Attract more applicants: 7-step guide to stellar job postings

Attract More Applicants: 7-step guide to stellar job postings

You might have a streamlined interview process, an eager hiring team and even a perfect onboarding experience for your new hires.

But none of that matters if you aren’t nailing the very first step in the entire hiring process: Job postings!

Getting it right

When it comes down to it, your job postings are the most-seen aspect of your company. They’re the thing all candidates and would-be candidates interact with.

One quick glance at a job posting sparks the candidate’s first impression of the company — and how the post is composed ultimately determines if the person will apply or keep scrolling.

Some companies may make job postings a little too fun and creative, which can cause confusion about what the job actually is. Others may oversimplify them, leaving job seekers wanting more.

But according to employer brand consultant James Ellis, job postings don’t have to be a jumbled mix of bulleted duties and requirements.

Ellis recently shared his foolproof blueprint for writing great job postings at the ERE Recruiting Conference in San Diego. Here are the steps he laid out:

1. Job title

Ellis warns employers away from being creative here. It’s best to be simple and direct, so anyone reading the title could understand what the job is. (This means avoiding words like “guru” and “hero.”)

This also isn’t the place to try and grab job seekers’ attention. Ellis says to avoid phrases like “excellent pay!” and “great opportunity!” in the title. All that should be here is the clearest, simplest job title you can manage.

2. Headline

Here’s the place you should grab someone’s attention, Ellis says. It’s also your first chance to express your brand.

Ellis recommends a question to keep the candidate reading. Try something like, “Ready to work in a place that actually cares about its employees?” or “Interested in working for a company that builds amazing things?”

3. First paragraph – company info

Here’s your chance to paint a picture of your company in the applicant’s mind. The first paragraph is a good place to speak about your culture and values, as well as the meaning of the work you do.

Ellis says ideally this should be 3-4 sentences. The good news? Once you have this little intro perfected, you can use it in all your future job postings.

4. Second paragraph – team

Now you should delve into what the team or department does. Why does it exist? How does it help the company?

This should also be 3-4 sentences, and you can reuse this part for every job posting from this department.

5. Third paragraph – the role

Here’s where you begin to get into what the job is, Ellis says. In 3-5 sentences, explain what role the job plays in the department, and ultimately, the company.

You don’t want to get into too much detail here, Ellis says. Leave that for bullet points later in the post.

6. Duties and responsibilities

Ellis suggests renaming this to “How you’ll spend your time.” This should be a bulleted list of tasks the candidate would work on day to day.

7. Requirements or qualifications

Again, Ellis recommends calling this section, “We’re excited about you if … ” This section will be your second set of bullets. Be aware any legal requirements would go here.

Ellis says only the most important requirements should be listed here. If you have too many, you could be missing out on great candidates who believe they aren’t qualified enough.

He also recommends bullets in this section follow this formula:

“You will need (experience or skill) to (task or job) for (purpose or outcome). For example: “You will need to know Excel to build pivot tables that will identify new leads.”

Rachel Mucha
Rachel writes about Human Resource management and has been a member of the HRMorning staff since 2017. She is a graduate of Ithaca College. Email: rmucha@hrmorning.com