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How to write job postings that attract the right candidates

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As your company grows or employees move on, it’s important to find ways to fill vacant roles with the best candidates in as little time as possible. But in a competitive hiring market, attracting enough qualified applicants can be a challenge. If you’re not thrilled with the quantity or quality of applicants for your company’s open roles, it may be time to reevaluate and tweak how you write job postings. 

Let’s look at the pieces of a good job posting, as well as some strategies to make yours stand out:

Give all the information

Start with an accurate job title

The job title will serve as the headline for your job posting, so it’s important that it’s as accurate as possible. For a while, some startups thought it was fun to use words like “guru,” “ninja,” “rockstar,” etc. in a job description. Not only is this gimmicky (which is a turnoff for many job applicants), but it can also negatively impact search rankings, making it harder to reach a wide audience.

Give all the basics

In the first section, briefly describe the role and the company. This is a great place to say what your company does and why it’s a great place to work (e.g. friendly work environment, flexible hours, exciting challenges, etc.). Give an overview of the job, but don’t get too deep in the weeds about the role here; you’ll do that in the next section. Try to keep this portion upbeat, appealing and brief (about 3-4 sentences). 

List the requirements

At this point in the job description, you’ll share more about what the role entails, and what’s necessary to do it well. Detail any education, certifications, or work experience that may be required for the job. You can also mention anything that’s preferred (but not required) so that applicants know what to highlight in their cover letters to make themselves stand out. For easy reading, this section is often presented in bullet points. 

Show off your benefits

This is when it’s time to brag on your company. Tell potential applicants about your amazing healthcare benefits, your generous paid leave policies, your flexible work arrangements, your beautiful office space, or any other aspects of company life that might entice someone to want to work with you. However, make sure you’re not overinflating what employees can expect from your benefits package; you don’t want to mislead applicants who may be looking for specific perks out of their next job. 

Make it easy for them to apply

Spell out exactly how an interested job seeker should go about applying for the job. Drop a link to the application or share the email address of the person responsible for filling the role. In this section, you may also want to set expectations about the hiring process, including how soon you hope to start interviews and a heads-up about any work samples applicants may be asked to present. 

Take it to the next level

Following the advice above will get the job done, and should help clear up any confusion for hiring managers and applicants. But if you really want to make your job postings stand out, here are a few things to consider: 

Write like you talk

This job description may be an applicant’s first interaction with your company, so it’s important to put the right foot forward. Aim for a conversational, friendly tone that aligns with your company’s overall voice and avoid overly technical or jargonistic language.

Make it scannable

Use headers and bullet points where applicable to make your job posting easy to skim so that job seekers are quickly able to determine whether they want to know more or apply for the position. 

Describe the ideal employee

Consider what attributes make an employee a successful fit in your company’s culture, and include that in your job posting. If it’s important for an applicant to be personable, collaborative, assertive, or any other traits that come to mind, let job seekers know upfront so that they can decide whether they think they’d be a strong fit for the role.

Paint a picture

Some applicants might find it helpful to have a mental picture of an average day on the job before they decide whether they’re interested in the position. Describing the first few weeks in the role, what an ordinary day entails, and what success in the role looks like can help job seekers get a better idea of what they’re applying for.  

Get a second (and third) opinion

Even if the job posting is the responsibility of an HR manager or an internal recruiter, ultimately, everyone benefits when the right person accepts the job. Have several other people in your organization look over your description to make sure that it portrays your company positively and accurately, and that it covers all the important parts of the job. 

Nailing job postings is a crucial step to start the hiring process off on the right foot. By following this rough outline and filling in the details of the job in a way that excites potential applicants, you can make sure your job listings get the attention necessary to attract the right people for your growing company.