Why Most Job Board Postings Don’t Have a Prayer

Screen Shot 2015-05-06 at 3.28.22 PMRecently, I had an opportunity to do some consulting work for a nationally known healthcare enterprise that was struggling to find qualified applicants for a variety of allied health and nursing roles. The head of recruiting openly acknowledged that the organization relied heavily upon two fairly specific recruiting channels: The first channel, naturally, was the institution’s own website career portal. The second channel was, of course, job boards. Big job boards, little job boards, local job boards, regional job boards, and niche job boards; job boards of every size and description. Needless to say, the organization produced lots and lots of job board postings.

My colleague was totally flummoxed by the degree and extent to which the organization had become reliant on the “post and pray” methodology. Post a job, and pray, pray, pray that the right person responds. Let me say for the record that job board postings absolutely have their place within any organization’s recruitment matrix.

The overarching problem with job postings, of course, is that they embody an entirely static recruitment channel — in other words, you can’t control or force relevant candidate prospects to view or see your postings, nor can you control whether or not someone responds to your postings. As a result, job postings are the ultimate hit-or-miss proposition.

That’s why I’m such a big proponent of proactive recruiting techniques and approaches. If running a job board posting is an organization’s principal approach or “plan A,” then have a “plan B,” as well, in the event that job board postings don’t deliver either the number of applicants or quality of applicants desired.

Most organizations do a reasonably dreadful job of executing plan A in the first place. Job descriptions and job board postings are poorly conceived — they are boring, they are mundane — they aren’t especially descriptive, and most importantly, they don’t do anything to generate real interest or excitement.

In fact, some job descriptions and job board postings are so unstimulating that they appear to have been written by someone who would have preferred to watch water boil, or ice melt, or flowers wilt. Worse yet, they don’t compel a potentially talented applicant to take action and submit a resume or application for the position at hand.

Want to do a quick assessment on your firm’s job descriptions and job postings to see how they stack up?  Easy. Pull up a few descriptions or postings and scroll through them — then do the following:

  1. Identify the specific wording or phrasing that tells a candidate exactly why he or she should be excited about the position;
  2. Then, identify the wording or phrasing that characterizes the dynamic impact that he or she can make;
  3. Then, identify the wording or phrasing that makes clear how the role ties into the organization’s mission;
  4. Finally, try to identify the specific wording or phrasing that serves as a real call to action, and that compels a prospect to respond.

Were you able to find clear examples of these items? If so, you should pat yourself on the back and reward yourself by purchasing a new Apple Watch, because you are absolutely ahead of the game. With most job descriptions and postings that I’m asked to review, these items are completely MIA (missing in action).

If you’re going to invest any time in producing a job description or job board posting, why not attempt to produce something that stands the best chance of captivating a reader? Why not produce something that helps to set your organization apart? Why not create something that’s effective, versus something that doesn’t engage or resonate with prospective candidates?

Take the extra time to architect and build a thoughtful, replicable job description and job board posting methodology, one that gets prospects excited and differentiates your organization. It’s well worth the investment of time and energy. Well-written and engaging job descriptions and job board postings are far more likely to engender a much greater degree of response from prospective candidates, and more importantly from qualified candidates.

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Before and after:

a job description before I touched it up … click to open

here’s the “after” — click to open

Paul Siker

With over 25 years of talent acquisition experience, Paul Siker is the founder and CEO of Advanced Recruiting Trends, a recruitment training and talent acquisition consulting firm. He is also managing partner of The Artisan Group, an executive search and staff augmentation firm.