How to write a job post that job seekers find and apply to

Loxo Blog
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One of the questions our Loxo customers ask a lot is how to write job posts that attract top candidates.

Recruiters are increasingly needing to think like marketers in order to compete in a very noisy hiring space and since we see a lot of job ads created at Loxo— both good and bad ones — we thought we would share some job posting “best practices” with you.

But first, why are recruiters being forced to think like marketers? As a marketer who ventured into the hiring space, who now works for a tech company that empowers recruiters to reach their best potential, the ties are very clear.

The main reason for this shift in the recruiting space is the advancement of web technologies that give sophisticated recruiters the ability to not only post a job but market it to targeted job seekers.

“Recruitment marketing” has even become an industry buzzword with software companies trying to create tools to help recruiters tackle the new challenge.

Think back to pre-internet days. How did an employer advertise their job openings?

Loxo Blog
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That’s right. “HELP WANTED” ads filled the Classifieds section of a newspaper.

While this worked back in the 80’s, we are currently in a candidate-driven market where the skills gap is real and everyone is looking for top talent… on the internet.

The web has pushed a lot of industries forward and the recruiting industry is no exception. When job boards were first created, new recruiters would “post and pray” that a candidate would find and apply to their job.

Fortunately, for both the job seeker and recruiter, this tactic is no longer effective.

Recruiters need to think like marketers.

Recruiters need to have a basic understanding of product, price, promotion and place. Not only do they need to understand the details of the job (or product) they are filling, but they need to know how the job seekers in this field think and search for jobs.

Knowing how to promote a job opportunity to highly-skilled talent is now a must, not a nice-to-have skill.

Placement is also key. If you are using job boards, which boards are your candidates looking at? Are they even looking at job boards? This may surprise you.

As you develop an advertising strategy for your job posts, it is important to keep key factors in mind; key factors that digital marketers implement every day.

Below are a few actionable tips on creating better job ads for the modern job seeker — but don’t stop here. Continue to grow your job (and candidate) marketing skills. It will be imperative as you compete to influence top talent.

Job Posting Best Practices

Indeed, the world’s no. 1 job site, wrote a great blog about writing job posts for the job seeker.

Writing your job post so that the ideal candidate finds and applies to your job is no easy feat, but we have compiled some best practices for you here.

  1. Use keywords. Before you write a job ad, put yourself in the shoes of the job seeker you are trying to find and go search for jobs like the one you are trying to fill. What keywords did you use? What jobs came up? Did they look interesting? Why or why not? Those job postings are your competition so not only do your posts need to be more engaging than the competitors, they also need to be easier to find. Marketers call it SEO or search engine optimization when they include keywords to make sure their product or service is found. Job sites like Indeed are constantly improving their search algorithms so it is important to be using industry and title keywords that your job seekers use when they look for jobs. Don’t know how to get into your candidate’s head? Interview your best candidates and ask them what they would search for if they were to look for a job. Then use those keywords in your post.
  2. Write like a human talking to other humans. Formal job descriptions are, well, boring. A study in the Journal of Business and Psychology noted that writing optimized job descriptions could attract higher-quality applicants. While writing a bulleted list of qualifications is much easier than writing a well-thought-out post, it will not inspire a highly-skilled candidate to apply. Typically top candidates know they meet qualifications but are also seeking information about the company brand and culture. Make sure your post reflects your environment and helps the candidate envision his or her self meeting the team, sitting in your office and contributing to the greater overall mission of the company. See the link above for more great suggestions on writing great job ads.
  3. Optimize your ad for mobile. While you look for top candidates all over the world, we know they are in one place for sure, the mobile web. When you write your post, review and edit it from your mobile phone. The likelihood of a candidate reviewing a job opportunity, whether on a job board or via email, is high. I would go as far as to say this is inevitable. Review your job post for length, tone, brand and mobile readability before you post.
  4. Differentiate the job requirements from nice-to-have candidate qualities. We’ve read a ton of job ads that require skills that shouldn’t keep someone from a job. Hard skills should be mandatory, soft skills should be vetted in the interview process.
  5. Do not “repost and pray.” If nobody has applied to your job, don’t just repost the original job ad. In fact, if you do this, Indeed will simply not approve the reposted ad as this is considered spamming their job seekers. Improve your job ads by changing up the title, the introduction to the opportunity, the description of who you are looking for, or the general information about the company. If a job post does not resonate the first time, it will not speak to job seekers just because you reposted it.
  6. Make application instructions plain and simple. If there are several hoops to jump through in order to apply to a job, no candidate, especially top candidates will apply to that job. This doesn’t mean candidates aren’t invested, it means that there are several other opportunities out there that are easier to apply to. Don’t make a lengthy application keep you from meeting top candidates.

We could go on and on (and might share a second post on this later) about writing better job ads. The modern job seeker is savvy and if they are looking for opportunities on the internet, they are not just on job boards, they are seeing opportunities in their social news feeds and being referred by friends.

Don’t stop at posting an ad, share the job post on social channels like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc. If you are in a creative space, share your opportunities on Snap Chat. If you are in the legal space, look for bloggers who will link to your opportunity.

Posting and praying is no longer an option in the competitive hiring space. Everyone wants the best players on their team and you need to go the extra mile to inspire top candidates to look at your opportunity.

Loxo Blog
See more at loxo.co