If you're after top talent, you better make sure you're bringing your top game to attract that ideal candidate.
But let's face it - you also have fires to put out, deadlines to juggle, all the while being understaffed (why you're here in the first place, right?).
You might not be able to compete with Shopify's office space to attract those gifted applicants, but don't worry, you still have all the tools you need to get the best.
Start with the basics - job posts.
Most companies still get these wrong. But not you (not after you're done reading this, that is).
We've compiled a 7-step-guide that will make candidates actually click Apply.
Let The Job Description Do The Talking
A job description is the first thing (maybe second after salary) that people read when finding a job posting. If you’re wondering why your job postings aren’t performing well, this is probably why.
A vague job description implies that the role isn’t well defined, which can be off putting to a candidate. It can also imply that the employer is lazy, which isn’t a good quality for a boss.
If you’re relying on being able to explain the role to a candidate in person, you’re likely missing out on the best talent. No one wants to walk into an interview unprepared, especially not because they don’t know what they’re signing up for.
A truthful and informative job description will not only help fill your pipeline, but it will help filter out the unqualified and uninterested candidates.
What’s Wrong With The Current Job Description Landscape?
Unfortunately, the majority of job descriptions online right now are simply bad. They’re dry and uninteresting (read: boring), they set expectations that don’t mirror the role, and the list of tedious demands far outweighs the list of benefits.
The Good, The Better
Human beings are a highly visual species, so we’ve compiled some examples for you.
Ideally, a job description should make a candidate want to work for you.
Companies like Uber, Glass Door, and Red Bull all do a great job at doing this, but they allocate huge budgets to talent recruitment. If you’re looking to do the same, you can hire a development company like OnGig to build these out for you.
While these look great, they’re expensive and time-consuming, which isn’t what we’re here to showcase.
This is the quick-and-dirty method. It’s efficient, and it’s effective. The result? Good candidates at a fraction of the cost and effort.
How To Write A Great Job Description
Step 1 - Know Your Ideal Candidate
As with all writing, it is key to know your audience. For job postings, your audience is the job seeker, specifically, someone that you want to have working for you.
What is their level of experience? What motivates them?
Take a page from what top marketing companies have to say about "Buyer Personas," and adopt it to recruiting by creating your own "Candidate Personas."
Once you understand the persona, appeal to it.
Step 2 - Optimize Your Job Listing for SEO
When it comes to SEO (Search Engine Optimization), it’s all about working backwards.
Take advantage of search syntax (or "booleans"). Start by researching your keywords on sites line Indeed.ca. Skim through the results for “ruby on rails.” Next, search “ruby on rails” AND “MySQL.” Finally, combine those two keywords with “front-end.”
You’re competing for visibility here, and you now know your competition.
When it comes to listing the job, incorporate your SEO findings both on job boards and on your own website to rank higher.
SEO can be tricky, but once you’ve got it down, you’ll be able to promote a job to a large yet niche group of candidates.
Use software like KeywordTool to find high-ranking keywords relevant to your job listing. Use words that your ideal candidate might search for. Integrate these and some of their synonyms into your job post to maximize your visibility on search engines without being at risk of keyword stuffing.
One thing to remember: avoid gimmicky buzzwords like guru, rockstar, wizard, superstar, etc. No one searches for “Rockstar Digital Marketer Job Opening” unless they want to work for an energy drink company.
The best thing you can do for your SEO rankings is use your job title and job location in your URL, your meta title (50-60 characters), and your meta description (150-160 characters).
Step 3 - Make Them Want The Job
Looking for a job is stressful, reading job descriptions shouldn’t be. Enthusiasm and passion is one of the best things to witness in an interview, but they need to want the job first.
Here’s an exercise. You’re going to say the next line out loud, and fill in the blank: “My company is awesome because ________________________”
That was easy, right? Do that a few times over and you should have the basic scope.
It’s also incredibly insightful to talk to your actual employees. Find out what they appreciate most about working at your company. What makes them look forward to coming in everyday? What do they brag to their friends about?
Work what makes your company great into your job listing. After all, you are selling yourself.
Step 4 - Be Clear About Where They Come In
Hiring is about solving business problems. When you’re hiring, it’s because there’s a gap in your business that needs to be worked on.
While you don’t have to flaunt issues like having a UX that your users hate, it’s important to be clear about why you’re hiring for the role. This will help candidates know if they’re the right fit.
Does your company have a great history? That may be great on paper, but candidates are more interested in where you’re headed than where you’ve been. What are your company’s future goals and how can they help you achieve them?
Step 5 - Tell It How It Is
The passive voice is a silent killer. Keep readers interested by using the active voice. No one wants to read a 30 point dry bullet list of required knowledge and duties.
Instead, try being more conversational: “You will build enterprise infrastructure in C++.”
Be as detailed as possible with salary ranges, benefits, vacation options, etc. If it’s some kind of compensation, communicate it.
Step 6 - What Happens Next?
A strong Call To Action (CTA) is important to push candidates towards applying for the job. If they’re scavenging the job listing for where to apply, you’ve already lost them.
Keep it short, explicit, and personal.
Ex: “We want to hear from you! Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us what interests you about the role. Please attach your resume or provide your LinkedIn profile. We’ll get back to you within a week, even if you aren’t the right fit for us. Thank you!”
This provides all necessary information, while still being friendly and concise.
Using a specific person’s email often plays out better than a generic one. It implies that there’s a person on the other side of the interaction and not a data filter. This will likely enhance the effort a candidate puts into an application.
Step 7 - Share The News
The biggest mistake with job postings is letting them get buried under the constant stream of newer ones.
Share your job posting on social media platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn to reach a much larger audience. The more shares your job post gets, the higher your search engine ranking. The same thing applies to sharing your job postings on popular job markets such as Indeed and Monster.
It’s also a great idea to have a careers section on your company website. Not only does this tell people you’re hiring, but it gives you yet another backlink. Search Engines love backlinks.
If you’re feeling bold, try reaching out directly to people in your network who are aligned with the qualifications you’re looking for. Be respectful and friendly, but also clear about asking for a favour or referral.