So a position just opened up at your company, and it’s your job to fill it. You don’t just want a good candidate, you want the best candidate. You want someone that isn’t just passionate about their field, but a person with remarkable professionalism and standards.
The job posting you use to entice and attract your potential new hire should be no different. As someone who has assessed many different job postings over the years, I’ve seen it all – from the clear and concise to the repetitive and confusing, the tactful to the tacky, the best to the worst. I’m here to offer some thoughts on what to do if you want to catch that perfect job seeker’s eye, and more importantly, what not to do.
Don’t “Enhance” the Job Title
If your job posting is the first impression your potential candidate has of your company, it all starts with the job title. Unless you want them to continue scrolling past your post, it’s advisable to write down the job title and the job title only, exactly as it would read on an official job description at your company. This means no extra job details in parentheses and no enthusiastic advertisements – there is a place for that, and it’s not in the title. And please, please do not use all capital letters. While it may seem like these techniques will make the job more noticeable, all it really does is make the posting look messy and unprofessional, thus likely turning away the quality candidates you desire.
Example of an adequate title: Senior Software Developer
Example of an inadequate title: ENTRY-LEVEL ACCOUNTANT IN ATLANTA, GA – $20-$25/HOUR (GREAT OPPORTUNITY FOR RECENT GRADS!!!!)
Don’t Write a Novel in the Job Description
Keeping it short and sweet is the name of the game when it comes to writing a great job description for a posting. The description should be clear, concise, and organized into different sections that flow naturally. A quick summary followed by a clear list of responsibilities, followed by a practical list of qualifications, and so on. It’s best to use concise lists or short paragraphs for each section separated by titles, or else you risk creating a wall of text which will not look attractive to job seekers.
Another great way to keep descriptions short is by reducing “fluff”. The responsibilities section does not need to be exhaustive list of what the potential employee might do, but rather a realistic snapshot of what they can fully expect to do on a typical day. An additional common mistake is inserting irrelevant or frivolous qualifications. Particularly glaring examples I’ve seen of these include “must have an excellent sense of humor” and “must work hard, but play harder.” Not only does this make your posting unnecessarily long, but it also serves to alienate potential qualified candidates.
Don’t Use a Website That Requires Immediate Login
It is my firm belief that nothing makes a cursor move to a back button faster than a login screen – especially on a job application page. Whether you’re using a third party website or an internal one for your posting, make sure candidates are able to at least view the full posting and fill out applications without needing to immediately create an account and sign in from the get-go. If you do require candidates to make an account, it’s best to integrate account creation with the application process – it puts less pressure on the applicant and allows them to at least view the application which could impact their decision on whether or not they even want to apply. Asking for their information before they even have access to the application and full description is asking for too much of a commitment too soon.
Don’t Forget to Proofread
While it sounds obvious, we’re all human and everyone makes mistakes. Of all the job postings I see, I would wager a guess that about half of them have at least one error, some of them much more. Spelling and grammar mistakes, forgetting to add spaces, putting a bullet point mark where there shouldn’t be one (or leaving one out where there should be one), and misuse of punctuation marks are all common errors I see regularly. One simple mistake could be the difference between gaining and losing an extraordinary candidate. Spellcheck is your friend, as can be an extra pair of eyes.
Remember – it is just as much your job to impress potential candidates as it is their job to impress you. Therefore, it is vital to incorporate the same level of standards and professionalism into your job postings that you would expect from an employee at your organization.