10 Things You’re Probably Doing But Shouldn’t Be Doing in Your Job Ads

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Dec 11, 2020

Your organization’s job ads, job descriptions, and application process all have a dramatic impact on the number of candidates you attract to your open positions. A job ad is a recruiter’s sales funnel, and a bad one can negatively impact candidate behavior and reduce conversions. With that in mind, here are 10 ways your job ads may be undermining your recruiting efforts:

1. Your job title is exceptional, but not in a good way.

What would you enter into a search bar if you were a candidate looking for a job? That’s the title you should use. It might be tempting to use a fun title like “Coding Ninja,” or you might be required to use an internal title such as “Cust Serv Level II.” But these titles don’t match what candidates search for. Clean keyword matching is essential to getting your ad to show at the top of search results.

2. Your job title is way too long.

While it’s tempting to keyword-stuff everything you think a candidate might type into a search bar into your job title, refrain. Research shows that the highest-performing job ads have titles with between one to three words, and they outperform other title lengths on average by up to 40%. Keeping it simple also ensures that candidates know exactly what they’re applying for.

3. Your job description is all about you.

Remember, the purpose of a job description is to sell the opportunity, not the company. Make sure when you read the job description you can answer the question, “What’s in it for me?” from the candidate’s perspective.

4. Your job requirements read like a wish list.

Does the job really require 10 years of experience? Does the applicant really need a college degree? What about that list of technologies? Must a candidate have worked with all of them? It’s possible your job description has morphed into a wish list for an overqualified person who doesn’t actually exist, a mythical purple squirrel. Many qualified candidates will self-select out because they can’t tick all of those boxes.

5. You play it too close to the vest when it comes to salary.

If you don’t advertise salary information, candidates may assume you are paying less than employers that do disclose pay. Consequently, candidates may not apply for your job. In fact, according to Payscale, job ads that include salary ranges get 30% more job applicants than those without salary information.

6. You don’t brag enough about benefits.

It’s easy to include a quick one-liner about your benefits, but this isn’t a best practice. Successful job ads detail benefits. If you have glossed over yours in a sentence while competitors have carefully listed theirs, you will lose candidates. It’s worth pointing out that there is a direct correlation between application conversion rate and the number of non-cash benefits listed in a job description. In fact, including four or more benefits in your job description can actually yield up to a 22.5% apply rate.

 7. Your application process is a job unto itself.

The longer your application process, the more candidates will lose interest. Applications that take more than 15 minutes to complete experience a 365% degradation in completion rates. Also, don’t get hung up on the idea that “only unqualified candidates” will opt out. Good candidates know they are good candidates, and they aren’t going to stick with an arduous or questionable application process.

8. Your candidate communication mantra is “mañana.”

Letting candidates wait for weeks before you call them is a good way to ensure they will move on. But that’s not all. If you are getting too many candidates, which makes getting back to them difficult, it’s time to get your jobs off the market faster. Use programmatic technology to pull jobs out of circulation once you have enough candidates to make a hire. If you typically require 40 candidates, don’t allow 755 people to apply.

9. Your Glassdoor rating is nothing to boast about.

Employer brand matters. If your Glassdoor rating is under 3, more candidates will stop applying for your jobs. If you don’t already have a free employer account on Glassdoor, get one. Respond to negative reviews by giving them careful consideration and thought, which helps control the messages in the market about your company.

10. You’re confusing recruitment marketing with consumer marketing.

There are a lot of concepts that drive consumer engagement that simply won’t or can’t translate to recruiting. Loud colors, thin details, and even thinner application forms work for marketing but don’t result in professionals applying for your jobs. Instead, focus on key marketing tactics such as understanding your audience, using a metrics-based approach to understand what is working, and making sure you are spending responsibly with a clear ROI.

The words you choose to include in your job ads and the quality of your online application process make a real difference in the effectiveness of your recruitment activities. Making better decisions by avoiding the kinds of mistakes above is a starting point for building a better pipeline with more candidates and more conversions. 

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