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How to Optimize Your Job Postings to Attract Top Talent

Allie Kelly

Much is said about the importance of job candidates taking the time to write thoughtful, original cover letters that effectively market themselves for the position. The cover letter is often the first thing hiring managers will read, and it’s candidates’ major opportunity to make their case both concisely and engagingly for why they’re the best person for the job.   The same logic, however, also applies to the job postings created by companies. The post is often the first way that a candidate will discover your company and what it’s all about. In just a few seconds, by reading just a couple lines, the individual can make a judgment about your business, its culture, and whether they want to be a part of it. Hiring managers and HR professionals should take just as much time crafting their job postings as they urge candidates take to develop their cover letter.

When it comes to job postings, there are some tangible methods you can employ to help increase the chance that the reader will form a positive view of your company and feel compelled to apply to the position. In addition, a strong job posting can help you attract higher-quality candidates. Here are five tips for job postings that will help you connect with the best candidates:

1. Use inclusive language

Diversity is an essential element in every successful workplace. Unfortunately, many job postings use exclusive language that can put off readers. “Subtle language can dramatically increase engagement from diverse groups, with issues such as: gender coding, masculine wording, and disability or age-related wording all having an impact on diverse candidate applications,” said Natasha Broomfield-Reid, head of development at Equal Approach, in an interview with The Undercover Recruiter. Steer clear of gendered language, or using adjectives or job titles that are related to stereotypes. Exclusive language can cause talented candidates to apply to jobs elsewhere, and committing to inclusive job posts underlines your company’s commitment to diversity.

2. Use clear, direct titles

Yes, you want to capture the attention of people who are scrolling through job boards, but using funny, imaginative or unusual job titles in posts can actually work against you, as Recruiting.com notes. Using matter-of-fact titles that directly relate to the nature of the position also helps your vacancy come up in more searches. While a punny title might give you a laugh, it’s more likely to frustrate job-seekers.

3. Take advantage of analytics

Recruiting software gives you access to valuable analytics that can inform your job postings strategy. You can view data on where qualified candidates are searching for jobs, from social media sites to industry job boards, ensuring your vacancies are seen by the greatest number of eyes. With this knowledge, you can better utilize your recruitment resources and get your postings up where they’re most likely to attract top talent.

4. Be specific

Overwhelmed by the amount of applications from unqualified applicants you receive? Then odds are your job postings are too vague. Use highly specific language in your posts, narrowing down the essential skills that are needed and what job duties will be expected. Monster.com gives this example: Don’t write that you want an executive assistant that plans company events when really you need someone who can plan elaborate conventions, which requires a more specific set of skills. In the same vein, take the time to establish which skills and abilities are absolutely needed for the role, and which would just be welcome bonuses. Posts filled with too many skills, requirements and duties can ward off top talent because they don’t have a clear understanding of what the job entails – and lead you to receive a high number of applicants who aren’t exactly what you’re looking for.

5. Involve the team

Job postings should not be developed in isolation – i.e., they should not be written by just the hiring manager or just by HR. Stakeholders should be involved in their development so that the job posting clearly and effectively expresses all aspects of the role, from benefits to daily duties. This way, candidates can gain a deeper, more realistic understanding of what the position entails, and your company can decrease the chance of making hires that don’t ultimately work out because of dissonance between expectations and reality. Job postings are key ways to communicate with top talent – use these tips to tweak them and attract top talent to your organization.

Allie Kelly

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