5 Elements of an Effective Job Listing

An effective job listing has to have it all. It must be clear yet concise. It must appeal to your dream applicants while keeping the bar high. It must reflect your company’s culture without sounding too insular. And a little bit of passion doesn’t hurt.

“Good job ads should be creative and speak directly to the candidates you are targeting,” says Steven Lindner, partner at The WorkPlace Group. “Most job ads are stale and uninspiring, with no visceral connection to why the job is even needed in your company. With so much information delivered to candidates each and every day, personalized, engaging and creative ads that tell candidates why you need them and why your role is worth considering is what will grab their attention.”

How to fit all that in just one job ad? Make sure it has each of these elements and you’ll be on the right track.

1. Job Title and Description

In the listing, use a job title that someone would type in when searching for a similar job: “marketing manager” instead of “marketing guru,” for example. And when it comes to job duties, describe a typical day so applicants get an accurate idea of what the job entails. “An effective job posting is clear and concise and truthfully describes the position,” says Lela Reynolds, a senior career consultant at Resume Strategists. Include a sentence or two about your company — who it serves, what its mission is and where it’s going, so applicants feel confident that they would be a good fit.

2. Required/Preferred Skills and Experience

It’s essential to include the level of experience, qualifications and education you are expecting from a potential candidate, Reynolds says. But it’s also important to include preferred qualities in the posting, as well. Doing so will encourage candidates to self-select out of applying for the role if they see themselves as unqualified, ultimately improving the quality of your pool of candidates, she says: “A bachelor’s degree in marketing and five years of experience are required; 7-10 years preferred.”

3. No Jargon

Replace all jargon and company-specific acronyms with words that anyone can understand, Lindner says. While some industry jargon may be unavoidable, especially when listing skills and experience required, using your own slang or phrases to describe the work or workplace can be off-putting for applicants. Wait until they’re hired to teach them the lingo.

4. Key Information

Include information about unique aspects the job requires, such as 50 percent travel, Reynolds says. Requirements such as that can be an unpleasant surprise if you spring them on candidates in a job interview, so get it out in the open early on. These kinds of aspects can also encourage some applicants to self-select out of the process.

5. Specifics

In all elements, you must be specific to give people the clearest idea of what it will be like to work there, Lindner says. Instead of saying “candidates must have good presentation skills,” the ad should describe exactly what that means, he says. “Candidate must be able to clearly describe and present product details and benefits to inquiring customers via phone” would give applicants a better picture of what they can expect from the job.

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