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Employment Branding > Job Postings

7 Steps to Must-Read Job Postings

It may sound a little dramatic, but a well-crafted job posting can mean the difference between life and death finding mediocre candidates and finding extraordinary candidates.

Job postings that are easy-to-read, detailed and clear tend to generate better candidates, simply because candidates are more likely to read the posting in full (which, let’s face it, isn’t always the case) and recognize whether or not they’re truly qualified for the position.

Even those candidates who may not be able to apply for the position in question might find information about the company or the benefits you offer that compel them  to seek out other positions with your company.  What I’m getting at is…job postings are also a major employment branding opportunity.

The next time you write a job posting, use following tips to strengthen the quality of your job postings – and improve the flow of quality candidates.

  1. Remember That Key Words Are…Well, Key. The more keywords your job posting contains that are relevant to the position – and that job seekers might use to search for jobs – the easier it is for search engines to find it – and the higher it will appear in organic search results. Look at your job posting and consider where you can substitute key words that a job seeker might use to search for the position.  (Instead of saying, “The person in this position will be required to…” for example, say, “The Marketing Manager will be required to…”) Just don’t let the posting get so bogged down with key words that you lose the message – or all control of normal human language skills.
  2. Don’t Be Shy About Showing Off The Goods.  While not exactly the same thing as stage time on “America’s Got Talent,” a job posting does provide a platform for employers to show what makes them special – one they should take advantage of.  As you consider what information to include, consider this 2009 survey by CareerBuilder , which found that the most important attributes job seekers valued most in potential employers were: stability and longevity in the market; good career advancement opportunities; a good work culture; and the ability to offer flexible schedules.Also, when and wherever possible, include logos and/or slogans in the job posting, which can increase applications by 13 to 21 percent. Doing so adds credibility of being an established, professional company, and not a recruiter—as some job seekers are leery of working with a third party—or a questionable entity. It also helps job seekers remember you when looking for future job opportunities.
  3. Bring Up The Elephant In The Room. According to a 2008 CareerBuilder survey, 24 percent of job seekers said failure to include a salary range was a major source of aggravation, so if you want to hold job seekers’ attention, be sure to reference compensation information whenever possible—even if it is only a salary range.  At the very least, let the job seeker know that you understand pay is a vital piece of information by having a benefit statement such as: “Great pay—higher than industry average, commensurate upon experience, bonuses paid each quarter, opportunities for additional commissions.”
  4. Don’t Be Vague (It’s Almost As Annoying To Job Seekers As That Other Annoying Thing). The same 2008 survey found that unclear job titles in job postings were a major turnoff to applicants. While you want your job posting to stand out amid others, a job title like “ONE OF A KIND OPPORTUNITY!!!” or “Make lots of money!” is unlikely to generate much interest, as the smartest job seekers will recognize this as a marketing ploy.
  5. Mix It Up A Little. Wonder why applicants with fewer than five years’ experience keep applying when you’ve clearly stated that five years is the minimum amount of experience required? Well, maybe you’re not being as clear as you think…If you’ve crammed your entire job posting into one lengthy block of text, most applicants are probably skimming your job posting for relevant key words – at best. Break up the job posting up into categories (such as “qualifications” and “responsibilities of the role”), and utilize bullets (to list required skills, the roles of the job, and company benefits, for examples). The easier the job posting is to read, the more likely a candidate is to read the posting in full and recognize whether or not he or she is truly qualified for the position. 
  6. Proofread. Forgive me for putting what seems so obvious in here, but even the best writers slip up every once in a while. Given that this is your first point of contact with a potential job candidate, you want to make a good first impression.  Don’t rely on yourself to catch mistakes, either. Pass a copy of the job posting on to a colleague to check for errors that you might have missed.
  7. Double-Dip.  If applicable, associate your job posting with multiple industries to increase visibility. If you are a pharmaceutical company wanting to recruit a sales manager, link your posting to multiple industries, such as sales and marketing, healthcare and pharmaceutical.Many professions can be cross-posted, such as public relations, accounting, Web design and programmers, just to name a few. Doing so allows candidates to pull up your job posting in more searches. Just, again, make sure the industries you associate your job posting are relevant.

Any tips of your own you’d like to share?

Mary Lorenz

About Mary Lorenz

Mary is a copywriter for CareerBuilder, specializing in B2B marketing and corporate recruiting best practices and social media. In addition to creating copy for corporate advertising and marketing campaigns, she researches and writes about employee attraction, engagement and retention. Whenever possible, she makes references to pop culture. Sometimes, those references are even relevant. A New Orleans native, Mary now lives in Chicago, right down the street from the best sushi place in the city. It's awesome.
15 comments
Ann
Ann

thanks for this article, especially the discussion on posting salary or range. How much RANGE is appropriate? for example, for a mid-level manager, is $10-15K too much of a range?

Mary Lorenz
Mary Lorenz

Hi Ann, I'm glad you found the article helpful. Salary range is tricky, because it can vary based on things like industry, job location, etc.

Luckily, there are lots of free tools available online that let you quickly calculate salary and wage information. I'd suggest starting with cbsalary.com. Hope that helps!

Ann
Ann

thanks for this article, especially the discussion on posting salary or range. How much RANGE is appropriate? for example, for a mid-level manager, is $10-15K too much of a range?

Mary Lorenz
Mary Lorenz

Hi Ann, I'm glad you found the article helpful. Salary range is tricky, because it can vary based on things like industry, job location, etc.

Luckily, there are lots of free tools available online that let you quickly calculate salary and wage information. I'd suggest starting with cbsalary.com. Hope that helps!

HR Manager
HR Manager

I am not sure if this is another error but in the first paragraph which reads:

It may sound a little dramatic, but a well-crafted job posting can mean the difference between life and death finding mediocre candidates and finding extraordinary candidates.

"life and death" is crossed out.

I partially agree with most of these. As far as using a logo, I don't know if this is as much of a prestige factor which raises the response percentage as much as an applicant knows that advertisement is not at their current place of employment.

As far as applicants frustration with not having a salary range to jump off of, in some cases the salary ranges have decreased. Commensurate with Experience turns into a catchall phrase. Also, the employer may ask for salary range from the applicant.

Mary Lorenz
Mary Lorenz

Thanks for your thoughts! (And yes, the cross out was intentional - just a little silliness on my end)...Anyway, it's great to hear another person's perspective on this, and certainly, these are just guidelines that might not apply across the board. I'm a little confused about your thoughts on using the logo: Are you referring to applicants who apply to jobs at their current companies?
And I understand why employers are often hesitant to publicize salary (especially with salary ranges going down), but unfortunately, job seekers often want to know what they're in for before they take the time to apply, and so are more likely to apply to a job posting that DOES advertise salary (assuming it's fair) than one that doesn't. Certainly, however, when it comes to discussing salary, there are many ways to go, but some, applicants will respond to more than others.

HR Manager
HR Manager

I am not sure if this is another error but in the first paragraph which reads:

It may sound a little dramatic, but a well-crafted job posting can mean the difference between life and death finding mediocre candidates and finding extraordinary candidates.

"life and death" is crossed out.

I partially agree with most of these. As far as using a logo, I don't know if this is as much of a prestige factor which raises the response percentage as much as an applicant knows that advertisement is not at their current place of employment.

As far as applicants frustration with not having a salary range to jump off of, in some cases the salary ranges have decreased. Commensurate with Experience turns into a catchall phrase. Also, the employer may ask for salary range from the applicant.

Mary Lorenz
Mary Lorenz

Thanks for your thoughts! (And yes, the cross out was intentional - just a little silliness on my end)...Anyway, it's great to hear another person's perspective on this, and certainly, these are just guidelines that might not apply across the board. I'm a little confused about your thoughts on using the logo: Are you referring to applicants who apply to jobs at their current companies?
And I understand why employers are often hesitant to publicize salary (especially with salary ranges going down), but unfortunately, job seekers often want to know what they're in for before they take the time to apply, and so are more likely to apply to a job posting that DOES advertise salary (assuming it's fair) than one that doesn't. Certainly, however, when it comes to discussing salary, there are many ways to go, but some, applicants will respond to more than others.

Eileen Davis
Eileen Davis

Thank you for this article. It's great infomration as we are just beginning to formulate our job description to attract top sales performers who are motivated by unlimited earning potential. I will use many of your suggestions. Eileen

Eileen Davis
Eileen Davis

Thank you for this article. It's great infomration as we are just beginning to formulate our job description to attract top sales performers who are motivated by unlimited earning potential. I will use many of your suggestions. Eileen

Ed Bertolas
Ed Bertolas

The firm www.keyrecruit.com and the one above are my creation and in fact this is my 30th yr . in the life sci placement arena .I have posted exactly the way Mary states and have many times been applauded for it . I have 600 descriptions archived all plain simple to the point so you do not have to answer redundant questions just put as much as possible without letting the cat out so people do not have to waste time calling, emailing etc .
Gotta love the net !

Ed Bertolas

Ed Bertolas
Ed Bertolas

The firm www.keyrecruit.com and the one above are my creation and in fact this is my 30th yr . in the life sci placement arena .I have posted exactly the way Mary states and have many times been applauded for it . I have 600 descriptions archived all plain simple to the point so you do not have to answer redundant questions just put as much as possible without letting the cat out so people do not have to waste time calling, emailing etc .
Gotta love the net !

Ed Bertolas

Mary Lorenz
Mary Lorenz

Ha! You're right, Gretchen. (I should've predicted that would happen!) Thanks for proving my point! I've updated the post to reflect the change (and did another once over). Thanks again!

Gretchen
Gretchen

It is very interesting that #6 tells you to proofread, then states that you want to make a "good first impersonation." Whoops... Maybe someone should have proofread!

Gretchen
Gretchen

It is very interesting that #6 tells you to proofread, then states that you want to make a "good first impersonation." Whoops... Maybe someone should have proofread!

Trackbacks

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  2. [...] It’s not the job that’s the problem…It’s the posting. Perhaps the open position you’re advertising for has such an obscure title that candidates don’t think it even applies to them. Maybe there’s not enough information about what the position entails. Or there’s too much information that makes job seekers lose interest.  Or perhaps it’s simply miscategorized…Whatever the reason, job seekers might not be compelled enough by what they’re seeing simply from the job posting to apply to your company. For tips on how to better craft a more dynamic job posting, check out 7 Steps to Must-Read Job Postings. [...]

  3. [...] It’s not the job that’s the problem…It’s the posting. Perhaps the open position you’re advertising for has such an obscure title that candidates don’t think it even applies to them. Maybe there’s not enough information about what the position entails. Or there’s too much information that makes job seekers lose interest.  Or perhaps it’s simply miscategorized…Whatever the reason, job seekers might not be compelled enough by what they’re seeing simply from the job posting to apply to your company. For tips on how to better craft a more dynamic job posting, check out 7 Steps to Must-Read Job Postings. [...]

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