Are you creating effective job postings? If you find yourself looking through dozens of unqualified candidates, the problem might be with the way you’re advertising your openings. To understand how to write a listing that will attract the candidates you want, we have to get back to the basics. Just what is a job posting? And what kind of information do you need to include?
What a Job Posting Should NOT Be
A job posting should not be a copied and pasted job description. Most job descriptions are hundreds of words long. Your potential candidates are going to be scrolling through to find the relevant information. If a requirement is buried deep in your job listing, they might not see it. On the other hand, you can’t just snatch a few brief, vague lines from the job summary and expect to get high-quality candidates. Your professional time is limited, but if you don’t “pay now” by writing a great job posting, you’ll pay later when you have to read and respond to those unqualified applicants.
Components of a Job Posting
What is a job posting? Every good job posting contains certain elements. Here’s what you have to include.
This may be one of the trickier parts of creating your job posting. It’s the first thing the job seeker sees, and often what entices him or her to click on your ad. You need to accurately describe the job, using words that someone might type into the job board search engine. Don’t title your job ad, “Chief Happiness Officer,” “Fashion Evangelist,” or one of these other ridiculous job titles. If you’re looking for a marketing manager, the words “marketing manager” should appear at least somewhere in your job title. Your job title should also indicate what level you are looking for — senior, associate, entry level, lead, etc.
But you want to stand out from the thousands of other “marketing manager” postings out there. After all, what is a job posting but an advertisement? Add something special to your job title. What makes this job stand out from its competitors? Think about your USP – unique selling point – and include that in your job title. Here are some examples:
- Entry Level Marketing Manager for a Fortune 100 Company
- Top-Paid Senior Marketing Manager for Century-Old Company
- Entry Level Marketing Manager Position with Advancement Opportunities
- Start-Up Needs a Lead Marketing Manager Ready to Take the Reins
- Want to Work in the Heart of Boston? We Need a Head Marketing Manager!
Each of these job titles incorporates at least one important selling feature, whether it’s prestige, salary, security, career path, autonomy, or location.
This is not intended to be an exhaustive list of duties your prospective employee is expected to perform. That’s what the job description is for. Instead, choose three to five of the most important and most challenging types of tasks your employee will undertake. Make broad strokes rather than emphasizing specific duties. For example, a receptionist is expected to “act as a professional, friendly representative who serves as the first contact point for our customers, greeting everyone in a friendly manner and ensuring each client is taken care of.” That’s more descriptive (and a much more interesting job!) than “answer the phone and make appointments.”
Remember, you’re selling yourself here. Skip the boring responsibilities and focus on what makes this job special. Think about a real estate advertisement. It doesn’t mention things like “toilet included” or “every room has a floor” or “the front door has a window.” It focuses on the things that will really impress! Everyone knows a receptionist is going to answer the phone and make appointments. When you have limited space and your candidates have a limited attention span, you’ve got to really wow them.
If you have requirements, state them explicitly and without any doubt. Say something like, “In order to be considered for this position, you must meet the following minimum qualifications.” That will be more likely to discourage an unqualified candidate than language like “the ideal candidate will have experience with…” In the latter case, an applicant might think, “Well, I’m not the ideal candidate, but I’m still a good one!”
Clearly delineate your needs versus your desires. Separate the must haves from the nice-to-haves. You need to be very obvious about what will and won’t work for you. Otherwise, you’re going to waste the candidate’s time as well as your own.
Add any extra details that make your job stand apart from others. Today’s marketplace is global; don’t neglect to mention your location! Be specific here. Everyone wants a shorter commute! Here are some additional points you may want to mention:
- PTO policy
- Work-from-home policy
- Corporate culture
- Educational opportunities
- Interesting projects your company has been involved with
- Other benefits and perks
Make Your Elevator Pitch
So what is a job posting, in short? It’s your elevator pitch. It’s a quick, to-the-point summary of the best things about your company and this position. It describes why your company is a great place to work and who will be successful in the job. You don’t have to include every last detail. Focus on primary responsibilities and the must-have credentials and experience. Use bullet points to avoid long, intimidating blocks of text. Make sure your job posting is concise, interesting, and informative.
Before you post your job, ask someone else to take a look at it. A fresh pair of eyes can help you identify weaknesses you may not have noticed. What would you think if you were looking at this position? Would it inspire you to apply, or would you simply pass it by?