Sponsored by Workopolis: In the hunt for great candidates, a job posting is your first important step. If written well, your job description can attract much higher applicants from the start, saving you time and, most importantly, money.
Of course, that’s easier said than done. If you’ve ever experienced the frustration involved with staring at a blank page, you know writing just about anything can be a challenge. You don’t, however, have to struggle. You just have to do your homework.
Start with an intake meeting to get the nitty-gritty on the position. What is the day-to-day reality of the role? What are its responsibilities, tasks, and objectives? Once you have that information, it’s all a matter of writing (and re-writing). Here are some tips on how to write job postings that attract top talent.
You need to be very clear and specific about required qualifications. When a candidate reads your job description, they must instantly know if this position is for them (and if they have what it takes for the position). If there is any uncertainty, you will be inundated with resumes and candidates – the bulk of which may not be qualified for the position.
To avoid this, clearly define and list qualifications that are mandatory for the job. This should include things like professional certifications, years of experience, and education levels. For more technical roles, it’s also a good idea to list software, platforms, and coding languages to give applicants a good sense of the work involved.
Top talent knows what they’re doing, and they know their value on the job market. If there is any confusion over your required qualifications or skills, they will look elsewhere.
Use industry-specific job titles
Creative job titles (like Data Ninja or Grand Poobah of People) might seem like an easy way to make your company look fun and hip, but this can backfire: they can keep your job posting out of search results. Think of it from a job seeker’s perspective. What would they be more likely to search for? A job as a ninja or an analyst? While the former certainly sounds more exciting, most people with a data background will opt for the latter.
The same goes for industry jargon and organization-specific terminology. If you have a specific term for an analyst, how does a job seeker know this? Instead, use commonly known titles that are in-line with industry norms. These are the keywords candidates will use in a job search.
So even if it feels boring, when it comes to the right candidate, boring is beautiful.
Keep it short and sweet
This position might be the most important role in your organization, but it doesn’t mean you have to channel your inner Tolstoy. Stick to what’s essential, and don’t overwhelm the reader.
The goal should be to make things easy to read. So, where possible, use subheadings, bullet points, and short paragraphs to break up blocks of text. It’s also important to use simple language; the more understandable it is, the more you can expand your potential reach.
Sell your brand
The reality is many of the top candidates out there are already employed. Your job posting has to entice them enough to want to make a change. So, you need to put a focus on the positives of your company, including the location of your office (especially if it’s in a trendy neighborhood), the hours (do you offer flex time or work from home options?), vacation time, the salary range, and any other exciting perks and benefits you might offer.
An important thing to remember is not to shortchange the work itself. Many of the most talented candidates out there are looking to challenge themselves and progress in their careers. The chance to work on an exciting project, for example, can often be an enticing proposition in and of itself.
You know what we’re talking about. Job postings tend to be filled with descriptors like “detail-oriented” or “hard-working.” You might really want these types of employees, but the subjective nature of these words can create misconceptions about what is actually required for the job. Instead, use specific, objectively proven (e.g. leadership skills proven by prior experience managing a team).
It’s also important to use keywords that are associated with that kind of role. Again, put yourself in the shoes of a job seeker. You might be hiring a “copywriter,” but a qualified job seeker might also be searching for “communications” or “editor.” Dust off that thesaurus and show off your vocabulary.
For more job posting tips and templates, download our free eGuide, A Practical Guide to Writing Job Postings. Here’s a sneak peek:
About the author: Workopolis is Canada’s leading career site for job seekers and a leader in HR technology solutions for employers.