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5 Steps to Writing Effective Job Posts

Venessa Vasilakeris Apr 9, 2015 7:30:00 AM

Writing_effective_job_postsIn today’s competitive job market, strong job postings are a key element in finding the top talent that you need. The most desirable job seekers out there will not bother applying to a job posting that doesn’t speak to them and that can mean the difference between attracting a superstar as opposed to someone who is mediocre. A better ad can help you recruit better people! We've broken the process of writing effective job posts down into five simple steps.

Step 1: Know the Job!

A key component of getting the right person in the role lies in having a target to focus on when recruiting and to compare candidates against. Before you start to write your Job Posting, it’s important that you have a clear understanding of the desirable qualities of a successful candidate. Consider:

  • The key job responsibilities and the percentage of time spent on each
  • A list of key goals for the successful candidate in year one
  • How will performance be measured? (Standards and key indicators)
  • The key relationships that the successful candidate will be engaged in, plus the challenges that each may present. Include customers, direct reports, team members, immediate supervisor, etc.
  • The working environment: Pressures? Pace? Autonomy? Support?
  • The attributes needed to succeed (being driven, analytical, social, self-motivated, etc.)
  • The potentially attractive and negative aspects of the job.
  • Opportunities for growth and advancement.

Now that you have reviewed the job, you not only have a set of standards by which you’ll be able to evaluate applicants, but you’re well on your way to clearly articulating the job in your posting in order to attract the top candidates that you need! Remember, if you can’t convey that you have a strong understanding of what the job entails in your job posting then you will not be receiving well informed applicants for the posting. Understanding the above points is key in attracting the right candidates.

Step 2: Know What You Are Looking For

The steps listed above helped you to define the role that you’re filling, but they’ll also assist in determining what the key requirements of the role are. What are you looking for? When it comes to qualifications, clearly list all that are non-negotiable - this likely will include education, language requirements and level of experience. You don’t want under-qualified candidates applying to the position, so be clear on these items. Beware though! You don’t want a long laundry list of requirements that may dissuade potentially strong candidates from applying. Consider adding a section to your job posting highlighting qualifications that would be regarded as a “bonus”. For example: “Bonus points will be given to candidates who have experience selling to clients in the financial sector”.

Step 3: Keep it Straight Forward and Simple

You want your job posting to be easy to find and easy to understand. Make sure that all language you use is consistent and be sure to include relevant key words in your posting. While you might think that it sets your organization apart and speaks to your unique culture to advertise an opening for a “Director of First Impressions”.... if you really want this position to reach a wide audience in order to attract the right candidates, you might just want to admit that you’re looking for a receptionist. It is important to convey what sets this job and your organization apart, but it is equally important to make sure that the right audience is going to be able to find your job posting!

You also want to make your posting concise - you don’t want to lose your audience by including too much information. There is an important balance here though, because you also want to make sure that you’re sharing enough information.

You’ll want to start with an overview of the job, using industry and job relevant keywords in doing so. Next, use bullet points to communicate the non-negotiable must have qualifications. Feel free to list a few nice to haves, but be careful to not screen out potentially qualified candidates. Finally, see step 4 below because the final section you should include is all about enticing your candidate to apply.

Step 4: Why Should I Apply?

It’s important to remember that you’re creating an advertisement - and advertisements are intended to sell something! In this case, you’re selling the position and your organization. What makes your organization, and this position in particular, more attractive than similar positions within other organizations? In this section you want to be honest, but you also want to make it clear why you love working for your company and why your applicants would love it too!

Salary plays an important role in job satisfaction, but it’s far from the only contributor. Do you have flexible working hours? Onsite amenities such as daycare or a concierge? Does the position being advertised have an exciting growth path for the right person? This is where you want to tell applicants all about these things!

A good practice when developing a “sales pitch” for a particular role is to have a look at similar postings. You want to make sure that your posting gives as much, and hopefully more, reason for the candidate to click on the apply button at the bottom of the page.

Step 5: Where do I Sign Up?

The final step is to ask your qualified candidates to apply. This might seem obvious, but it is often not done correctly and is sometimes overlooked altogether. You should make this easy by providing clear instruction on how to apply, but not too easy. These days it is far too easy for candidates to apply to many jobs simply by pushing a button. You’re advertising for a fantastic position within a fantastic company, so be demanding and ask your applicants to show you why they would be a fantastic fit! Ask for a paragraph explaining why they feel that they are strongly suited for the role, or for a cover letter.

Summary

Better job postings lead to better applicants, so take the time to make sure that every job posting that you advertise is a strong one! You need to communicate three key things:

  • What are the demands and duties of the job?
  • What are the minimum qualifications of the job?
  • What makes this job within your organization more attractive than similar jobs with other organizations?

This is your sales pitch so be clear and concise and use the right language in order to attract the right audience! Finally make sure that you wrap up with a direct call to action!

What tips do you have for writing a better job posting?

 

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Topics: Recruitment, Job Search

Venessa Vasilakeris

Written by Venessa Vasilakeris

Venessa Vasilakeris is a Senior Solutions Expert working with McQuaig’s Solutions and Implementation team. She works with her clients to create customized recruiting, retention and development strategies using the McQuaig System and helps companies make smarter and more effective hiring decisions, measurably reduce turnover and increase staff productivity.