Talent Circles

Friday, February 13, 2015

Why Your Job Ad is Dripping with Nonsense



By Jessica Miller-Merrell

We all want to draft job postings that grab candidates’ attention, convey the scope of a position, are easily read and completely knock it out of the park. The sad reality is that the majority of postings do the exact opposite of all that. In fact, they’re mostly total nonsense. They are oozing, dripping and overflowing with absolutely ridiculous and outlandish things. Your job seekers realize this too. It’s the reason so many of them apply for a job even when they don’t meet the minimum qualifications. We’ve conditioned them to expect inflated responsibilities, marketing talk and shoot-for-the-moon qualifications. They can barely cut through the clutter to discover what it is the position is and what it requires.

So why, when no one sets out to draft an insane job posting, do we have so many that just aren’t cutting it? It all starts with how we look at it. From purpose, to tone and everything in between, sometimes what we’re saying and what we really mean don’t go hand in hand. Even worse, sometimes it does, but we’re off base about what we should be saying.

An effective job ad is a lot like a commercial. It’s an opportunity to compel your candidate to come to your careers page or talent network to learn more. It is absolutely not a novel, a chance to show off your industry jargon or a page-long bulleted list of everything you could possibly think of for the position. Throw what you know out the window and start re-vamping your job listings with these five keys in mind.

Get visual
We live in a time when a picture is worth far more than words in nearly every situation. For the best results, create a visual that will attract candidates and make them want to read what you have to say. After you’ve developed the visual you wish to use, get creative with places you can use it.

Create a Campaign
A good job description is just one piece of the recruiting puzzle. Think strategically about what channels you’ll use to share it, when it makes the most sense to and how you’ll support the posting. Will it lead the candidate to a talent network? Will you direct them to a careers page that reinforces the look and feel of your employment brand?

Focus on the long term
Keep the desperation and urgency out of your job postings by viewing every posting as an opportunity to build a long-term pipeline of potential candidates. Seeing recruiting through these lenses will likely change the way you think about individual postings.

Be honest
It’s important to be honest with yourself about what you really need, and to be honest with your job seeker about who you really are as a company. Don’t pretend to be someone else because this only lends to higher turnover for the long term. Keep your tone consistent with your company culture.

Be engaging, and then engage

Your job posting or ad should absolutely engage your potential candidate by providing a call to action other than applying. How can they connect with you? It may be through social media, a careers page or talent network but they should have a place to go to engage with you.


 Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s is the Chief Blogger & Founder of Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @jmillermerrell

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