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How to Write a Great Job Posting

Writing a good job posting is a critical step in the hiring process, but the task is often more difficult than many people think. Obviously, you won’t have candidates beating down your door to apply for a position you want to fill if they don’t know about it. You have to get the word out in the form of a job posting.

You’re not trying to win a literary prize, but you are trying to attract job candidates — and the right candidates at that. Keep in mind the following two considerations in writing a job posting:

  • Help your firm stand out. When you’re recruiting, you’re also putting out the word that your company is a great place to work. In effect, you’re advertising a product — your company. Every aspect of your posting must result in a favorable impression of your organization.

  • Focus on quality, not quantity. Your goal is not only to generate responses from qualified applicants but also to eliminate candidates who are clearly unqualified. You’re better off getting only 5 responses, each from someone who clearly deserves an interview, than 100 responses from people you’d never dream of hiring.

Your next step is to actually write the posting. If you’ve done a good job of preparing the job description, then you’ve very nearly accomplished this task. In fact, you should think of the posting as a brief synopsis of the job description, albeit with a little flair added to get your job noticed. Here are some elements you’ll want to include:

  • Headline: The headline almost always is the job title.

  • Job information: A line or two about the general duties and responsibilities of the job.

  • Company information: Always include a few words describing what your company does.

  • Qualifications and hiring criteria: Specify the level of education and experience and relevant attributes and skills (per your success drivers or competency model) required to do the job.

  • Response method: Let applicants know the best way to get in touch with you. Also, let them know certain ground rules, such as whether you prefer to receive online responses as an attachment or embedded in the e-mail itself.

    Though most companies have moved almost exclusively to electronic response methods, firms must still provide a mailing address or toll-free phone number to meet Americans with Disabilities Act requirements specifically geared toward applying for jobs.

Bear in mind, too, the following key points:

  • You want to convey some sense of your workplace environment and values with a few phrases (for example, fast-paced, ethical, or client-centered).

  • Use the active voice and action words throughout the posting. Make it move, not just sit passively on the screen or page.

  • Create a buzz, a sense of enthusiasm; pique applicants’ interest. An uninspired posting will almost certainly draw uninspired candidates.

When crafting a job posting for an online job board, try to write it in a way that results in a higher ranking on popular job boards; this is called search engine optimization (SEO). You want your posting to appear near the top of the job board’s search results, and SEO allows you to improve your posting’s visibility.

SEO is becoming more important with the growing number of job-board aggregators that are emerging.

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