DaXtra Blog

Tips for writing a good job posting to get more qualified candidates

Posted September 23rd, 2021

Recently there have been several trending articles about recruitment automation and how it falls short of the promises made to find qualified candidates. However, looking at the issue more closely, the fault has little to do with the automation tools used and more to do with the way job descriptions and posts are written. Don’t let qualified candidates fall through the cracks! Work a few of these tips into your job posting writing practices and be prepared for more success in finding the candidates you’re looking for.

To start, let’s distinguish job postings from job descriptions. Many times they are used interchangeably, but they aren’t necessarily the same. A job description is typically used internally whereas a job posting is the advertised job opening. Both are important, but in this case, we’re discussing the advertised posting. You’re paying for it, so it should be the best it can be.

Writing a good job posting is as important for recruiting as writing a good resume is for job seekers. Finding the best candidates to fill open positions begins with the perfect job posting, so take the time to get it right.

Job title

Job titles are important but keep in mind, a title in one company may mean something very different in another, so be sure to include a good list of requirements, skills and certifications desired alongside a clear job title.

Don’t fall into the trap of trendy or creative job titles like Wizard, Ninja, Master or Guru. Though they may set the tone of the company culture, they could be confusing to the job seeker. If you must go down this road, be sure the job title is more functional than fun. It should be a strategic descriptor of the position.

Position or Job level

Refrain from insider company jargon that an outsider may be unfamiliar with. Provide more meaningful information on things like job level. Instead of using terms like “Compliance Manager IV,” use “Mid-level Compliance Manager.” Sometimes these job levels map over to pay bands. Every company has different structure levels so leave that title for internal purposes only and don’t include it on the advertised job description if possible. You may want to be even more clear and define that Mid-level equals 3-5 years of experience with experience managing a team or whatever job level structuring your company has in place.

Skills

Skills-based hiring is where it’s at! This is a rising trend brought about by the pandemic and is likely to stay. And it makes sense. If you source candidates based on skill and skill level you end up with candidates who are qualified to do the work 

Not only will skills-based hiring raise the number of eligible candidates in your talent pools, it has been shown to improve diversity in workforces and pipelines.

Be sure to include a solid, thorough list of required and desired credentials, skills and certifications needed for the job in your posting.

Hint: some sourcing software like DaXtra Search Nexus, actually has semantic features like term expansion and term suggestion. These are very helpful tools not only in conducting searches but in arriving at suggested skill terms that you may not have thought to include on a job posting.

Education

Although we want to be sure the candidate has what it takes to do the job, consider carefully the decision to include a required degree. Is it absolutely essential for whoever takes the position to have a degree? Often minorities are left out of the equation when it comes to a degree requirement. If they have the skills required for the job, is a degree really necessary?

Sometimes although a degree isn’t necessary, the hiring manager is looking for someone who is trained to complete and follow through thoroughly, from start to finish, on a task, assignment or request. They count on a degree to provide this basic structure. If you’re of that mindset, perhaps instead you should state something like “degree preferred but not necessarily required.” This opens up the door for candidates who may be hesitant to apply if they don’t have a degree or have a different degree than what the post requires.

Not requiring a degree and instead, hiring based on skill is a growing movement lead by industry leaders. This is the basic principle behind skills-based hiring and it can make a considerable difference in the numbers of candidates that qualify for the position you’re hiring for. 

Things to think about

One substantial thing to keep in mind when writing the job posting is the candidate. Think about the keywords candidates may be using when they search. These should be included in the description in order to be found! A no-brainer, but worth mentioning as we sometimes tend to forget the candidate on the other end who is searching for jobs. What are they looking for? What will catch their eye and entice them to apply for the job or send in their resume?

According to Indeed, job postings should include four main parts:

  • a targeted job title
  • an overview of the company
  • a bulleted list of key responsibilities
  • a list of required skills and qualifications

Think about adding a salary, or a salary range. Did you know that 90% of candidates think this is the most important detail on a job posting? Yet, 38% said that it was the detail most likely to be missing! This is one astounding bit of information uncovered in our Market Research Report: The Candidate Experience – Perception Versus Reality.

Indeed also says, “Job postings between 700 and 2,000 characters get up to 30% more applications.” So keep it within this range for better results.

Conclusion

A long, confusing job posting that uses industry jargon and has unnecessary requirements is going to get far less traffic than one that is simple, concise and relates to the candidates who are looking for jobs.

If you find yourself challenged with poor results from your job postings, it may be time to review the way you are writing them. No one wants to extend their time-to-fill and delay, extend or even nix a hire. A quick refresh and who knows? That posting that’s been a dud may turn around and give you some purple squirrels and even unicorns.

By m. Christine Watson, Marketing Director, DaXtra Technologies

Tags: DaXtra Blog, recruitment software, recruiter tips