In today’s red-hot job market, employers are scrambling to fill vacant job openings with qualified candidates. If you’re wondering how to find employees that are ideal candidates for your open positions, you should understand that the first step is writing a great job posting.
We’ve boiled down the process of how to write a job posting to just nine simple guidelines—everything from defining the job duties to selling your employer brand— so you can attract the top talent for your company.
Table of Contents
- How to create a job posting
- Define the position you want to fill
- Keep your job post brief and easy to read
- Use the right job title
- Sell your company in the introduction
- Include salary and benefits information as soon as possible
- Explain the responsibilities of the position
- List your required skills and qualifications
- Provide information about the hiring process
- Share the job post widely
How to create a job posting
Like every worthwhile business effort, writing an effective job posting takes some upfront work. Although you’ll eventually need to learn how to hire employees, the first step is creating a job advertisement that entices the right candidates.
Writing a great job posting is, ideally, a collaborative process between your talent acquisition staff, your compensation and benefits managers, and the hiring manager for the position. The author of the job posting should have all the information they need to sell the position you’re offering (and your company culture) before sitting down to write. A job posting template can also be a valuable tool in crafting an effective job ad.
Define the position you want to fill
Job candidates want to know what they’re getting into right off the bat. Providing a brief, clear description of the position you want to fill—a couple of sentences is ideal—at the very beginning of your job listing allow candidates to see immediately whether they might be a good fit for your open position. Many won’t read beyond the headline of your listing, so be sure your headline is to-the-point and transparent.
Be strict with yourself and avoid using unnecessary words in the opening sentences of your listing. Don’t say “seasoned marketing professional”, for example, when you could say “marketing manager” and still get your main point across. You can always talk about how you define “seasoned” in the job requirements and qualifications section of your post.
Keep your job post brief and easy to read
Job listings are like resumes: they create a first impression. Knowing what an employer expects—what equals success in a particular role—is a key factor in employee engagement and satisfaction as well as attracting great candidates. By being direct and clear in your job listing, you’re giving candidates a preview of your company’s ability and willingness to provide leadership and support.
Your job post should be substantive enough to set expectations but listing every nice-to-have qualification in your post has the potential to limit the number of qualified candidates you’ll hear from. The perfect candidate for your job may not check all the boxes you list, but bring other skills you may not have even thought of to your open position.
A study by LinkedIn found that candidates will spend an average of just 14 seconds reading your job post. The professional networking site also learned that shorter job posts—under 300 words—inspire the greatest number of responses.
Use the right job title
The right job title for your job isn’t necessarily the one that will appear on the business card of your new hire. The title “Chief Troublemaker” may communicate a character trait you’re looking for in a new hire: the willingness to challenge norms, perhaps. It might also telegraph something important about your company culture. But it doesn’t tell job seekers whether they have the experience, background, and core skills to do the job you’re trying to fill. Nor is it a term that job seekers are likely to plug into a job search site or search engine.
In other words, insufficiently clear job descriptions can put you at a discoverability disadvantage. You might amend the title to “Chief Troublemaker Product Development” to clue potential candidates into the demands of the job. Or you might call the job “Director of Product Innovation,” which would communicate the level of expertise required and the basic function of the job, plus one of your organization’s strategic goals.
Sell your company in the introduction
Many “ICU nurse” positions include the same job responsibilities. The same is true of “sales manager”, “software engineer”, and jobs across every industry. But candidates don’t just care about what they’ll be doing, they care about the company they’ll be working for. So it makes sense to include text in your job listing that highlights the uniqueness of your company, recognition it has received, position in your industry, and other details that distinguish your company from your competitors.
If you can demonstrate your company’s outstanding growth, do it. It suggests that employees will have opportunities to advance in their careers. If you’ve made the list of Top Places to Work, mention it. Such details as “woman-owned company” or “certified green company” can help you connect with candidates’ values. According to the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM), company culture is the number one factor candidates consider when choosing an employer. In fact, it’s more important than salary.
Include salary and benefits as soon as possible
Job candidates may not mention it as a professional aspiration in their cover letters, but earning a fair—or even outsized—salary is a goal most employees share. Higher salaries correlate with greater job satisfaction, in part because they make employees feel valued by their employers.
But even if you’re not offering top wages for your position, giving job candidates a salary range and key benefits information in your job posting works in your favor. Candidates scanning job listings are specifically seeking compensation information. Many will skip past all that talk about company culture and job responsibilities to find it—and, unfortunately, abandon your job ad if you don’t provide it.
Explain the responsibilities of the position
The job you post may have many duties assigned to it. Your task in describing the job responsibilities is to prioritize the most important ones.
Keep in mind that, if your job title is clear, it may automatically telegraph certain responsibilities to candidates with experience in the role or those already on a career path toward the position you’re advertising. So you may want to keep your list of assumed responsibilities short and focus on the unique requirements of the role.
List the required skills and qualifications
This is another section of your job listing that will require some discipline. Don’t create an exhaustive list—just mention the must-haves. Do you need a candidate who’s fluent in a foreign language? Is an MBA or another degree or certification required? Be careful not to repeat or rephrase what you’ve already covered in your Responsibilities section. Both sections will benefit from using bullets instead of paragraph form. You’ll keep your listing briefer and more scannable that way.
Provide additional information about the hiring process in your conclusion
The more transparent you are about your hiring process, the more candidates are likely to trust you out of the gate. You may get hundreds of inquiries from qualified candidates for your open position, but your talent acquisition team can easily automate the process of responding to even those thumbs-down candidates. It’s the polite thing to do. And candidates would rather hear something from you than nothing at all.
Share the job post
Choosing the right job board for your listing is key to smooth and speedy hiring. No matter if you’re a small business on the rise or a large corporation seeking competitive advantages, look for job posting sites for employers that have a wide reach and actively recruit qualified candidates for you. You might be tempted to post your listing on a site that specializes in your industry—and that can’t hurt if you’re posting your position multiple places—but candidates in every industry turn first to the leading job search sites.
How easy is it to set geographic parameters for a job search? More job applicants are searching for remote opportunities, so be sure the site provides an easy way to search for remote positions. Find out how much time and trouble it takes for a candidate to apply for a job. The best sites make it easy to complete the application process and upload cover letters and other supporting documents.
In addition to posting your open position on one or more job boards, make use of your social media pages to promote your listing. Candidates who follow your company on Facebook and Twitter, for example, have already expressed a preference for your company. They may be waiting for an opportunity to join your team.
Summary of Money’s guide on how to write a job posting
- Create a post that’s short, direct, and easy to scan.
- Think carefully when you choose a job title for your post.
- Distinguish your position by talking about your company culture.
- Focus on the most important responsibilities, skills, and qualifications, not just the obvious ones.
- Provide a salary range, benefits information, and any unique perks that come with the job. More candidates will take the time to read your entire listing if you do.
- Include information on your hiring process so candidates know what to expect.
- Pick job boards that make applying for a position easy and efficient and actively recruit the most qualified candidates for you.
- Highlight your open position on your social media pages and make your post easily shareable across platforms and messaging media.