4 Ways to Determine if You Need to Improve Your Job Postings ASAP

By Linda Brenner | February 07, 2022

The job posting is a gateway for nearly all hires. Whether candidates are actively applying because they are drawn to your brand, or because they searched Indeed and stumbled across your opening, or because a sourcer found and wooed them - it's almost always a checkpoint in the hiring process. While companies have been trying to improve their job ads for decades, the need has taken on urgency in the last year given the scramble for talent, particularly for candidates with skills in scarce supply.

When was the last time you checked your own job postings? Whether you’re a CHRO, recruiter, hiring manager or CFO . . . it’s time you did. Go to your careers site, choose a random job posting and evaluate these four elements:

1. Is this an ad? Or a nightmare?
Is the job posting a job “description” or a job “ad”? The former is usually a long document with lots of details, legalese and perhaps phrases like “this job requires sitting for long periods of time.” Meanwhile, a job “ad” is succinct, compelling and differentiating. Don’t use job descriptions for job ads; they are better used at the time of the offer to ensure the candidate has all the information they need to make an informed decision about accepting the position. Remember, a job posting is no more a legal document than a commercial for potato chips is - you don't see them including every manufacturing detail, ingredient or potential harm that could be caused by their use.

2. Is this a grocery shopping list? Or a compelling marketing pitch?
Does the job ad highlight only the 3-5 most important responsibilities of the job? Delete the laundry list that usually ends with “Other tasks as assigned by leadership.” Ugh. And don't forget to include the information that's most important to the candidate - where specifically is the job based? are there virtual or hybrid work options? is travel involved? Etc. Note how Google pushes remote work information to the very top, followed by qualifications, the employment value prop and then, key responsibilities of the role. Speaking of job qualifications . . .  

3. Are the qualifications clear and realistic?
Your job posting should include objective qualifications and differentiate between “required” and “preferred” skills. These are critical to ensure you cast the net widely enough – but highlight the skills and experiences that will be the true differentiators in selection decisions. It also makes your selection criteria crystal clear for candidates. So lose the litany of bullets that include “must work well with others, have integrity, multi-task, excel at listening and communicating” and instead include objective skills, experiences or knowledge. And also eliminate ranges (e.g., “3-5 years”) and stick with 3+ (since you’re not going to disqualify someone with 6 years unless you’re intent on age discrimination or ineffective hiring criteria). Netflix does a good job of this - and note that, in many cases, they don't list any 'years of experience' quals - only knowledge requirements.

4. Are you selling the full employment package? 
Are you including specific, compelling information about the benefits and perks of the job? Don’t wait until you’re writing an offer to let candidates know about great aspects of the employment value prop such as generous paid time off, the low cost of health insurance, retirement plan contributions, volunteer programs, special discounts, etc. Great candidates have lots of options and the sooner you communicate the value of the total package, the more likely you’ll be able to reel them in.

Another suggestion: have your analytics team compare the number of unique visitors to a select number of job ads versus the number who actually started vs. those who finished the Apply process. That alone will tell you a great deal about the effectivness of your job postings and even your apply process.

Now is the time to put your best foot forward with a marketing-based refresh of at your ads, starting with your most critical and/or difficult to fill roles. If necessary, hire a freelance writer to spice them up, ensure they reflect your overall brand and - ultimately - compel the reader to click the "apply" button. 

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