as it does on crafting mission statements, we would be in a much better place.

In the end, a mission is only as good as the people implementing it and the first orchestras that take culture and workplace satisfaction seriously are going to be the ones who leverage it to attract managers that would otherwise be beyond what they can pay.

15. Spell out benefits.

I have a feeling this one is going to become increasingly important by the end of the 2017. The American Health Care Act (Trumpcare) is already proposing massive changes to how health insurance is regulated along with providing the ability for states to implement additional restrictions and limitations. If that bill becomes a law, it will become more important than ever for orchestras to list benefits with as much detail as possible.  The alternative is to risk losing good candidates who can smell a bad benefits package by way of nebulous descriptions.

Speaking of job descriptions, drop by Adaptistration Jobs after perusing Le’s article and look at the current crop of arts admin listings with that new filter.

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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