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How to Write A Top-Notch Job Posting

Andrea Weir
Published February 9, 2017


The time has come to expand your team – how do you go about finding your next star employee? Over the next few weeks, our blog will feature installments covering each stage of the hiring process. Tips and tricks, best practices, new research findings – our goal is to cover every important step in finding your next star employee.

Unless you are relying solely on references, your first task will likely be putting together an online job posting. We all know how vast the internet space for jobs is, and effectively reaching your candidates via this platform is crucial. Reading your job posting may be the first impression a candidate gets of your company – how will you present yourself? Why should talented people choose to apply to your organization? Here are just a few things you should keep in mind at this preliminary phase. We’ve also included throughout a few spotlight examples of job advertisements displaying some best practices in their postings.

Brainstorm: What Do You Need?

Before you toss out the same old tired job posting template you’ve always used or throw together a quick blurb, take some time to do a deeper analysis of your needs. Talk to some key stakeholders: consult employees currently in the position under consideration (if there are any), supervisors, and managers. What do key players consider to be requirements for success in the role?

Identify your current star employees – what makes them so great? Do they possess certain characteristics that seem to contribute to their success? These might be things you want more of in your organization. However – as a caveat to this point – keep in mind the dangers of hiring an “army of clones”. Sure, assertive, leadership-oriented people with big ideas are great – but who will be the industrious, albeit perhaps more reserved team-player to help make these ideas come to fruition? Take a look at your teams and assess what sort of skills they’re missing. If it’s been said once it’s been said 1000 times: diverse teams are strong teams.

As you begin to formulate the needs of the role in question, be careful to distinguish between “must haves” and “nice to haves”. You don’t want to miss out on a great employee due to their lack of a “nice to have” skill. Who knows, maybe this is something you could have developed on the job anyways. Knowing which skills or characteristics you absolutely cannot be flexible on will help you in making informed decisions. We like how Exocortex/ distinguishes between requirements and bonus skills in their posting. The more applicants, the better.

Keep the Description Concise

When the time comes to actually write your ad, remember to be clear and concise. Today’s job seekers are likely looking at a multitude of job postings, and a long, dragged out post filled with fluff may be passed over. Keep your subject line practical, punchy, and clean. Consider utilizing bullet points to describe key responsibilities in an easily consumable fashion (careful not to create an unnecessarily large list of points, though). Be engaging and interesting – no one likes a dry read. Some professionals recommend including details like salary range in a job posting in order to filter out candidates who would not consider the position right from the start.

Last but not least: proofread! You wouldn’t want to hire someone with a sloppy resume – would a top performer want to work for someone with a sloppy posting?

Remember, This Is An Ad

The job market is a competitive place for employers looking for top talent. Keep in mind that your job posting essentially serves a dual purpose as an advertisement for your company. As CEO Caitlin MacGregor says, “We have seen an evolution of the business having the upper hand at choosing candidates, to a world where candidates are now being sold on the idea of working at a certain location.” A job posting is an opportunity to subtly communicate your corporate brand and attempt to stand out from the competition. This ad for PerfectMind does a great job of highlighting their culture and the mission of their organization.

One way to differentiate yourself is to provide some sort of benefit to the candidate – this is especially important as candidate experience has become a greater concern. For example, communicating that your application process could allow for networking opportunities or for a candidate to learn something about themselves might help add value.

Post on Multiple Credible Job Boards

Now get your posting out there – post on multiple credible boards like Indeed and LinkedIn’s postings. If new grads would be a good fit for your role, consider contacting Universities or Colleges. Many have their own job boards for grads-to-be and recent alumni. Niche job boards may also be available for your field of work. For example, Crunch Board lists technology and engineering openings.

Promote the opening via your social media channels and be sure to link to a clean, informative careers page on your website (if you have one). Sutherland Careers has a great page – they highlight what working for them can do for you, what makes their company great, and make it easy to apply.

Include an Easy CTA

Make it easy for interested job seekers to get in touch. Include a clear call-to-action allowing them to apply online or get in touch with you, and give details on how they should proceed if relevant – should they include a cover letter, for instance?

Last but not least, don’t worry about getting a flood of applicants – the more the merrier! Solutions are available (ever heard of Plum?) to help sort through candidates and find potential star employees.


Stay tuned for next week’s post on interviewing!


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