Learn how to create compelling, optimized job postings that attract qualified candidates. This comprehensive guide covers job posting best practices from crafting engaging descriptions to promotion strategies.
Posting a job opening online is one of the most effective and efficient ways to source qualified candidates for your roles. But simply posting a generic job description and hoping for the best is unlikely to attract the top talent you seek.
Crafting an engaging, informative job posting tailored to your target applicants is crucial for recruitment success. Follow this comprehensive guide on the key strategies and best practices for developing well-optimized job postings that get your open positions filled with great hires.
Part 1: The Critical Importance of Job Postings in Your Recruitment Strategy
In today’s digital age, your company’s job postings are the cornerstones of your recruiting efforts. Not only do they attract direct applicants, but they also build your employer brand and grow awareness of exciting new openings.
Benefits of Posting Open Positions Online
There are numerous reasons it is vital to create and optimize online job postings:
- Reach a Broad Candidate Pool - Well-written postings shared widely on niche and general job boards give you access to massive candidate audiences. Both active and passive job seekers across various industries and experience levels see your opening.
- Compete for Top Talent - By listing a job publicly, you ensure the most qualified candidates are considering your opportunity alongside other companies hiring for similar roles. Strong postings showcase why your role and organization are more appealing.
- Expand Your Employer Brand - The job post offers a window into your company and team. Craft postings that reflect your culture, values and employee experience to attract those who align with your brand as an employer.
- Automate Initial Candidate Screening - A posting with clear requirements and qualifications filters applicants with irrelevant backgrounds from applying. The candidates it draws in will already have base qualifications and interest in your opportunity.
- Generate Candidate-Driven Interest - Unlike outreach from a recruiter, candidates discovering and proactively applying to your opening have intrinsically high levels of interest and motivation. This leads to higher response rates.
- Promote Diversity and Inclusion - Posting openings widely gives you access to qualified applicants of all backgrounds, supporting greater diversity in your organization.
In summary, compelling and strategic job postings allow your company to attract, engage and hire great fits more efficiently through candidate-driven interest.
Elements of a Powerful Job Posting
What exactly makes a job posting truly effective for grabbing attention and drawing in quality applicants? The key is striking the optimal balance between an engaging overview and clear requirements relevant to the position.
Let’s explore the core elements that should be included in every strong job posting:
The Job Title
Choosing the right job title is an art and a science. You want wording that will catch interest from the ideal applicants while accurately reflecting the actual role.
Some tips for selecting a compelling title:
- Use widely recognized industry terms that active job seekers are searching for. Generic titles like “project manager” are best.
- Avoid inflated, cutesy or confusing titles that could attract the wrong candidates or cause misunderstanding.
- If using a unique title, balance it with commonly searched keywords in the description for visibility.
- Emphasize seniority for more advanced roles to attract high-level applicants.
A strong title establishes relevance for your ideal candidates immediately while setting the right expectations.
Briefly describing your company, department and team provides helpful context upfront. Share interesting points on:
- Your organization’s purpose, mission and values
- Products or services offered
- Company size and years in business
- Team culture and environment
This allows candidates to assess fit with your brand. Highlight differentiators and strengths that make your firm stand out.
Core Position Description
The bulk of your posting should outline what the job actually entails day-to-day. Avoid just listing required skills for now. Provide an overview of:
- Core responsibilities and duties
- Daily and weekly activities
- Scope and impact of the role
Use concise bullet points to make this section easily scannable for readers. Arrange responsibilities from most to least important.
Note any educational background, years and type of professional experience, certifications, technical knowledge, or other absolute requirements the right candidate must have to be considered for the role.
Only outline true deal-breakers here – anything else can be nice-to-have qualifications. Starting with clear requirements filters candidates effectively to minimize unqualified applicants.
Describe the competencies, skills and knowledge that would enable a candidate to thrive in the role. These may range from hard skills like software proficiency to soft skills like communication abilities.
Avoid unrealistic qualifications and prioritize those that provide the most value. This helps set expectations for success. Some tips:
- List qualifications in distinct sections for hard skills, soft skills, education, experience level, etc.
- Notate whether qualifications are required or preferred only
- Quantify experience needed in years/months when possible
Salary and Benefits
While salary may be listed as “competitive” or “commensurate with experience”, highlighting outstanding benefits convinces great candidates to apply. Note things like:
- Health, dental and vision insurance coverage
- Retirement contributions and matches
- Bonus opportunities and profit sharing
- Education stipends for continuous learning
- Flexible work-from-home and unlimited vacation policies
- Any other unique and appealing benefits
Standout perks signal an attractive overall compensation package.
The Call to Action
Wrap up your job posting with a clear call to action for interested applicants. Provide instructions on how to apply, like:
- Email address to send resume and cover letter
- Online application form link
- List of required application documents/materials
Let qualified candidates know you want to hear from them. A strong call to action facilitates follow through.
Part 2: Optimizing Your Job Posting for Maximum Visibility
Crafting an engaging job posting with all the right sections is only step one. Equally important is optimizing the posting for visibility by relevant candidate audiences actively looking for jobs.
SEO and keywords are crucial for discovery and traffic. Follow these best practices to maximize your post’s reach:
Conduct Keyword Research
Start by researching the specific terms and phrases your target candidates are actually searching when job hunting online. Useful sources for keyword insights include:
- Google Keyword Planner – reveals monthly search volumes for terms
- Job board search bars – shows the keywords candidates use on major sites
- Google autocomplete – displays what search terms are commonly queried
- Keyword research tools like SEMrush, Ahrefs and Moz
Identify a wide range of relevant keywords around job titles, skills, certifications, specialties, qualifications, and more. Include higher volume general terms as well as precise long-tail phrases.
Naturally Incorporate Keywords
With your focused list of job search keywords, work these terms seamlessly into your posting in a natural way. Avoid awkwardly repeating or forcing keywords. Relevant sections to optimize include:
- Job title and subheadings
- Opening overview and company description
- Core responsibilities and requirements
- Qualifications and skills
- Benefits and compensation
Balance optimizing for keywords with engaging writing that flows well. Stuffing keywords arbitrarily will not improve rankings.
Optimize the Job Title and Meta Description
The job title itself and meta description for your post have heavy influence on search visibility.
Ensure your core keyword terms appear prominently in the:
- Job title – featured at the very top
- Meta description – summary seen in search results
This immediately signals relevance to searchers.
Promote and Share the Posting
To extend reach beyond candidates proactively searching keywords, you need a robust promotion strategy:
Post on Major Job Boards
Publish your job on high-traffic general sites like Indeed, LinkedIn, Monster, ZipRecruiter, and Glassdoor to tap into their huge candidate bases searching postings.
Leverage Social Media
Share your listing on your company and team’s LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and other social accounts. Encourage employees to share with their own networks. Post in relevant niche Facebook groups and forums.
Network on Niche Job Sites
Beyond massive general job boards, utilize niche sites like Dice, AngelList and Remote OK that focus on specific industries, functions, experience levels or candidate demographics.
Notify Relevant Groups and Communities
Connect with professional groups, university alumni associations, student hubs, industry conferences, diversity networks, and underrepresented communities to circulate your posting.
The further you can spread awareness of your job, the more qualified applicants you will attract. Cast a wide net through social media, niche communities, email groups and more.
Part 3: Continually Assess and Refine Based on Performance
Posting a job opening is only the beginning. To attract the best talent over time you need to continually evaluate performance and refine your posting.
Key Metrics to Track
To identify opportunities for improvement, start by tracking:
- Applications per day/week
- Applicant quality - experience levels, skill sets, current employers
- Applicant source - job boards, social media, referral sites driving applications
- Time to hire and cost per hire for each posting
Look at trends over the first few weeks of your post being live. This data reveals how well your job listing is resonating.
Survey Candidates for Feedback
Gather direct input from candidates by asking for feedback via survey or questionnaire:
- How they found your job posting
- What compelled them to apply
- What questions they have about the role/company
- How to improve the job listing
This qualitative data further pinpoints strengths to leverage and weaknesses to address in your posting.
Make Data-Driven Refinements
With metrics and feedback gathered, continually refine your job posting to boost performance.
Potential improvements include:
- Adjusting wording in the description, requirements or benefits
- Adding more specifics on day-to-day responsibilities
- Modifying qualifications to better fit the role
- Improving SEO with new keywords and optimized sections
- Sharing the post on additional niche job boards or forums
By regularly optimizing your posting based on real data, you maximize relevance and response from your target jobseekers. Effective job postings must evolve over time as applicants and hiring needs change. Set aside time every month or quarter to revisit and update your listings.
Part 4: Key Takeaways and Next Steps
Developing truly compelling and optimized job postings is crucial for recruiting success.
- Posting roles online taps into broad candidate pools and builds your employer brand, making hiring faster and more efficient.
- Balance an engaging overview with clear requirements to attract and filter suitable applicants.
- Optimize content for SEO visibility by incorporating targeted keywords throughout.
- Promote your listing extensively on niche sites, social media, groups and communities.
- Continually refine your posting based on performance metrics and candidate feedback.
Now that you have a comprehensive blueprint for creating high-performing job postings:
- Audit your existing job listings against the advice provided. Look for areas of improvement.
- Develop a list of relevant keywords to incorporate for better SEO based on job seeker search behavior.
- Create a schedule for routinely assessing and updating your postings every 1-3 months.