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How to Write an Effective Job Posting

“Desperate Employer Seeks Carbon Copy Robot for Mind-Numbing Labor”.

Sound familiar?

Well, it shouldn’t. As funny as it may sound, you’d be surprised how many job postings read this way once you look beneath the surface.

But you can avoid falling into this trap by creating posts that will attract the types of candidates you want working for you – while still being upfront about your expectations.

Write an Ad, Not a List of Information

No one wants to open your job posting and be met with unnecessary details about who they’ll be reporting to every day and whether they’ll be sitting with Jim from sales or Angela from accounting.

Instead, think of your posting as an ad to attract. Focus on things potential employees will actually care about, such as your company culture, mission statement, and what makes it a great place to work.

Imagine you were on the receiving end of the ad and think about what you would be looking for.  Then, save the details for when you’re actually making the offer.

Consider Format as Much as Content

You ever come across those mile-long job postings with jumbled phrases that run together without any sort of punctuation and think to yourself, “Now here’s an opportunity”?

Me neither.

Job seekers are frequently skimmers, and they’re looking to absorb information as quickly as possible to decide if the position is right for them. Generally, candidates want to know how many years of experience you’re expecting, what duties will be expected of them, and if there are any major red flags, i.e.: no overtime pay and a required work commitment of seven days a week.

So appeal to your skimmers by keeping your paragraphs concise, and by also including sub-headers to break up the text into manageable sections, e.g. job description, requirements, experience level, etc. This will make it much easier for your candidates to absorb the information they need, which means a faster application process for you.

Entice Qualified Candidates & Discourage the Rest

Just like with marketing, if you try to appeal to everyone, you’ll end up appealing to no one. So gear your job postings specifically toward the employees you’re trying to attract, and you’ll then be able to weed out unqualified candidates in the process.

For example, if you make mention of “previous experience required”, you can help deter anyone without any significant experience outside of thinking “this new job would be fun”. And the more specific you can get, the better; it will save both parties a lot of time and frustration down the road.

Be Transparent

Even though you want to attract and entice right-fit candidates, there’s a fine line between selling your company & brand and being downright untruthful.

Sure, advertising that your organization recognizes its employees after the 3-month probationary period may bring you a high volume of candidates, but it’s not going to do you any good if it’s all talk with no action to back it up. 

So resist the temptation to promise employees the moon, and tell it like it is. That doesn’t mean you need to make the job sound like a prison sentence, but if you’re looking for a cold-calling salesperson, don’t advertise the position as “light phone work”. Being upfront about the requirements means less disappointment later.  

Don’t be Boring!

You can be a lot of things in your ad: upbeat, forthright, witty – but whatever you do, don’t be boring.

Just as you wouldn’t want to hire someone who puts you to sleep at the interview table, people aren’t going to want to work for a company that does the same.

Start by thinking about what your organization can offer employees that others may not. For instance, do you offer unlimited PTO? That’s a great thing to mention. It demonstrates that your company is not only current, but that you understand and appreciate the value of happy workers.

And don’t just list job requirements like a factory manager spitting out orders. Let your company’s personality shine through. Are you a start-up looking for fresh ideas and talent? Then lead with that. Give your ad a voice that the employees you’re trying to target will respond to.

Most of all, be true to who your company really is and don’t worry about discouraging some candidates. Remember, you’re never going to appeal to everyone, so focus on capturing the attention of those who matter, and you’ll be well on your way to improving your employee roster.