Writing a Job Posting to Attract the Best Candidates

How to Write a Job Posting to Attract the Best Candidates

You know what kind of job candidate you’re looking for. You also have a solid understanding of what the job entails. Finally, you’re well aware of the values at your business and its culture. Yet communicating this information by writing a job posting in order to attract the best candidates can be extremely difficult. In fact, many companies don’t even really try. They send out boilerplate lists of job qualifications that read almost exactly like the hundreds of other job listings.

Those old-school, formal list-style job postings will probably make the eyes of the best candidates glaze over. They will move on to a job listing that speaks to them and makes their eyes light up. A good posting will not only attract better candidates, but save you time weeding through those who don’t fit. So maybe you’re wondering how to get started.


Job Posting Don’ts

Let’s start with what doesn’t work in job postings. These are all things that will make your listing dull, and too much like too many other help-wanted ads.

Don’t open with “We are currently seeking…” or “X Company actively seeks…”
Don’t describe your company with a boiler plate list.
Don’t describe the job with a bland list of requirements.

Writing a compelling job posting tis similar to writing to reach customers or leads. Focus on the things about your company that will attract them, that will fulfill their needs. Put yourself in their shoes and show them how your business could be the perfect match for what they’re looking for. Then tell those great candidates about all of those things in vivid language that speaks directly to them.

Think about all the elements you want to communicate, then write it as though you’re talking to the best candidates out there. Focus on what your business’s core values are. Muse about the standout qualities of your company’s culture. Think about the key functions of the job.


Write in First/Second Person

When you use third person point of view, by saying things like “The preferred candidate will show a successful history of…”, you distance the reader. They won’t feel engaged or particularly attracted to your ad. Instead, address them directly. Write your job listing in second person, where you address the reader as “you.”

You want to reach the best candidates; you want to talk directly to them, tell them about this great opportunity and the awesome company they could join. Oh, and please don’t refer to the person who will eventually land the job as “the incumbent.” Snooze.


Tell Them Who You Are and Why They Should Apply

As hard as it may be to believe, not everyone has heard of you. And your business name might not make it immediately clear. Start with a sentence or two that says what kind of company you are, where you’re located, and a few interesting details. This is not the place for your full company history, but help people figure out quickly what they’re reading.

Give a few quick reasons a person would want to work for you, too. You might say you offer a fun, casual environment or the great growth potential. Let them know what’s it it for them.

You want to show them how they will benefit from this job and from being a part of your company. Glassdoor writes that Lou Adler, author of The Essential Guide for Hiring & Getting Hired said, “If the whole focus is on weeding out the unqualified, it prevents people from applying because they find the job boring. The ad should emphasize what is in it for the candidate.”


Say What You Mean

Go easy on the jargon. Even if someone works in the same industry as you, the heavy use of jargon might leave them unclear about what the job entails. Likewise, avoid broad terms that state the obvious. Saying that a Marketing Communications Coordinator handles daily marketing communications functions doesn’t really tell them much, does it? Include a few specific tasks or goals the person might be asked to achieve in the position.

If the job requires knowledge of certain software applications or other tools of the trade, list them. Spell out any other specific skills you require.


If you write your job listing like you’re talking to the candidates who will fit in best with your product, values and culture, you will be well on your way to attracting their attention and applications.


PHOTO: Pixabay / CC0 Public Domain

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