Episode 2: Engaging Job Seekers with Your Job Postings
So the big question is this: as the search for quality talent becomes more and more competitive, what can you do to make your job postings more engaging to job seekers? My name is Phil and you’re listening to Hire Education from RightJobNow.
Mark: Hey, welcome once again. It’s Mark and Phil. Phil, how are you today?
Phil: Hey mark, I’m well, thank you.
Mark: Outstanding. Today we are talking about why it’s critically important for you to write good job requisitions, good job posts.
And this is certainly a topic that has probably been covered ad nauseam over the last decade or more.
I know that we’ve written how many articles on it, Phil, what, 5, 6, something like that?
Phil: Oh, at least, yeah.
Mark: Yeah. So it’s critically important today because, let’s be honest, your ATS or your job overlay, your website, is a one place where people are gonna find everything they need to know about you as an organization and the jobs that you have available.
And so, of course, the Internet is the place where we all go to look for and apply for jobs and, you know, you want to attract talent.
And this is probably the primary piece of your content, written content, on your site that job seekers are gonna look at to determine whether or not you are the organization for them.
So it’s critical at this time in this environment especially to healthcare, with as competitive as it is, that your job descriptions are concise, that they’re interesting, and they’re easy to read.
Plus, you’ve gotta be found so…
Phil: Yeah, you’ve gotta be aware of your SEO, you know, especially with job postings when your recruiting from the organic traffic sector and you’re not able to use the google for jobs markup in your post, otherwise you’re dead in the water.
Mark: Yeah, I mean, if your post aren’t well written, if you don’t have clear titles, if you don’t have, you know, good keywords used in your titles and in the body copy of your posting your search results are going to be poor.
You’re gonna get bad placement on free boards like Indeed and Google and others, even if you get on Google-for-Jobs, which your modern ATSs can’t accommodate you for.
Phil: Yeah, keyword is still the king of the playground in search. You can’t avoid them and you’re shooting yourself in the foot if you’re skirting them by using abbreviations in your job titles.
You have to be clear with the search engines with what you hope to achieve with the results. You know, it’s the difference between getting jobs filled and having them sit there.
Mark: Yeah. So, Phil, there’s the job posting and the job description part of the requisition and the key is knowing the difference between the two and which one to lead with.
Mark: So your job description… it contains all the details and the responsibilities of this particular position. It’s typically, you know, that blasé resuscitation of the responsibilities of the job.
And, you know, oftentimes those details are things that are sometimes legally required that the organization places in that body copy. But that’s exactly what it is. That’s your middle part of your requisition is the description.
What you wanna lead with, the marketing piece of your job requisitions, is the posting. And that’s, you know, where you’re telling folks, you’re selling folks on this position… what it’s like to work in your organization and the job that’s offered.
You have to sell the job.
Like I said, your posting needs to contain both but you gotta lead with your story telling. You gotta lead with your sales pitch and you have got to make that incredibly interesting and engaging.
Grab their attention and give a more reason to apply within the first paragraph two or three sentences.
Phil: Yeah, you really only have like 30 seconds to grab the attention of the job seeker.
Mark: Yeah. So, our suggestion is the first thing you do… and it’s probably not something that you do all the time, but you really should… sit down, open up your ATS job portal, find jobs, and start reading the postings.
Ask yourself the question are or you wowed by what you’re reading?
That’s the very first thing. Take a look at your job postings from the position that the candidate is looking at your job postings.
And from there you gonna wanna do a quick analysis of your requisitions.
You know, one, you wanna make sure your job titles are clear and concise.
Two, are you are using jargon and insider language?
Three, are you branding your content to stand above your competitors?
Is your copy selling?
And are the requirements describing what you want/need for the job, are they a wish list or are they the absolute specific details of what you need? Because oftentimes these thing just run on for paragraphs and paragraphs and it’s like the history of Rome Part One.
The key is keeping those as brief as possible. Those are just, again, job title clear and concise, jargon… are you using jargon/insider language… are you branding your content… is your copy selling… and are you keeping your job requirements as brief as you possibly can…
Ok, so let’s kind of break these down as much as we can and give some details on this.
So, in healthcare you want to stick to traditional titles… known job names.
You don’t want to use acronyms for anything. If it’s a nurse, say nurse. If it’s a med/surg nurse, say Medical/Surgical nurse.
Just write it out.
If it’s a nurse practitioner, say nurse practitioner. Emergency Room, Pediatrics, and so forth. The same for Radiology or any of the other Allied Health professions.
And the reason you want to do this is you’re always thinking SEO.
Phil: Yes. The SEO part as really critical for organic search traffic to be able to successfully find and apply to your jobs. And the great thing is it doesn’t require any technical markup. You can simply spell out the job titles, like mark said.
But the important thing is for the most benefit you really want to skip those abbreviations. Don’t be lazy about it. Spell it out.
And if your posting platform allows for HTML markup you can plug job titles into the H2, H3 tags and maybe add some meta information.
But even without those tools you can still simply use semantic language to garner those SEO benefits. Using semantic language is simply using the words that relate to the job title, so if you’re in a hospital setting use words that are related to the hospital setting.
But don’t use abbreviations because the if you use something like O.R. for operating room, well, Google’s going to read that as the conjunction “or” and it’s not going to know how to place you in the search results.
Again, spell it out. Don’t be lazy.
And for God’s sake, don’t copy and paste the job information from a word document, because that leaves a ton of crappy word formatting in there that’s just going to junk up your posting and ruin your SEO.
Mark: Yeah, that’s a… that’s an absolute fact. You know, one of the big things that we’ve spent a long time doing, in terms of programmatically on our end, once we consume data for our overlays from the applicant tracking system, we got a lot of programming on that end that goes through and clears out all those leftover characters from copy and paste stuff, so that’s… that’s just… that’s all very critical to your success with your SEO.
Next item up you want to look at is you want to avoid using any jargon, buzzwords, or clichés.
Remember you your goal here is to be clear. Don’t use floor or department acronyms. No one knows where 3 West is or what goes on in 3 West unless they work in your organization.
You know, so, oftentimes what we think are industry acronyms… they’re relevant to you and your organization but they may not be relevant to someone, say for instance on the east coast. They might not be relevant to someone who works on the west coast that’s moving to the east coast.
So, again, and Phil mentioned this, don’t use abbreviations. You want the right people to apply. You want to eliminate any chance of confusion so the goal is to be clear and concise with your job titles and the information you’re putting in.
Again think SEO.
Phil: Yeah, the SEO is important here. Google uses that semantic language, you know, the relative terms in its algorithm, to place your content in its search results, so use common language that is relevant to the industry, to the position, to the job seeker looking at your req.
Don’t make it a mystery by using acronyms or insider language that only you or your organization’s familiar with.
Google won’t know what that is and your job posting will be stuffed pages deep.
To get in a good position in the results you have to use keywords that are relevant to the job and to the search period.
Mark: The next item that’s a big no-no is you don’t want to put work details in your job titles. You don’t want to put RN, full-time, part-time, and weekends.
Another big thing I see is people putting hours…shift hours and things like that. This is not the place for that kind of information. It’s not going to help you one bit with your job search engines.
It’s actually detrimental to the health of your job posting and really just degrades your chances of being found.
Just put in the job title. Remember, this stuff is using your keyword searches, so adding all that junk to job titles just kills any viability in terms of your keyword searches.
Phil: Yeah, another thing is the titles of your jobs are cut off after certain length in the search results so stuffing all the info into the title is pointless, because no one’s going to see it, for one, and your SEO suffers from what’s called keyword-stuffing.
So, you know, keep it limited to the job title and put all the other info in the body copy.
Mark: Absolutely. The next thing you really wanna do is you want to engage, capture, and sell the job seeker. You want to take that first paragraph and you want to sell me on why the job in this nursing unit, or Allied Health department, or non-clinical department, is the job that’s made for me. You wanna sell me on how great the department is, how solid the team of the department is, how great the leadership is. What’s the environment and the culture of this department and your organization?
You know, make me interested.
And remember always be branding. Always be branding. Make sure you’re trying to make me want to work with the people in this organization, in this department.
Sell me. And when you’re writing it out, don’t use impersonal terms like, you know, the perfect candidate or the job seeker. You know, use words in the copy like “you” if you want to speak directly to the person that’s looking at your post.
So once you’ve grabbed their attention you can start rolling out the job details… what they actually are, what’s expected of them.
Now, you’re still selling but you’re now doing it with a little more detail. From there you can get into the nitty gritty of those job descriptions. Remember, you want to focus on exactly what you need. Don’t ask for a master’s degree if that’s not what you really require.
Think about the details of these things long and hard before you’re putting them out there on the web. You know, you can certainly have some add-ons. You know, “It would be nice if you also have a master’s degree.”
Don’t make them “gotta haves” if they’re not. Just the requirements. And don’t write those out in a paragraph. Use nice concise bulleted lists. That does the trick. It makes it fast and easy to read.
And those are the things that are important to remember if you want candidates to actually read your requisitions before applying. You know, readability of your requisition is critical.
You don’t want people applying for something that they are not qualified for, so if you’re spelling it out clearly and, again, that’s, I mean, bullets are nice and easy. They’re short, fast, sweet, easy to consume.
After you’ve finished putting in the job details, the job description details, the last thing you want to do here is discuss some details and information about the department that the job is in, as well as your organization.
You know, for your department…how many beds? Or what type of technology is there? How many employees in the department? How many employees in the company? You know, what are the company, what are your organization specialties and range of services? Also the benefit you offer.
Of course, you could always refer to pages in your career site that dive into greater detail on some of these topics, but really it serves you well to give some organizational detail in the job req.
And finally, you want to finish with a call-to-action. You wanna get people to apply now. So remember, always the branding, always be selling your company, and selling the jobs.
Get them to do something other than click the close button on the browser.
Once you’ve written this brilliant copy for your job posting… your job description… you wanna go back through and you wanna ensure that you’ve optimized every bit of your content for search engines and job boards.
Look. Everyone has a nursing job, an Allied Health job, but you want to be the organization that’s taking advantage of all those things that cost you zero dollars to ensure your jobs in your organization flow to the top of searches.
One thing to be a cautious of is you don’t want to overuse keywords. You certainly want to repeat your job title keywords and in your job posts a few times, but you don’t wanna overdo it. Search engines are smart and they hate when you do that.
Phil: Yeah, as I mentioned before, doing that is called keyword-stuffing and Google will penalize you for using the same keyword too many times, so, you know, keep it semantically related with words that are similar or related. It’s not rocket science. Basic on-page Seo is not hard.
And one of the things you can do to improve your rankings is to take a look at the job posts at the top of the results. Whether they’re in Indeed, or on some other job board, or in Google-for-Jobs, those posts at the top are there because they have great SEO. They’re well written and they have good keyword placement and usage.
And what you can do is use their language. And then write it better. Make it yours. Make it stand out more then there’s. If that can’t get you above them in the results, it’ll at least get you closer to the top.
Mark: Absolutely. And I’ve not said this, but you wanna make sure that’s somewhere in your copy you actually mention where your job and your organization is. You want to be found.
If you don’t tell people where you are, they’re not gonna know. And sadly your applicant tracking system is not gonna help you out. They’e not good at helping people find out where you are, because the URL that they expose contains no relevant information about your organization, no job title information, no location information, no nothing that goes into the posting.
So it’s up to you unless you have an overlay like RightJobNow that includes relevant job info in the URL of your post.
Phil: Yeah, Google can’t really generally index ATS URLs because, for one, they’re closed off to the general public, which means they’re also closed off to the crawl bots that index web pages.
But also they’re historically garbled with technical characters that just make no sense to a crawl bot any way. So they can’t be indexed properly in the results.
What you want is a platform that can create custom reader-friendly URLs that allow a job seeker to see what the job title is and where it is.
When you that it’s also clear to the search engines where that job should be placed in the results or on any of the number of job boards out there.
Mark: Yeah, so. Don’t forget that you want to go back through and proofread your work for spelling, grammar errors, or any unintentional bias that you might have written into the posting.
Misspelled words and bad grammar are kind of sloppy. It also helps also to give somebody to help proofread for you. It never hurts to have another set of eyes reviewing your content. And specifically if you can find someone in the department that you’re writing the job post for, to give them an idea if they’re looking at it and say, “Hey, yeah, if I read this I’d want to apply for the job.”
Never hurts. And I would highly suggested to get somebody to do that for you.
You also want to make sure your content is mobile friendly. When I say that it’s, you know, small screens make tons of tiny scrolling content really frustrating to read.
- Good, clear, concise title.
- Sell the job.
- Branded in the first couple paragraphs.
- Keep your job descriptions, your details below that, keep them as concise as possible.
Use bullets if you can.
You want to keep your folks reading through. You don’t want them to drop-off. You don’t want people applying for something they don’t actually have the skillset for.
So you wanna keep your content clear and concise and you want to sell, sell, sell.
Look, it’s a very competitive environment out there today and if you want a successful recruitment effort and quality candidates then that needs to be reflected in the content of your requisitions.
You know, so, follow the simple rules and you’ll certainly have an advantage over your competitors.
And your requisitions will ensure that you get some great placement in search engines and job boards.
You’ve been listening to the Hire Education podcast from RightJobNow with your hosts Mark and Phil. Thank you for joining us. We hope you enjoyed today’s topic. Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast right now to hear more original content on recruiting and the issues facing talent acquisition today. For more on RightJobNow, visit our website at rightjobnow.com and be sure to take our demo for a test at demo.rightjobnow.com. Thank you and we’ll see you next time right here on Hire Education with RightJobNow.