5 Reasons Your Job Posts Aren’t Working

Screen Shot 2014-11-11 at 3.28.04 PMAlthough the title of this article promises five reasons why your job posts aren’t working, there is really one big reason: The best candidates always come through referrals. As a matter of fact, that’s where we get roughly 80 percent of our candidates.

That being said, sometimes you’ve tapped out your networks and you need to advertise your job opening across the Internet. When push has thus come to shove, here are the five top job post mistakes to avoid.

  • The job title is too “inside.”  When creating a job post, you have to make sure the title is functional and adequately describes the position. For instance, if the job is “account executive,” but your company has more of an upbeat brand with a relaxed culture, you may internally refer to this position as a client advocate. While “client advocate” may seem to be self-explanatory to you, it could mean a lot of different things to people outside your organization. If “account executive” accurately describes the role, then for the sake of attracting the right applicants, it makes sense to call it that.
  • It’s not scannable. As one Aquent internal recruiter points out, “Most job seekers are scanning. They are on the hunt for the right job and will look at a job post and scan the details before deciding to apply, or to ignore it. By organizing key responsibilities with bullet points, the readability of the post will increase and catch the attention of the right people.” In addition to bulleted lists, separate sections with descriptive headers that allow potential applicants to scan the important facts as quickly and easily as possible.
  • The actual location of the job is unclear. Too many posts fail to specify exactly where the applicant will be working (even if it is off-site) and therefore miss out on qualified applicants who use that detail when determining whether to apply or not. Today, millennials form a large portion of the talent pool and many of them are looking for flexibility in location (including the option to work from home and/or travel). If the position offers that kind of flexibility, or at least regular opportunities to be out of the office, be sure to mention it in the post.
  • The post doesn’t adequately represent your brand. As with anything the company publishes, a job post contributes to the overall representation of your brand. Do not forget this when crafting the post and make sure the language and style paint an accurate picture not only of the job itself, but also what it will be like to work for your company and, more importantly, what your company stands for.
  • No call to action. This may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many times companies neglect to make it crystal clear how to actually apply for the job. You don’t want to frustrate qualified candidates by hiding the “apply” link or making the process overly cumbersome. At the same time, if there are elements of the application that are essential — code or work samples, for example –be sure to spell that out and specify exactly how you would like to receive such material.

If you want to attract the best candidates, your best bet is to invest in the cultivation of a robust talent referral network.

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In the meantime, if you have to rely on job posts to attract the people you’re looking for, follow our advice and write them in a way that is easy to read, easy to understand, and clearly lays out the details — responsibilities, location, how to apply  that will matter most to job seekers.

Steve Dempsey is the VP of Recruiting at Aquent, a global staffing firm specializing in design and marketing professionals. With over 14 years of experience, he leads a broad range of recruiting and assessment initiatives and serves as the business director for Aquent’s agile application development stream.”


9 Comments on “5 Reasons Your Job Posts Aren’t Working

  1. Steve, you wrote an excellent article, and made some excellent points.

    However, the number one reason in my opinion as to why many job postings aren’t working, are that they’re boring and unimaginative. Over 85% of job postings consist primarily of a copied and pasted position description and requirements, rather than creating a marketing piece designed to attract and motivate the best candidates (reading your postings) to apply. If you’d like a free evaluation of your your job postings, to see how they stack up to the best of the best, and receive additional free perks in the process, go to: http://www.postperfect.com/challenge/, and participate in the Post Perfect Challenge.

    1. I disagree completely with Carol. As a Recruitment Sales Specialist I can tell you that some of the best candidates comes from Passive Job Seekers, and in order to reach those candidates you must advertise somehow, somewhere. Preferably in a place where you know your target audience tends to hang out, read, or pass by.

      I agree somewhat with you Ken. But I would also add, that in addition to having a good ad that draws the attention of both active and passive job seekers, a good Recruiter will work to create a path from the Job Position Posting TO the Seeker. Typically this is achieved thru a multi-media attack. So if a Job Posting doesn’t work- many times it is because the audience has not been catered to and/or located.

      1. There are certainly times that a job posting won’t work due to insufficient traffic of suitable talent being exposed to the posting. However, assuming that there is good exposure in front of suitable talent, the key difference makers from that point forward are the quality of the opportunity, whether a compelling case has been made to apply, and if the application process is smooth and easy. A multi-media attack makes sense. However, whatever medium you use for online recruitment content, remember that this is sales, and you don’t sell a candidate by boring them to tears with how you sell your opportunity, as well as their opportunity. .

  2. Steve: This is a very good article, but you’ve missed the number one reason job posts don’t work. Job posts only work with active candidates…Period. That said, if that’s the type of candidate Aquent, or any other company is targeting, then your advice will be effective. Additionally, recruiters who are only posting jobs and looking for referrals aren’t real recruiters. They’re nothing more than order takers.

    1. Carol, I’m not sure where you got the idea that job posts do not attract passive candidates, if well written and compelling.

      Job postings on a corporate web site and on employment web sites/job boards are the # 2 and # 3 respectively in this annual study: http://www.careerxroads.com/news/2014_SourceOfHire.pdf. Referrals ranked as # 1.

      No recruiter can be everywhere recruiting at once. A combination of various methods of recruiting, including posting effective job postings on your corporate web site and on employment web sites/job boards makes for a very effective strategy.

        1. Carol, I think it’s 100% correct, based on 35 years of experience in talent acquisition with a background in recruiting, sourcing, job boards, and social media.

          Many passive job seekers have set up job search agents, so they are automatically kept informed of opportunities, and can respond to exceptional opportunities that motive them.

          Just because someone may not be actively looking, does not mean that they’re not smart enough to keep their eyes and ears open.

          1. Good, as that’s the same reason that a recruiter is able to attract passive job seekers. However, whether the message be brought to a passive candidate by a recruiter or a job posting, the case made to pursue the opportunity must be most compelling, or the candidate will not be recruited.

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