Are Your Job Postings Turning Talent Away?

Finding and hiring people in today’s market is tough; but, if you work in HR and talent acquisition, you know competing for talent was never exactly easy. Even back in 2016, 86% of HR professionals agreed that recruitment is becoming more like marketing. It’s becoming more apparent that – just like consumers have options on where they spend their money – candidates have many options on where they choose to work. 

Given that the majority of job searches start on Google, your job postings are likely one of the first interactions a job seeker has with your employer brand. If people are quick to “judge a book by its cover,” think about what that means when their first impression of your employer brand is a poorly-written job posting. 

Unfortunately, most employers have not mastered the science, or the art, of writing job postings. Too often, we see job postings that fall at either end of the spectrum: 

  1. Overly-complex, jargon-heavy, and listing way too many requirements
  2. Overly-simplified and watered down

Neither of these are written with the candidate in mind. Here’s why these methods hurt the candidate experience and reduce your ability to reach top talent. 

Too Complex or Too Long

Your job posting should not mirror the formal job description your compensation team uses to evaluate paygrade, because – let’s face it – they read like dull legal documents. They’re extremely lengthy, which will deter most candidates at first glance. Be mindful of how many requirements you’ve listed. Be realistic about which ones are necessities and which ones only serve to fill white space. Those who do stick around to read the laundry list of “must-haves” will be unsure of what they’re reading because of the acronyms and lingo used that is only understood internally.

This method is not candidate-centric and is not helping you as an employer, either. If you’re not making the necessary job responsibilities and requirements easy to understand at the outset, you’re leaving it up to the candidate to interpret whether or not they’re qualified. Many (including most women) will opt-out, leaving you with a small, underqualified, pool of talent that lacks diversity. 

Too Simple

Using flashy buzz words may be eye-catching, but when a candidate is done reading your job posting, do they really understand what it means? Not only do cliche phrases like “rockstar communicator,” “multi-tasking ninja,” and “technical guru” sound kind of silly, they’re also too vague for a candidate to really understand what you’re looking for. This invites questions about the fairness and uniformity of your evaluation process. Research shows language with a masculine connotation (i.e. ninja) can also turn away female job-seekers.  Very few – if any – job seekers are searching for a “rockstar,” “ninja,” or “guru” on Google. It’s not measurable and wouldn’t fall into the category of equitable. 

Trendy buzz words may work in consumer marketing, but when it comes to your employer brand, candidates are looking for honesty and transparency. While this method may have helped you get more eyes on your job posting, you’re still not being clear about the role’s requirements. On top of that, you’re making it difficult for job seekers to take you seriously as an employer. A LinkedIn study found that job postings with “conversational language and a few jokes” performed significantly worse than both plain/generic and formal job descriptions.

A job posting should paint a realistic picture of what it would be like to work in the role and be clear about the skills/experience required. It shouldn’t read like a legally-binding contractual agreement, nor should it serve as clickbait. 

As much as you’re assessing candidates throughout the process, they’re also assessing whether your team and organization are the right fit for them. Connecting with job seekers on a human level will provide a better candidate experience, result in a more qualified, more diverse pool of talent, and start building the foundation of trust that’s needed for a strong employment relationship

Now that we’ve shared what not to do, check out another exaqueo blog to learn how to write an authentic job posting: “How to” Series: How to Write Job Postings That Attract Best-fit Talent

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