How to Think Like a Job Seeker When Writing a Job Post

by Ryan Kohler

When hiring managers formulate job posts, they often consider only what they want. Their post ends up being a long list of requirements, lacking the type of information job seekers want to know. This cuts down on the quality and volume of applicants. Your goal in writing a job post should be to attract the largest number of high-caliber candidates. To do that, you need to consider the perspective of job seekers while writing your post.

What Job Seekers Are Looking For:

1. Fresh Posts Early In The Week

The majority of job searches are performed at the beginning of the day, the beginning of the week, and the beginning of the year. That’s the best time to post your listing. Job seekers are looking for fresh posts – they probably won’t bother to sift through anything more than a few weeks old, assuming the position will already have been filled. Renew your post every Monday, or at the very least indicate the date you will stop accepting resumes to let candidates know you are still reading and considering applications.

2. Location

The location of your office is one of the most important factors for job seekers. 79% of searches on Monster.com are conducted by location. Be sure to categorize your post by location, and also include the location as a keyword in the body of your post and maybe even in the title.

3. Specific Details About The Position, The Company, And The Pay

Vague job postings will not attract highly qualified candidates. You’ll lose the bulk of your applicants, while attracting confused and inappropriate job seekers, if you refuse to disclose specifics about the position and your company. Your job post is an opportunity to sell candidates on the perks of the job and your fun, unique, challenging corporate culture. Focus on benefits vs. demands. And remember, the number one thing most applicants want to know is how much you’re going to pay. “Salary commensurate with experience” or “TBD” isn’t going to cut it – you should post at least a general salary range.

4. Personality

In a sea of listings, the way to stand out is by injecting personality into your job posts. I recently saw a billboard for Domo in Salt Lake City that read “Cocoa Is For Closers”. It’s a tweak on the famous line from the film Glengary Glen Ross where Alec Baldwin says “Coffee is for closers”. The billboard is cute and memorable because it shows that Domo has a sense of humor, they’re film buffs, they value sales skills, and they understand that most applicants in Utah will be Mormons who prefer cocoa over coffee.

What Job Seekers Hate:

1. Ridiculously Long Job Posts

I’ve seen posts on Craigslist that read like a doctorate thesis. Job posts should be simple and to the point. Most job seekers are skimming through dozens, even hundreds of posts, so they don’t have time to dig through all of your of demands. The more you write, the less your applicants will read or absorb. Only list the most important information: location, salary, a few key points about your workplace culture, the most important information about the position, and the most crucial requirements/qualifications.

2. Insane Demands

Of course you want to find the best candidate possible to fill your position, but you have to be reasonable when listing your requirements. I usually list the 3-4 most important qualifications (education, experience, certification), and then add “Preference will be given to candidates with X,Y, Z” if there’s anything else I’d like to see. Too many nit-picky demands might scare away applicants with whom you might have been flexible.

Remember, the more genuine and transparent your job posts, the more likely you are to receive applications from individuals possessed of experience and personality traits that will mesh with your company. It’s really that simple.


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