Hi there, in the next installment of my (very) occasional series of articles, this is the first part of a ‘Recruiting Skills’ series focusing on writing great job posts. I think it’s fair to say that in my niche – actuarial/risk/investment – great talent is not easily found so any new ideas may help all of us!

The goal of a job post is to sell not only the position, but also the organisation and its culture. You want to tap into the readers’ emotions and logic. It’s the crucial first impression and a portal to your brand. With so much at stake, it’s important to focus on how both the role and your company comes across. So whether you’re writing your first ad or are a pro, it never hurts to take a look at strategies that yield the best results.

How to Create an Effective, Modern Job Post

Nearly every recruiting effort begins with a job posting. Traditional postings are generally a simplified version of the job description with desired experience and required education. Many organisations also add some generic information about the company. This has been the format for decades but with today’s candidate-driven market, it is important to tailor postings for not only maximum visibility, but also to attract the right candidates for the opportunity.

The job listing is an organisation’s resume submission to a candidate. Candidates will take time to include the best wording on their resume, the organisation needs to do the same with the job posting. 

The first step is to take a look at the types of candidates that have been attracted in the past, especially those who did not qualify. These experiences could be the key to what is missing. Perhaps the post was too vague or generic.

The second step is to take a look at the competition. What titles are they using? What are they including in the body of the listings? Use the same titles as your competition to increase your visibility. Make your ad standout by using action words instead of lists of must-haves and omitting “boring” words. Accurately describe the role in real world terms, not industry jargon. 

The third step is to make it readable. The majority of candidates will be reading the posting on a smartphone or tablet. Make the ad easy to scan by using bullet points and shorter sentences. This will appeal to everyone from the passive candidate to the Millennial looking for their first or next position. 

The fourth step is to include a clear call to action in the post. Make it easy to apply and include company contact information. Many organisations have been reluctant to include a phone number in ads. The fear is that phone lines will be flooded with inquiries. However, the presence of a telephone number lends legitimacy to the post, thus attracting more top talent. 

The final step to a successful, modern job post is to follow up on all submissions. A simple auto-responder for online applications is a great first step. Once a decision is made, all applicants should receive a note. This avoids the most common frustration amongst candidates and is great for employment brand reputation.

Following these five steps will help attract qualified talent and reduce time to hire. In my next article, I’ll discuss how to find and engage top talent by focusing on passive candidates, especially when it comes to recruiting for diversity.