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How to Write an Effective Job Posting

Writing a job posting may seem like a no brainer or a task you don’t need to invest a lot of time. The problem is that the less time you put into the ad, the more it’s likely to cost you in the end. For example, a strong and specific posting will help eliminate unqualified candidates. This will save you on interview labor time as you will be only spending time with qualified applicants. Also, a posting with well-defined duties, responsibilities, and qualifications will help save on expensive turnover. Because the applicant will have a sound understanding of the job expectations at the outset, they will be more likely to have the ability and willingness to do the job.

So now that we talked a bit about why you should write a good posting, let’s get down to the how. First, give it some thought. If you have a previous job description, does it still fit? What happened to last person that held the position? Were they fired or did they quit? Could the failure be due to them not living up to the expectations and responsibilities? If so, re-write the description with this new information in mind. If the person was promoted, then you’re probably on the right track. (Keep in mind: a job description and job posting are two different things. The job description should be a reference for your ad.)

Other things to consider: Have any of the job requirements changed? What sort of person would suit the job and the company culture? What skills are required and what are preferred? What is this role responsible for and to whom? What will it take for a person to be successful in the position? If you’re lucky enough to have promoted the person that previously held the position, get their input. The more thought and feedback put into the job posting the better the results.

Once you have all your information on the position put together, do a bit more research, only this time with your competitors. What are their job descriptions and titles like compared to yours? Don’t be afraid to take their ideas and run with them. Lastly, compare compensations. Are you are par with your competitors? Are you paying significantly less? If so, you will want to visit that issue. If you’re paying too low compared to your competitors, you will lose the qualified candidates to other companies and will be left with the dregs.

Next, consider the job title. Is it clear as to what position you are looking to fill? Will it be likely to show up if they do a keyword search? Is it precise? For example, you don’t want too general a title such as engineer when you’re looking for an electronics mechanical engineer. Also avoid kitschy titles like software guru. It’s less likely to show up in their search. When creating the job title, keep in mind that people will bypass a job posting based on the title. Job searching is a time consuming task, and they won’t take the time to read the job description if the job title isn’t specific.

Now you are ready to write the job posting. Here’s something to think about while you are doing it: You have to sell the opportunity and your company. Getting qualified candidates that are a good fit is difficult, especially in a competitive market as you know. You want to convince prospects that your company is the place they want to work.

So what should be included in a job posting?

· Start with an introduction. Talk briefly about the company, the position, and what makes both of them appealing.

· Pay range, perks, and benefits - You want them near the top as it will peak candidates’ interest and get them to read on. It is also vital you start including this information on all job postings. People want to know this information foremost and to not include it will get your posting passed over.

· Duties and Responsibilities - One line bullet points here between 5-10 items. Because you are limiting the amount make sure you are inputting the most important and vital duties.

· Requirements/Qualifications - Bullet points again putting the required qualifications first followed by the preferred.

· Closing – Just a couple of lines where you can say the instructions to applying (online, email, etc.) and what to include (cover letter, resume). You can also name the contact person or the hiring timeline.

Now that you have your job description written, here’s a few more tips:

· Proofread it. Just like resumes should be flawless so should your posting. Spelling and grammar should be correct, naturally, but also look for inadvertent bias, such as saying salesman instead of salesperson. Have someone else look it over for you.

· Keep your job posting brief and concise. 700 words maximum. Anything longer and the candidate will either just skim it and move on or skip it altogether.

· Also use bullet points where it makes sense. It makes the posting look less cumbersome.

· Avoid clichés & buzzwords. Items like “fast-paced”, “self-starter”, and “highly motivated” sound good but they are too open to interpretation. For example, fast-paced may mean a lot of work for an understaffed department to some.

· Avoid acronyms as well. Again, they can be misinterpreted.

· Post it online. You will get the greatest amount of traffic. Also make sure you putting it on an appropriate site. You want a popular one, not an obscure one. The most popular job sites in the Central New York area are and the New York State Job Bank. Don’t forget your company’s website and social media!

· When you post it online, make sure it’s mobile friendly. Most people are now using their phones for web searches. You want to make sure your posting is readable and within the word limit.

· Use SEO (search engine optimization) to get your job posting near the top of the job board. Going through this extra step of SEO, or other methods a job site might have, to enhance your results will only benefit you. If you’re at or near the top, you will likely be view more often and less likely to be subject to a job seeker’s job search fatigue.

· Consider doing a video. A video will capture a job seeker attention and give them a break from reading. They are likely to view it, and you can convey your job in a brief period of time. It’ll allow for your company’s “personality” to come across (Professional, but friendly). Granted not every job site allows this capability, but your website and social media sure does.

· Speaking of website and social media…how’s it looking these days? Is your website up to date and has working links? Have you posted lately on your social media? Many job seekers (in fact, we encourage it here at Cayuga Works and Cortland Works!) look over your website and social media to learn about the company. If it’s dated or not working properly, you may lose that candidate. Candidates, especially Millennials and younger, want to work for companies that are operating in the 21st century.

As you can see, creating a job posting isn’t something you should skimp on. A little time and effort will deliver you the best results. Hiring new staff should never be rushed or done half way. Your company’s future depends on it.

Questions, comments, or suggestions? We welcome them!


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