What Makes a Successful Job Posting?
By Suvarna Sheth, Hcareers.com
Having trouble recruiting top talent for your open positions? It may be likely that your online job posting is reflecting the quality and quantity of your applicant pool. Read on for tips on how to craft creative job requisitions and other best practices to post jobs so that you truly attract the most qualified candidates.
Jeff Perry, a recruitment advertising account executive in Minneapolis, Minnesota, says the type of job posting employers list usually matches the quality of candidates an employer brings to the table.
Generally, he says the more specific skills, qualifications and experience the position requires, the fewer candidates apply for positions and vice versa.
“Postings that do not require as much skill or training tend to draw large responses and it seems, even unqualified candidates are more likely to respond, perhaps thinking ‘I can do this job,’ even though they have no experience having done so,” Perry says.
To put it another way, Perry says it seems people self-select out of applying for jobs that have more demanding requirements but do not do so for jobs with less demanding, specific ones. He says this could then affect the quality of candidates who apply or at least the ratio of qualified to unqualified respondents.
So in the mix of available applicants, what should an employer’s objective be while putting together a posting: to get more applicants from which to weed out the best, or to get fewer but more specialized candidates?
Perry says employers have to play an artful game of push-pull. “They need to think about the top talent that will be viewing their ad and make sure they’ve provided a compelling case for the job, the role and the company,” he says. “At the same time, in a subtle way, it’s in their interest to discourage unqualified candidates from applying, thus saving themselves the time and effort of processing the job seeker.”
Perry says it’s not only a matter of discouraging unqualified applicants from applying to your position, but qualified ones who might not fit your company’s culture. In fact, fitting into corporate culture is so important that he believes employers should talk with their current employees in the role (or a similar one) and ask them what they like about the job and company.
“This will give them most of what they need to go on to frame their culture and thus position and sell those traits to prospective employees,” Perry says. “It may turn out that they get such a strong quote from a current employee, they can use it directly in the advertisement.”
Also, he advises not to be afraid to talk about the little things. He says he has one employer who talks about the fact they have monthly barbecues and regularly give away event tickets. These minor details are often subtle clues that can help a candidate determine if they are a good fit for the job.
As for including salary ranges in job postings, Perry says there are mixed opinions out there and sees pluses and negatives to each route. “That’s a call I leave to employers,” he says.
So, if you break down a job posting anatomically, what are the most important parts of a job requisition? It turns out all are equally important. The job description and the requirements help to qualify your candidate pool.
However, because employers typically compete for talent, Perry says they need to focus on the job title and headline statement to separate themselves from their competition.
“Since so few really put much time or effort into the headline statement, it’s an easy way to get more views and applicants than similar ads with boring, unimaginative titles,” Perry says.
People in human resources usually know job titles often go along with an employee’s self-esteem. In fact, a good job title is so powerful that it can help you reduce turnover and improve pride within your organization.
The bottom line is that applicants care about their job titles. If they have several offers lined up, they are even likely to choose the better title over more pay. For example, recent graduates may feel a more prestigious title that looks good on their resume is worth accepting, especially when they have the desire to gradually move up within a company.
Historically, recruiters have discovered they receive a better response from well-chosen job titles. Assistant, specialist or sales associate are examples of boring titles, and are jobs that are likely to be skimmed over. Consider strong and accurate titles that reflect the importance of the position. They will attract more attention from applicants.
Perry says well-written job postings follow a simple formula: an introduction to the company and job; the role of the position and job duties; requirements needed and desired; benefits – what you offer top talent; and an invitation to qualified candidates to apply.
To recruit the crème de la crème, Perry says your ads and company Web site, especially the section that features career opportunities, need to be professional and informative at all times.
“Recruiting is marketing,” Perry says, “Pay attention to what other employers do but also to marketing efforts in general.”
He says recruitment advertisers can learn a lot from the marketing world and should continually look for new ideas and approaches and not be afraid to adopt them and try something new.
According to Perry, the biggest mistake employers generally make when composing job requisitions is that they skip the first part of the formula: the introduction.
“It’s as if you were on a date and immediately started listing the qualifications you require,” he says. “That wouldn’t be good.” Perry says to give an introduction, describe the nature of your organization and what you get up every day to do.
He says successful candidates want to know why you are excited and what your purpose is so they can buy into it or at least see the possibility of getting on board with it. A good introduction should be a general overview of the job position. This is effectively a sales-pitch and will give applicants a reason for applying. It’s important not to overdo it though, since the rest of a job description will break down the details. This is where you summarize the nature and overall purpose of the job.
Along with a captivating introduction, Perry says employers need to answer the question of the number-one reason an applicant would want to work with them.
“That gets people thinking,” he said.
On the bright side, employers are getting a lot of responses and finding well-qualified candidates because there are so many in the market right now. It’s just a matter of attracting them and narrowing the list to the most qualified.