10 Ways To Improve Your Job Postings
This article will share ten quick ideas that address ways to increase the amount of qualified candidates who apply. Our Sourcing Manager (Kristie) and I collaborated on a top ten list, which will be especially helpful for generating more applicants for hard-to-fill jobs, as well as receiving more qualified candidates for other jobs.
10. Create unique and engaging titles
Making our client’s jobs stand out was really a struggle for us. We kept brainstorming for ways to increase visibility and started to try varying the title a bit. We noticed that when we made each title unique, it did two things for us. The first was that it stood out in a listing of jobs because of the uniqueness of the title. Then we noticed that jobs with a similar title and description in the same geographical area are sometimes omitted in search results in order to prevent duplicates. Indeed.com and Google both automatically omit what they consider ‘duplicate listings,’ So even if the job is different, there is a chance that job seekers may not see it if the title and description are too similar to other jobs in the same general vicinity.
So we suggest that instead of using “RN - ER Nurse,” perhaps consider changing it to something like "Top 100 Hospital Hiring Innovative ER Nurse - $10K Sign On." It doesn’t need to be lengthy, however, it helps if it is unique compared to other listings. It could be helpful to research the job boards and/or aggregators (i.e. Indeed.com or Simply Hired) in order to see how competitors’ job postings look, and then formulate a unique title that includes what type of candidate the job posting is for. This is so the posting will come up in a search, but also allows for incorporating something about the facility that makes it stand out among the dozens of similar positions in the area.
Examples found on Indeed
Example of listings of engaging titles
9. Change the fonts
There are additional ways to make the postings more visually appealing to Millennials in particular. One suggestion is to diversify the types of fonts utilized in order to make the overall look “pop.” “The old days of ‘Times New Roman’ and ‘Arial’ as the font of choice are out. I suggest using fonts that are easy to read but that also stand out. Also, change up the fonts to differentiate headings versus the body,” says Kristie. Some of her favorite fonts to use are Garamond, Georgia, Helvetica and Calibri.
8. Add images and/or videos
There is nothing wrong with using a text-only job posting, however, it is easy to see how appropriate images and video can enhance a posting. Our first step in improving our postings was to add pictures. We received positive feedback by utilizing photos from the website showing the facility and a company logo. In addition, we subscribed to several “stock photo” websites where we could use the images royalty free.
- Images - Pictures should include things like the logo, facility and/or employees. If none of those are available, perhaps a well-chosen stock photo could be used.
- Sites for royalty free photos that we have used:
- Video - If a picture is worth a thousand words, then is a video worth 10,000? It goes without saying that a video will add to the attractiveness of the posting.
- Sites for royalty free videos that we have used:
- We have received excellent feedback on this video below for example:
- The video utilized could focus on one or more of the following:
- More information about the job.
- Information about the services the company provides
- Why a candidate would want to work at the company.
- A video about the culture of the organization.
7. Use lists
HR compliant job descriptions tend to be rather lengthy and cover legal terms that generally don’t translate well in a job posting. Job descriptions also tend to use a paragraph format and a limited use of bullet points.
We have found that the opposite works best for job postings. In other words, we recommend a liberal use of bullet points or lists in the posting whereas a limited use of paragraphs in order to keep the reader’s attention. Using bullet points or lists can make the job easier to follow and understand the type of candidate the organization is looking for. It is also good to prioritize and not list too many different items about the job in the posting. Kristie suggests to, “put the essential items toward the top because if people are just skimming, at least they will see those first few things.”
6. Use shorter paragraphs
We find that several job descriptions need to use longer paragraphs in order to fully describe the particular job. In a job posting, however, our main objective is to promote the position more than describe the details of it. Ideally, just a few sentences can help to summarize the main parts of the job, especially in situations where the job is very familiar to the audience such as an operating room nurse. Typically a operating room nurse who is reading the posting will know what an operating room nurse does, so little information is needed about the main parts of the job since she/he will already know what the job entails. This leaves more space to convey things that are unique about working at the company or in the department. If there is a need to share additional information, we suggest to spread it out over several paragraphs that are sectioned off with headings throughout the job posting. This will allow the reader to skip to the parts of the posting that are more applicable.
5. Include helpful links
When appropriate, we supply helpful links concerning the organization such as the company website, LinkedIn page, Facebook page or any other site where they could learn more about the products and services of the organization. The more information we can share about the company and culture, the better. This is especially helpful if the space within the job posting is limited.
Emails - We also use links in our email campaigns to sourced candidates; however, the majority of the time we may only feature one link that goes straight to the job. Click here for an example.
4. Create engaging headings
We have found that utilizing engaging headings can help to retain the candidate’s interest when reading the job posting. For example, instead of using “Duties & Responsibilities,” this could be replaced with "What You'll Do" or "Your Responsibilities" in order to relate to the potential applicant personally.
These types of phrases can help the candidate envision themselves working for the organization and in that particular role. Of course, there are situations and positions where these types of phrases are not going to be appropriate, such as for executive level positions; so please use discretion when deciding whether to update the headings to more informal ones.
3. Include benefits and perks
If a job seeker finds that some postings have the benefits and perks listed, and the other ones do not, they may assume that the postings without the information are not offering similar benefits and perks. So we try to determine what they are and highlight the benefits of the job as well as any perks included.
Checklist for which benefits and perks to include:
- Insurance (health, dental, vision, life, pet)
- Vacation and time off or PTO
- Tuition reimbursement
- Student loan payoff
- Other possible perks
- Flexible work schedule
- Company car
- Free lunch on certain days
- Any other perceived perks/benefits should be mentioned as well.
2. Include salary or bonuses if possible
Salary: To include salary, or not include salary, can be an endless debate. Just to be clear, the candidates definitely want the salary range posted. They feel that it is a waste of time to fill out an application for a job that has a salary range less than their current salary. Also, I have spoken with several candidates that tend to bypass listings that exclude a salary range.
Employers, though, have a number of reasons why they prefer not to disclose salary. One difficulty is in the fact that this same salary information would instantly become available to current employees of the organization as well as their competitors. This is usually enough of a reason for many employers to keep salary data off the posting until the candidate has been spoken to directly. A large percentage of our clients prefer not to post salaries on the job posting for this reason.
Sign-on bonuses: Bonuses, as well as relocation, can be very effective recruitment tools because many positions may not offer either a bonus or relocation. They lose the positive effect if most other employers in the same area are offering them, however, it prevents being left out of consideration when the company chooses to include bonuses or relocation amidst competitors who have such bonuses.
Once a bonus or relocation amount is approved, it is especially optimal to include this information in the title of the posting because it will help catch a candidate's eye. If competitors are mentioning the amount of either the sign-on or relocation, it is recommended to also disclose the amount. We only suggest doing this, however, if it is within the range of most of the other postings.
1. Show candidates why they should apply for the job
More is involved than promoting the job. It is also important to show them why they should apply for the job. This one is easy to overlook. Because of the proliferation of job boards, social media and other information websites, it is important to succinctly explain why a candidate should apply to the job posting. Kristie says that, “Even if the job is literally the most amazing opportunity in the world, there's the potential it will not come across that way if we don't write postings that make it enticing to a candidate to apply. WE know it's an amazing opportunity but how are we going to portray that to THEM?”
Ways this can be done include:
- Career advancement possibilities.
- Training provided to grow in their career.
- The cause or reason for the organization.
- Candidate’s possible role in serving the community.
- Philosophy about work-life balance.
Make it extremely easy to apply. Some ATS systems require a user to “create an account.” We believe that this can be counterproductive. Candidates don’t enjoy creating new accounts unless they have a reasonable expectation that they will land the job. So, if the ATS requires this, seriously consider a preliminary step to this by giving the option to upload their resume first.
Ideally, there should be an option to use either an existing profile/account, such as LinkedIn or Indeed, or a simple option of uploading a resume.
We have not covered all of the aspects of improving the job postings, however, implementing this checklist will likely increase the overall amount and quality of applicants. These have certainly worked well for us.
Let us know in the comments if anyone has feedback, additional tips, and please let us know if any of the tips were helpful!