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Writing Effective Job Posts - Advice From My Favorite HR Experts

Posted by Samara Parker
May 20th, 2013

This past week, I found myself smack-dab in the middle of the most intense HR/social recruiting conference in the history of the world.

I’m calling it Parental HR SmackDown 2013 (#psmack2013)

Yup, my parents flew all the way out to Holland, stayed with us in our tiny loft apartment, and (very kindly) answered all of my questions about recruiting. They also ate a lot of cheese, walked the canals, and enjoyed Belgian beers.

.. but back to the recruiting.

Why would I choose to devote any of this precious family-time to talking shop? Well, you can only say so much about canals and cheese before you need to shake things up. And, even more importantly, my parents have over 60 years of HR experience combined. They are certified HR nerds.

When it comes to finding great candidates, coming up with effective interview questions, drafting contracts, and pretty much anything to do with HR, my parents know their stuff. Since covering all of these themes in a single blog post would be crazy, let’s focus on a topic that gets my parents pretty fired up.

Wait for it…..

Job posts!

Told you they were nerds.

So without further adieu: How to write a job post that will make your my parents proud!

Rule #1
Make a list

We’re going to start with the most important thing you can do, according to both of my parents: Write down what you picture your ideal candidate to be. Make a list of what qualities you are looking for, what your deal breakers are, and what level of education you want them to have.

“You would not believe how many times I’ve been brought in to consult, asked what skills and qualities I need to screen for, and been told by clients that they’ll know it when they see it”

Said my pops, obviously rather frustrated.

“You will not know it when you see it!”

Starting a hiring campaign before you know exactly what you are looking for wastes time. In order to write job posts that will attract the type of candidates you want to hire, you need to know who those candidates are.

Smack… Down!

Rule #2
Tailor your posts to your desired audience

Seeing as you already know what you are looking for in a candidate, now all you have to do is figure out what they want from you.

According to my mother, the best way cut down on resumes from the non-ideal candidates and to attract the ideal ones, is to highlight the right aspects of your company culture and of the position on offer.

For example, studies show that young professionals now rate flexible hours over salary in order of importance when it comes to accepting a position. So, if you offer flexible hours, make a point of saying that in your job post. If you are trying to hire more women, point to your awesome daycare program. If you’re looking to hire young hourly workers, talking retirement plans isn’t going to peak a lot of interest; Job perks (like staff meals) will.

Another thing to keep in mind is that if you have a specific management philosophy, strong company values, or cultivate a specific kind of company culture, make sure you address it in your job posts. Doing so will attract candidates that are the right fit for your company, which is hugely important when it comes to retention.

Rule #3
Include salient details, but don’t forget the basics

Daycare, flexible work hours, vacation plan, lifestyle perks, and other positive things you offer candidates should be included in your job posts, but so should the less exciting stuff.

Salary, location, hours, education requirements, a specific description of basic duties, if uniforms are required, and any other pertinent information should be disclosed.

Even if you aren’t offering the best wages out there, you should still include salary in your post. People are actually much more likely to respond to job posts that disclose salary, even if that salary isn’t the highest on offer.

Even more importantly, being upfront and clear about the basic requirements you need candidates to meet cuts down on time spent interviewing people who are not a good fit. Which means cutting down on how much you spend on hiring consultants… like my dad. He’s retired now, so it’s safe to print that!

Rule #4
Call them to action!

When posting jobs on Facebook, end with a strong call to action. This last rule is entirely my own. It’s a little more recruiting 2.0, but my parents vetted it, so I feel safe including it.

The best way to get Facebook users to do what you what them to do? Tell them to do it. If you want people (other than your parents) to engage with the content you post on Facebook, you need to include call to actions in your posts.

For example:

We’re looking for a talented graphic designer, who has hands-on experience in the field of app development, and enjoys a fast-paced and challenging work environment.

Does this sound like you? If so, apply now!

And there we have it. If you want to attract candidates, keep hiring costs down, and earn the respect of my parents, just follow those 4 simple rules.

Have any tips on writing more effective job posts? Tell us in the comments!

(See what I just did there?!)