How to Make Your Job Postings More Effective

Article main image
Dec 1, 2015
This article is part of a series called How-Tos.

As staffing professionals, we spend the vast majority of our waking hours each day actively seeking qualified candidates to meet the needs of our clients. In most instances, we use a wide variety of sources and methods to find those candidates, including posting jobs on our own company websites or with major job board partners, participating in social media platforms, sending out email campaigns to our candidate databases, distributing direct mail pieces, attending industry trade shows and other vehicles. We rack our brains to try to come up with innovative approaches and concepts that stand out in a competitive market for talent, and spend a significant portion of our operating budget each year on these efforts

Unfortunately, our efforts are often under-rewarded, and we lament the lack of response by candidates, wondering how we could spend that much time, effort and money on all that candidate marketing with little return.

At these times, ask yourself and your team a simple question: “Are we taking the time to create effective job descriptions?” Unfortunately, the honest answer to this question is often “No,” and as a result, candidates, recruiters, and clients all pay the price.

Our Bread and Butter

Well-written job descriptions are the bread and butter of our business. Yet we all too often take short cuts that result in unprofessional job descriptions that underwhelm when it comes to driving qualified candidates.

The excuses for slap-dash job postings are numerous: “I don’t have the time”; “The client was in a rush to give me the requirement”; “Candidates don’t really read job descriptions”; “I don’t want to give them too much information or else they won’t bother to apply – I like to keep it vague”; “I’m not a good writer”; “It doesn’t work in my vertical market,” etc.

My response? Hogwash! Take the extra time and effort to create compelling, complete and professional job descriptions and you will be rewarded with more qualified candidates, increased ROI in your candidate marketing and a much better representation of your company brand.

Here are few basic tips to help:

Create a simple, professional-looking template.

Using a job description template creates consistency, efficiency and a more professional look when you distribute a job description. At the very least, it should include the basic sections such as job title, job description, jobs tasks, requirements/experience, education/certification and location.

The template facilitates the quick production of the description by giving the writer a guideline and forces them to fill in the blanks to get the proper information. If the writer shortcuts the process and fails to include what’s required, the gap is obvious. The template should allow for easy “cut and paste” transfer into your applicant tracking system and your company job board. The template should also include a brief description of your company at the end of the description for branding and visibility.

Use proper formatting and include details.

Job descriptions should be written and formatted so that job seekers can easily read through each section and be able to self-qualify, rather than guessing at the requirements or the meanings. Bulleted formatting works well, making it easy for candidates to read.

Clearly identify “must-haves” and make sure to distinctly list them. For example, the requirement “Bachelor’s Degree preferred.” Would a candidate definitely be accepted by the client without a degree and, if so, what other educational requirements does that job seeker need have to have if they don’t have a bachelor’s degree?

Don’t forget to include detailed information about day-to-day responsibilities for the role and specify the desired years of experience in relevant areas.

Keywords and search engines.

A keyword is a word (or phrase) that a search engine user would use to find relevant content. Job descriptions without the right keywords and good detail can make it difficult for job seekers to find your jobs, particularly if they use Google. Even on the major job boards, omitting important specifics of the job or terminology common to the industry, may well cause your job to show up deep into the search results.

So, it’s important to incorporate relevant keywords throughout the body of the job description, and reference the job title in the job description. If your client’s job title is unusual – Chief People Officer, for example – include additional wording such as chief human resources officer in the job post.

With proper keywords added to the job postings, the more likely it is your jobs are going to appear near the top of the search results. Additionally, avoid abbreviations in your job titles, requirements and descriptions. Job seekers are more likely to type out the full word versus the abbreviation and candidates that aren’t qualified may be less likely to apply if they understand what the abbreviation stands for.

Yes, implementing these three basic tips for creating more effective job descriptions may take a little more time out of your day, but the benefits are well worth it for your clients, your candidates and your business.

This article is part of a series called How-Tos.
Get articles like this
in your inbox
Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting articles about talent acquisition emailed weekly!