Decide who you are targeting.
When you go shopping for a car, you typically would have an idea of what you are looking for, i.e., model, make, two door or four, etc. It would be extremely difficult to find the right car without at least a few clear parameters. When posting a job, we also have to consider specifically what candidates we want to target. Ask yourself, what kind of job is he looking for? Where is he in his career? What kinds of job attributes does he value, i.e. advancement, compensation, working on a team or independently, etc.?
Clearly state what's in it for them.
Consider why your company is desirable and find a way to show it in a few brief selling points. Be sure to include it in the first few sentences to grab their attention and make them want to continue reading to the nitty gritty. This is especially important when considering passive candidates. According to Yahoo! HotJobs, 47 percent of currently employed people plan to leave their jobs within the next couple of years. They are regularly scanning job boards just to see if anything catches their eye.
If your ad offers no compelling reason why your company is attractive to work for, your post could be missed by this entire group of passive and employed candidates. Understanding what attracts candidates isn't rocket science. You, too, are a prospective candidate, so consider what would attract you. The formula is generally transferable and includes:
- Fun place to work
- Opportunity for advancement
- Working with like-minded individuals
Now that you've got the candidate engaged, be sure to include plenty of detail about what they will be doing. For example, as an applicant to a recruiter role, I assume I will be hiring talent, screen, sourcing and using an applicant tracking system, so posting that doesn't really tell me anything about the job. This is your chance to really attract the right individual.
For example, if I rely on the "post and pray" method of recruitment, I'm very likely not going to be attracted to a job that mentions cold calling or deep passive searching. If my desire is to work for a company that understands the importance of engaging in social media and investing in recruiting tools, I may not apply for a role that only mentions posting jobs and searching job boards. Be specific about the who, what, where, when, and how!
Team player, can-do attitude, organization, and ability to multitask are all important, but these are the intangibles. Everyone thinks they have these skills or at least, will not admit it when they don't. They can still be listed, but more importantly, specify what tools and technologies you are looking for. When it comes to the soft skills, be more specific.
Rather than saying "Must be able to multitask," say "Must have experience working in an environment with conflicting deadlines." This approach will have a greater chance of weeding out the candidate whose blood pressure rises at the thought of handling more than a single project at once. A top motivator for candidates to apply to a posting comes from their belief that they will be a success at the job. Providing this detail will help to accomplish this.
You catch more flies with honey than vinegar.
I saw a post the other day that ignored this rule, and it was not pretty. Throughout the description was a healthy smattering of bold-printed phrases that would cause me, or hopefully any candidate with self respect, to run like from a fire. Phrases like "NO SLACKERS," or "DO NOT APPLY IF YOU ARE NOT SELF MOTIVATED" should never be in a posting.
You may think you are weeding out the wrong candidates, but you are actually weeding out the right ones. Savvy worthwhile candidates will see this as a red flag. If I get reprimanded in a posting, what kind of treatment will I endure as an employee? The only candidates this posting will attract are the ones that are so desperate for a job they are willing to overlook being spoken to that way.
Hence, what you are succeeding in doing is the very thing you set out to avoid -- attracting the candidates who will not be successful in the role. Rather than highlight the negatives of who won't succeed, do the upfront work and figure out who will, and use this posting to enhance your brand and show how great your company is.
And remember, beauty comes from the inside. Since you've advertised how wonderful it is to work for your company, be sure it really is. You must follow through with what you promise, as branding is only as effective as your ability to deliver (unlike this post which falsely offered a free trip to Hawaii!) If you aren't truthful when attracting employees, you will not retain them, which will not bring success in the long run.