Fifty-seven seconds. That’s the time you have to inform and attract a job seeker with your job posting.
This is the first real interaction someone looking for a job has with your organization. How they react to your job posting is how they will perceive working for you.
First impressions count.
As a summary of your company’s internal job description, you want the job posting to do more than be that boring document with cryptic language. You want it to be engaging, compelling, informative, and attractive to job seekers.
You want it to pop and sizzle. You want it to cause third-degree burns to hands when being read on a mobile device. You want the skies to crack open and the heavens to shine and fireworks to boom and glitter to shoot out of cannons and be the greatest thing since bottomless root beer floats.
You’ll have to be compelling to a high degree to capture interest. Get it wrong and it’s adios, muchachos.
Every inch of your job posting should be remarkable. From that carefully crafted title to the laundry list of responsibilities. Make it burn.
I’m gonna walk you through how this is done so all you have to do is reread it a couple thousand times until it sinks in.
Number One: Reread Your Current Job Postings
Really think about this. Look at your open reqs right now. How long have they been open? Are they boring to read? Were they clear on the position you are offering? Have they been optimized for search engines? Side by side, how do they differ from your competition? Can I, at a glance, see what it might be like to work for your organization? Will that excite me or turn me away?
Most of these questions are related. A boring, standard job posting that reads like a thesis on the cumulative properties of lint will probably sit longer than you want.
They may also sit a while if they aren’t easily found in the first few results of a Google search.
Ask yourself these questions and be honest with your answers:
- Does the job title clearly and concisely describe the position?
- Are you using insider language someone outside of your organization would readily understand?
- Are you always branding your company to stand above your competition?
- Are you identifying the top selling points of the job in your description?
- Are the requirements exactly what is needed and not a wish list?
So many things can blow it for you when it comes to appealing to job seekers. It’s a candidate’s market out there. These folks are scanning your job postings and making quick decisions based on what they see at first glance.
Find the weak points in your posting and think about how you can make it better. Then, do it.
Two: Eye-Popping Job Titles: Be Specific, Not Cryptic
In our dealings with clients, we see tons of bizarre job titles. Usually it’s in the form of what we call “inside the park baseball.” Acronyms and abbreviations that are company specific.
Sure, everyone in your office knows what role an “RCS Tier 1” serves. But I have no clue what that means. Nor does the average job seeker. Even for someone in your industry. Don’t be lazy; spell it out: Revenue Cycle Specialist Tier 1.
If that open position is well known and an abbreviation is appropriate, you should still spell it out, i.e. “RN” should read “Registered Nurse – RN.”
It’s fine to have RN in the title, but from a search engine perspective you want to have the name spelled out so that you have the best chance of that job being found.
And leave out the PT/FT stuff. You’re not helping your case to put work types in the title.
Someone looking for full-time work may skip your posting if they read PT in the title. However, that same individual may consider you if they like the job description once they’ve clicked through and seen how amazing it is to work for you.
Three: Capture the Job Seeker’s Attention with an Incredible Intro
This is where the fun begins. Before you start, learn this phrase: Always be branding.
Burn it into your brain. That is your new mantra. These are the words you will live by forever on. Every morning when you wake up, say it out loud. Always be branding. Believe it. Live it. Always be branding.
Job postings should reflect the overall company personality. Don’t just reel off the key things about the position: what that position is, the overall responsibilities, some droll history of your company’s origin; be daring in your description.
Always be branding.
In your very first paragraph give a rundown of the job and what kind of environment to expect. Identify the top selling points of the job right away. Make it interesting. This is your pitch. This is where it counts. Sell me:
Avoid using impersonal terms like “the candidate.” Instead, use “you” as if you are speaking directly to the person.
Once you grab the attention of the job seeker with an interesting lead, you can slow things down a little and break out the less than exciting details. But getting them interested is key in the beginning.
Four: What The Job Is and Your Laundry List of Skills That Aren’t Really Needed
After you’ve dazzled the job seeker with your opening statement you want to describe what the job is the individual will actually be doing.
As our primary front-end developer, you’ll work with our amazing server-side developers to intelligently and creatively work design into any back-end services and wire with architectural boundaries. It helps if your talents include being able to successfully execute a UI across platforms (web and mobile).
We love that you have some server-side skills, but our priority is a detail-oriented individual with core Front-End Developer experience. Knowledge of mobile implementation is a huge plus.
You don’t have to get crazy detailed. Just put down what it is you are looking for in an inspiring way. Then hit them with requirements for the job.
This is usually where you start typing out your wish list of skills and, likewise, this is where you usually lose candidates because most don’t have that all-inclusive skillset.
If you want to include stuff you would like, do it at the end of what’s actually required for the job. Put those things in a separate list of “It would be incredible if you could also….”
These are bonus skills that you would love to have in a well-rounded candidate, not requirements.
Also, requirements is a good place for a bulleted list if you have a laundry list of skills that for some reason also absolutely, positively must include your wish list.
Bullets make it easy to skim and job seekers mostly skim. Which is why you only have about a minute to capture their interest, as stated in the opening of this article.
Five: When Talking About Your Organization, Refer to Your Mantra
What’s your mantra?
That’s right: Always be branding.
This is where the candidate will decide whether you are the right fit.
Be detailed but don’t drown the person in copy that can and should be found on your career site.
Things you may want to include in these details are:
- The age of your company
- The number of employees
- What kind of work you specialize in
- The types of clients you serve
- Any benefits you offer
Add anything else you can summarize to help build a complete picture of who you are as a company without going off the deep end.
We’re a small, 15-year-old company that does big work for big companies – including web, desktop, and mobile app development. We like to live on the leading edge of technology, and we have no problem with taking the time, effort, and money to leap off the cliff. We are always pushing. Always learning. We believe in continuous improvement and development cycles.
We dislike the repetitive. Boring. Stale. Blah. Same old, same old.
We like attractive. Dynamic. Compelling. Smart.
We offer an outstanding benefits package uncommon of companies our size, including employee-paid health, dental, and life insurance; two weeks PTO first year; and a 401(k) profit sharing plan. We’ll even pay for your relocation.
If you think we’re a good fit for you, hit that apply button now.
Finish that detail with a solid call to action, as in the case above with click apply now. Make whatever your Call-to-Action (CTA) is prominent and easily identifiable.
And Number Six: Optimize Everything So You Can Be Found in Search Engines
This is probably something you don’t know how to do, so I will give you some tips on how to fake it. Some of it will, however, rely on your IT department. The good news is, if you’ve followed the advice above, you’re half way done.
The effectiveness of search engines, like Google, to display your job ads is based on how it interprets the information you provide.
This is done through keywords and ideal placement of those keywords.
By adding things like the job title as described above, and relative content about the job in your description, you’re pretty much set up for search engines to properly identify your content and place you appropriately in their results.
The problem is you’re still competing with everyone else offering the same job title, and more often than not, you’re competing with job boards, like Indeed, who don’t advertise your jobs exclusively.
Your keywords should be related to the job title. In fact, you probably want to repeat the job title at least once in your job description. Everything else should be semantic copy, or terms relating to your main keyword.
Semantic copy will happen naturally in your job description, so no need to worry about how to do that.
What you want to avoid is using your main keyword too many times. Google is smart. They know when you are trying to play them. Keyword stuffing is the fastest way to bury your job posting deep in the search results.
Plus it makes for an awkward read. Don’t do it. Remember: Always be branding. In other words, be smart.
Once your copy is optimized it may be time to call in the IT team and have them dress up your URL structure.
A lot of times job postings will have extra letters or nonsensical code in the URL.
While this may include tracking codes, which is fine, you should also have at the very least your job title and location in there. Like:
And then whatever tracking code there may be to follow.
Structuring your URLs this way doesn’t impart any major SEO benefit other than helping Google know where to place you in the results.
Someone searching for a front-end developer gig in Richmond, VA, is more likely to see your result than if you were to omit the location.
I probably don’t need to say this, but just in case: your job posting should already state where your job is located somewhere within the copy.
So, After All This
The main point of this article is how to attract more candidates to your job postings. SEO is a minute part of that, but I felt it was necessary to mention it.
Above all, your content should compel the job seeker to hit apply and submit an application.
By captivating them at the outset and dazzling them with interesting content to the very last sentence of your job posting, you should see an incredible jump in the number of applicants to all future postings.
Now get out there and write something compelling to read. And remember…
Always be branding.