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Write Job Posts that Attract Candidates

Posted by leifparker
November 18th, 2013

Job posts.

The most important content for any recruiting strategy. These short (please make them short!) descriptive write-ups must pack a whole lot of punch! They must describe your company, the job you’re hiring for, and what you need in a candidate. And, on top of all of that, they must be enticing.

The way you construct your job posts will largely dictate the type of candidates that apply for your jobs. As we discussed last week, the candidate you want is not always the candidate you need. Let’s take a quick minute to recap.

Unless you are hiring for an extremely lofty, head-honcho kind of position, you are not looking for Superman. Superman is a lone-gun, top dog, who you probably can’t afford anyway. He’s also pretty strange (see: love of brightly colored tights and fear of green rocks). Nope, you want yourself a Clark Kent. Smart, capable, not too loud, supports other members of the team… Office-appropriate attire!

So how do you write a job post that will attract the candidate you really need?

Step 1

Assess your Team: JLA or Fantastic Four?

What your team is like, what your team is missing, the personality types that fit well with your other employees, and the type of candidates that are compatible with your team leader will dictate which candidate is the best fit for your open position.

Yes, of course you need to know the basics, like how much education or experience the job requires, but knowing your current employees and how the operate as a team is also an important part of figuring out who your job posts should appeal to.

Step 2

Understand: The Hierarchy of (Recruiting) Needs

If your job post demands a candidate with all of the awesome powers possessed by Storm, but all you really need is a candidate with a Gambit level of skill, you won’t attract either. Storm knows the position is beneath her (come on, she can summon tornados!), and Gambit is convinced he doesn’t have a chance (he twirls a fancy staff and throws playing cards).

Figure out what skills you need your candidate to possess, what skills would be a very useful bonus, and what skills are cool-sounding but are actually superfluous.

Step 3

Communicate: Openly and Honestly

Express what you need clearly to potential candidates in your job post.

Sounds simple? I think so too, but it isn’t. Most job posts do not delineate between requirements and desires. Often they will list off a ton of traits, skills, experience, and education qualifications, but not communicate the kind of working environment or the management style the candidate should expect. A lot of them don’t even really explain what the job will be like day to day.

“We need motivated candidates, with Food Safe certification, some experience in customer service, and a high-school education to work the cash register, serve pastries, and make espresso drinks at our Italian bakery.

You must like working in a busy environment, and be comfortable making decisions on your own.

You’ll work with a fun team of students, for a manager who prefers their staff to be self-directed, but is always there to help.

Bonus points if you know how to make a killer latte, love Italian food, and have worked at a cafe before.”

Sure, this description is a little fluffy, but expressing what skills you need from a candidate, as separate from what skills you want, will get you more applications to choose from. It also let’s candidates know exactly where they stand, which is very appealing because no one wants to waste their time applying for a job they have no chance of getting, or would never accept. It’s for this reason that I also recommend including some sort of salary range as well.

Oh, and please include your location, website, and any other pertinent details. It’s shocking how many job posts neglect those basics!

Step 4

Attract: Like Metal to Magneto

Make your posts magnetic; draw in candidates in with positivity. Visit the job post section of Craigslist and you will see some terrifying things, my recruiting friends. Employers starting their posts off by saying things like, “no whiners”, “you will be expected to do exactly what you are told at all times”, and “this is a job, not a social club”. Would you want to work for an employer whose first impression was that of a jaded, and demanding meany-pants?

So you had to let go of your last employee due to their inability to follow directions — that’s no reason to write a reactionary job post. As the internet once told me “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”

Positive, upbeat posts will attract waaaay more candidates than those filled with negativity, and not only that, but negative job posts will only attract applications from desperate candidates. Those candidates are often desperate because they keep getting fired due to their lack of listening skills… Just sayin’!

For an example of truly awesome, positivity-filled hiring, I’d like to share with you this fine piece of Twitter recruiting gold, crafted by the ever-witty Kris Dunn:

“Twitter Position description:  @Cimation seeks first ever HR Leader. If you’re a deep, talented HR pro who’s frustrated with the shackles and wants a clean whiteboard, I’ve got the gig.”

Now that sounds like a job I would apply for!

Not only will writing more enticing job posts get you more and better applications, but when you use social to recruit, every job posting you share becomes a part of your employer brand. Make them awesome!

Happy Recruiting.