Are your job posts designed to recruit the best talent?
With job postings, it’s not what you say, but how you say it, which makes all the difference.
There are some 7.6 million unfilled jobs in the U.S., according to the U.S. Department of Labor, and poorly written job postings are the reason many employers are having trouble filling those open jobs, according to Katrina Kibben, CEO of Three Ears Media, a company that teaches recruiters how to become better writers.
“Most job postings are filled with clichés and B.S.,” Kibben said Thursday at the Greenhouse Open Conference, a gathering of HR professionals in New York City. “The most successful job postings have a heartbeat, and they spell out what’s expected from the candidate.”
Kibben said traditional job postings rely on the same tactics — all of which are ineffective. She said the majority of posts start out with “brand-first tone and jargon” in an attempt to attract talent. For example: “ABC seeks a collaborative, responsive, and dynamic non-profit development professional to lead the RCS community as our Chief Development Officer.” Kibben said this job description won’t engage potential applicants.
“It’s lame, and it doesn’t tell them why they should want to work for you,” Kibben said. “Some companies rely on brand recognizability, like Fortune 500 status, but that’s not enough to get the passionate candidates you want.”
Kibben provided a better example of an engaging job post: “Raising money isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. We’re looking for someone who’s ready to boil the water, sweeten the pot, and share the love of raising money with an enthusiastic team supporting an important cause.”
Bullet points were another typical job post feature Kibben recommended recruiters kill. While they make organizing information simple, Kibben said they don’t provide candidates with enough information about the job, and why they should apply.
“Your competitor likely has the exact same bullet points, so you need to find a way to tell candidates why you’re different from them,” Kibben said.
The way a job title is worded impacts how many applicants will see job postings online; employers who want the best visibility need to use search analytics to decide on a title, Kibben said. She recommended Google Trends because it shows searchers how often people in different regions searched for specific key words. Sometimes, employers will find that the words they’re using are turning up searches for something entirely different.
“The phrase ‘customer service,’ for example, tends to bring up complaints, not job listings,” Kibben said. “You’ll want to adjust the wording so the candidates with the skills you want can find you.”