How to Write Attractive Job Postings: 6 Practical Tips

Mar 24, 2016 - Joe Matar
An exciting new vacancy with unlimited growth opportunity has opened at your organization, so naturally you’re hoping to attract lots of high-quality candidates in a bid to find a superstar. So you craft what you consider to be an attractive and compelling job posting and wait for the high-caliber resumes to start rolling in. But all too often they don’t. The sad reality for a lot of recruiters’ job postings is that they attract a high amount of unqualified candidates in the first hour of going live, followed by a slow trickle of applications over the next few days, which may deliver a few relevant candidates...if you’re lucky. [clickToTweet tweet="Turn your ho-hum job posting into a candidate #hiring magnet with these 6 tips:" quote="Turn your ho-hum job posting into a candidate-hiring magnet with these 6 tips."] So how do you avoid this mediocre tradition and attract the right candidates? Turn your job posting into a non-stop magnet for highly suitable talent with these six tips on how to write a good job posting:

1. Don’t Skimp on the Detail

Vague details on job postings are a sure fire way to deter good candidates from applying to your vacancy. The best candidates have lots of options in the job market so they don’t just apply for every vacancy they stumble across. If they don’t see what they are looking for in your ad, they will simply move on to the next one. If you want to attract the best people, make sure that your job posting describes exactly what the role has to offer in terms of responsibilities, culture, progression, exposure, training, and reward. If you’re recruiting for a client or stakeholder, then make the time to meet with them and build a complete understanding of the role before you start writing your ad.

2. Specify Compensation

Another pet peeve for job seekers is a lack of salary information on job postings. Money is a huge factor in career decisions so if you’re using phrases like “competitive salary,” “market rates,” or “uncapped bonuses,” then you’re leaving candidates in the dark. Candidates who apply for your roles are looking to make a big commitment, so show them exactly what’s up for grabs in return by specifying pay rates along with any bonuses, commission and company benefits. A detailed and impressive compensation package is a great way to sway unsure job seekers to hit the “apply” button.

3. Clarify Your Expectations

An inbox full of unsuitable resumes is a recruiter’s worst nightmare, but if you don’t specify minimum candidate requirements for your roles, then that’s exactly what you’ll get. Once you’ve enticed the candidate with an exciting role description and an attractive package, you’ve earned the right to ask exactly what you want in return. A lot of recruiters “cast the net wide” with their job postings in an attempt to receive more applications, but that approach will only attract more of the wrong candidates. Be specific in what you ask from applicants but be sure to use positive language and tone in order to avoid sounding rude. For example; instead of: “Don’t apply unless you have at least a GPA of 3.2 or higher.” Try: “We are looking for a high-caliber graduate with a 3.2 GPA or higher” You will never be able to stop every unsuitable candidate from applying, but you can certainly reduce the amount greatly with this method.

4. Keyword Optimize Your Ad Text

The more views your ad gets from relevant candidates, the more suitable applications you will receive. In order to get more views, you need to appear in more searches.  To appear in more searches, you need to keyword optimize your text. So what does this mean? Essentially, it means that you need to include all of the phrases that your ideal candidates are searching for on the job boards to make sure you’re covering all bases. For example a Sales Manager might also search for “Head of Sales” or “Sales Team Leader.”  Do some research on LinkedIn, find out the most popular phrases being used for your vacancy, and try to work them all into your job posting.

5. Finish with a Strong Call-to-Action

A call-to-action (CTA) is a marketing term that refers to “an instruction to the audience to provoke an immediate response.” If you’re an internet shopper (and who isn’t these days), you probably see them all time in the form of buttons containing phrases like “Buy now and save 10%” or “Join us and start saving money today.” Your desired action for readers of your ad, is that they apply for your role, so sign off with a simple persuasive call-to-action such as, “Apply now to join this dynamic team at a very exciting time.” For passive candidates who aren’t currently looking, consider adding a secondary call-to-action that invites candidates to join your talent community or chat with your team. That way, you’re able to capture highly desirable candidates who otherwise would have clicked away, never to be heard from again. Recruiting is seldom a one-and-done game. By continually engaging qualified candidates, you’re starting every new search with a distinct advantage over the competition.

6. Promote Through Every Available Channel

Once you’ve posted your ad, it will naturally get a lot of exposure from candidates searching on that particular job site, which is great. But you can still get your ad in front of an even wider audience with just a little bit more work. As a recruiter, you will likely have two very useful promotional tools at your disposal already — social media accounts and a candidate email list. Promote your job postings regularly through posts on LinkedIn and Twitter (you can use a free social automation tool like Hootsuite to schedule updates) and email the job to your entire candidate email list as well as featuring it in any regular communications that you have with your candidate base. Be sure to add a referral bonus to these promotions — not everyone you reach will be an ideal candidate for the role, so it’s good to give those people an incentive to forward your vacancy to a friend or colleague.   [avatar user="afennell" size="thumbnail" align="left" /] Andrew Fennell is an experienced recruiter and director of leading resume writing service StandOut CV.   Power Shift Ebook