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Are Your Job Postings Really Working?

Posted in Articles

strategic HR, inc.
This is a guest post by Bookboon author Robin Throckmorton.

Are your ads catching the attention of the right candidates?  Do you wish more candidates would actually view your job postings?

A job posting is not a job description! To create an effective job posting, you need to put on your marketing hat and create a “job ad” instead.  Unfortunately, most HR folks are not marketers; so creating a job ad for an open position can be a challenge.

You should think of your job opportunity as your product and the individuals that will read the job ad as your potential customers. Your goal is to attract your “customers” interest, communicate the key points quickly and clearly, and leave the “customer” with a call to action. The only way you will accomplish this is to go beyond the basics of the job and grab potential candidates’ attention right away so they want to work for you.


You need a simple but attractive job ad, which can be accomplished by following these steps:


1. Sell the candidate

Why is your company a great place to work and how will applying for this job better the candidate’s career?


2. Have a recognizable Job Title

The job title should be clear enough that the reader has a great idea of what the job is and knows to read on if it is a fit. As hard as it is, avoid a fun quirky title: outside candidates may not understand what it really is.


3. Find a Way to grab the Jobseeker’s Attention

A job advertisement needs a ‘hook’, for example: “Are you a seasoned and creative design generator? Do you love to use design to breathe life into an idea and enjoy presenting your concepts to others? You may just be our next Senior Designer!” You need your ad and company to be differentiated from all of the job advertisements.


4. Easy to Read

Make the copy easy and simple to read. A job ad that is too long (definitely not more than a page) will lose the jobseeker’s attention. When you start approaching a full page, it’s time to edit. And be sure to take advantage of bullets, numbers, and short bite-sized paragraphs.


5. Make it personal

Speak directly to the candidate, as though you are talking to them. For example, “As the Sales Manager, YOU will be responsible for soliciting sales from current clientele, as well as generating new sales leads.” This helps the candidate to envision him/herself in the position helping the candidate relate personally to the opportunity at hand.


6. What’s in it for me?

What are the perks that will appeal to your candidates? Competitive pay, excellent benefits, flexible work arrangements? Get creative, but be realistic, too. Do not overpromise.


7. Use Keywords

This is if you are going to post the job online – who wouldn’t, candidates should be able to find your posting. Be sure your copy uses appropriate key words that will enable a job seeker to easily search and find your ad. If you can’t use all of them in the copy, add a section at the bottom of your ad titled “Keywords” and list them. For example, your job title may be “Client Manager” but someone else may be searching for an “Account Manager” that you don’t want to miss.


8. How to apply

Make the application process as simple as possible. Provide either a link to your website career page or an email address to submit a resume. Consider whether candidates for this role will even need a resume, or if completing an application online or in person is more appropriate.


9. Respond!

With technology today you have no excuse not to send candidates a confirmation email that you received their resume. Show you care enough to keep that star candidate engaged in YOUR company.


10. Follow up with the candidate

Job seekers state that one of their biggest frustrations is never hearing back about their status. Whether it’s contacting a candidate to schedule further conversations, or letting them know they have not been selected, follow-up and communication is essential throughout the process.

Try it! I dare you! And, measure your results to see if the changes helped. Capture how many clicks and applications you are typically getting now. Then, compare how many you get after you make these changes! If you don’t have time or skill to do, ask your marketing department, hire a copywriter, or engage someone that can!

About the author:
Cathleen Snyder, SPHR, CIR and Robin Throckmorton, MA, SPHR, are with strategic HR, inc. If you have any questions or would like to share your comments or success stories with either of these consultants, contact them at or

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