7 Steps to a Better Job Posting (and Better Talent)

There are many factors competing against you when you use the Internet to hire…

In a sea of competing voices, you have to stand out. The job you need to fill is one of many options for the job hunters who might see your posted vacancy.

One of the troubles that organizations have in generating job descriptions is that the term is over used; “job descriptions” have a wide range of uses. Most companies try to accomplish it with one standard document.

However, when trying to attract the best employees, the in-house, unedited job description is your worst enemy. Every bit of investment you make to build an enjoyable (maybe even funny) piece of information will pay you back tenfold.

If you are the person in charge of generating the copy that will entice the right person to apply for a specific job, there are 7 things you need to get right:

1. Know Your Audience

People surf through hundreds of job ads at a time. They are trying to get a broad understanding before they dig in deep. Your advertising copy should be focused on immediately grabbing their attention and dragging them into a conversation with you. After a thousand or so repetitions of “We’re looking for a self-motivated team player with five years of Perl programming experience,” your audience will be delighted with: “Here’s how we work to make sure our programmers are challenged in ways they find meaningful…”

2. Use Plain English

Somewhere, HR folks got the idea that ‘positions’ had to be described in stiff language that mimics the lawyer. Since jargon varies from company to company, most job hunters will really appreciate any effort you make to rid the job ad of meaningless words. It doesn’t hurt to target your job ads to a 9th grade reading level. It should look like ten easy to understand words per sentence.

3. Words To Avoid

The following words and phrases do not tell your potential employee anything at all: passion, commitment, team player, increasing responsibility, dynamic interpersonal skills, ability to work independently, detail oriented and analytical skills. Try writing a description of a scenario that shows the desired attributes in action

4. Get Real About What You Want

Nothing turns job seekers away from an ad faster that a list of unachievable and ambiguous qualifications. You are probably not the only person in your town who wishes that they could hire a great manager for $10/hr. It’s not going to happen. Make sure that your desires are in line with what everyone else is asking and requiring. Make sure that there are at least some of the right kinds of people in your neighborhood.

5. Tell a Compelling Story

The vogue thing to do in job ads is to make a bulleted list of responsibilities, requirements and qualifications. It’s like reading a shopping list. Jobs are all about the problem that needs to be solved. Write a story that tells what that job is really about. What makes your job environment unique? What are the quirks in the job that a really good fit would love?

6. Research Key Words

As important as having clear and compelling content is, it’s not useful in a vacuum. Take a look at the jobs being offered for similar people in your neighborhood. Which ones come to the top of the list in search results? Make sure that your ad includes the names that everyone else is using to describe the job.

7. Write a Love Letter

This is the most critical piece of advice on the list. Write your job ad to someone. Most job descriptions read as if they were designed to be posted on a wall. Write yours to engage a single individual. Be intimate. Create desire.

Your job ad can simultaneously inspire and filter; it can draw the people you want and eliminate those you don’t. But, this requires a clear focus on the part of the writer… and recruiter!


For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Glassdoor!



John-SumserAbout the Author: John Sumser, a member of the Glassdoor Clearview Collection, is the founder and editor-in-chief of HRExaminer, a weekly online magazine about people and technology of HR. Widely respected as an independent analyst, he has been chronicling and critiquing the HR Technology industry for eighteen years. John has consulted with more than 100 HR vendors on strategy and positioning in the market. Prior to his involvement in the HR Technology industry, Sumser was a senior executive in Defense Technology. From large scale software development to naval architecture, he was a leader of tech development teams. His passion is the intersection of people and technology. Follow John on Twitter!



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