- Job descriptions that market company culture tend to be more successful than those listing skill requirements.
- Include specific performance expectations in your job posting.
- The best candidates prefer conciseness and transparency over flashiness and buzzwords.
For anyone who's ever struggled to find a job, it may be surprising to learn that recruiters often struggle to find candidates. For small businesses trying to grow their ranks, however, this is readily apparent.
Finding the right recruiting software and place to advertise is one thing. But when it comes to recruitment strategy, most small businesses simply don't take the right approach, according to Raj Sheth, co-founder of applicant tracking software Recruiterbox.
Job seekers "are not often sold on a job description," said Sheth. "Just the same way you would market your product to potential customers, you have to communicate your company culture to prospective candidates."
Part of this mindset is remembering that employment is a mutually beneficial transaction. Thus, job seekers are going to want to know what's in it for them before they go through the time-consuming application and interview process. It's the recruiter's job to come up with a compelling pitch.
Luckily, many of the same strategies as those used in product marketing can be applied to recruitment marketing. For example, where a strong brand image can boost sales, effective employer branding can bring in more job applications. Unless your business is a household name, however, you've got one chance to get this across – and that's in the job posting itself.
"The most effective job postings indicate a sense of urgency," said Ruth Leslie, director of recruiting at Nugreen Staffing, which specializes in the cannabis industry. Leslie suggested that recruiters specify a starting date.
Not only is this helpful for the applicant, it may bring in more applications for the recruiter. One common problem for job seekers is that companies forget to take down the job listings they've already filled, turning many applications into a frustrating waste of time. Some may be more encouraged to apply, however, if they see a starting date indicating that the position is still open.
Others, meanwhile, simply need a deadline. Without any sense of urgency, applications can easily be postponed and forgotten.
Imply growth opportunities.
For employers seeking candidates to become committed, long-term employees, a job description should be convincing in the role's long-term appeal.
"Many candidates want to know what the culture of the company is like and how future-oriented the position is," said Alexandra Bohigian, who handles recruiting for Enola Labs Software.
"Job listings that can speak to the growth of someone in this role, illustrate a career path within the company, and speak to the culture of working at your company will see greater responses and higher quality candidates," Bohigian said.
Candidates attracted to such opportunities are more likely to stick around when hired.
Eliminate the obvious.
If a vacancy requires top talent, the employer should not have to define tasks and duties of the role. If a candidate has the experience the company wants, they'll know this stuff already.
"One of the most common mistakes that organizations make is to provide a laundry list of day-to-day duties and responsibilities, as well as experience requirements," said Martyn Bassett, CEO and founder of recruitment firm Martyn Bassett Associates. "The thinking here is often that you'll prevent unqualified individuals from applying – unfortunately, every job posting will draw unqualified candidates, and sifting through those applications is inevitable."
Bassett suggested gearing the language in the job description toward experienced talent.
"Craft the ad to attract your ideal candidate, not to weed out unqualified or just OK candidates," Bassett said.
Focus on outcome.
Similarly, recruiters may try to filter out unqualified candidates by listing prerequisites, for example, "two-plus years in a client-facing role," or "familiarity with Adobe Photoshop."
Unless your job requires specification certification, however, these can also be arbitrary barriers that prevent otherwise promising candidates from applying. Instead, recruiters can attract high-potential candidates by giving expectations for future output.
"The best job postings are the ones that give what the desired outcome and expectations are for the role," said Adam Posner, founder of NHP Talent Group, a staffing agency that specializes in digital marketing. "We are looking for someone to grow sales by at least 30% via XYZ channels and innovate new ideas as well."
If a candidate believes they can execute the desired outcome, they'll apply – so either they already hold all the prerequisites, or those prerequisites were never necessary in the first place.
The most successful job postings tend to be written with a clear sense of employer branding. However, too strong of an attempt to sound fun-loving or genuine can easily swing the other way.
"Job seekers are over the use of the words ninja, guru and rock star," Posner said. "They are not effective."
Sure, your job description is meant to be promotional – but do you really want to attract the kind of candidate who falls for trendy buzzwords or sleazy marketing?
Instead, Posner advises recruiters to "be clear on expectations, transparent on desired goals and concise in messaging." If a candidate is the right fit, this is all they'll need to be convinced enough to apply.