One of the most common complaints we hear from recruiters is the quantity of job applications they receive for each open position, and that many of the candidates aren't minimally qualified for the position. This has a lot to do with the condition of the economy as the influx of active candidates are flooding employers' inboxes. However, the issue is not only that the active job seekers don't have the desired skills, but also that the employers aren't providing job descriptions that appeal to the top candidates.
You see, top candidates have a choice in where they work, and employers have to make it easy for them to find, and apply for, their open positions. Particularly for the active and passive job seekers who are working full time, they're limited in what they can apply to and want to make the most impact in the time they do have. Some common issues that may cause you to be overlooked by top candidates include:
- Strange titles aren't getting found in search results.
- A long list of skills doesn't give the job seeker any idea of what the position, or the company, would be like.
- There's not enough focus on the job seeker's needs and desires.
Here's how you can catch the attention of top job seekers and encourage them to apply:
Normal Job Titles
Sure, Software ninja sounds like a cool job - but the title does very little to describe the level of experience needed, and it's not likely to be searched or found by the more qualified candidates. Most candidates will type "Senior Software Engineer" into a search bar, in which case the title "Software Ninja" wouldn't be a very relevant match. Furthermore, if it did show up in search results, the candidate may not take the time to read the full posting because they wouldn't know if the position was even relevant to what they were looking for.
An Exciting Opening Paragraph to Describe the Role and Company
Many job descriptions start off with a boring company description, which really doesn't add much value to the candidate. Sure, this helps them understand what your company does, but do they have any idea of why they'd want to work at your company? Did you mention the impact the position would have on the company, what the candidate would learn in the role or why they should want to work for you? If not, you may lose some of your best job seekers in your opening lines. Hook them in with something exciting about the role, and the company, that makes them want to keep reading (and apply!).
Show Off your Culture and Benefits
Your vision, mission, culture and values will allow candidates to see if they'd fit within your organization. Benefits are the icing on the cake. These things can be a major differentiator for candidates who have multiple opportunities and offers to consider. So make sure that you show them exactly why you are an employer of choice.
Performance-Based Job Descriptions
Performance-based job descriptions give candidates a feel for what their day-to-day will look like and what will be expected of them. If you're hiring for a sales professional that will be making 100 calls per day and will be responsible for 20% renewals, say so. This will help candidates self-select whether their background and interests align with the job, helping you get less unqualified candidates, and more candidates that fit your position.
Short List of Required Skills/Qualifications
Following the description, create a short list of required (non-negotiable) skills and qualifications - 3-5 max, followed by any additional desired skills. Top candidates won't apply if they don't think they have a chance of getting the job - and most people won't have the 15 skills and qualifications you're asking for. If some skills and qualifications are negotiable, say so - this allows top candidates to see right away if they're a good fit, and if it's worth taking the time to apply. You will also cut back on the unqualified candidates that apply for the job because they hope the skills they're lacking are negotiable.
Compensation will be important to top job seekers who don't want to waste their time applying and interviewing for positions which are outside of their salary requirements. List a range, when possible. At the very least, let the candidate know that salary is competitive and commensurate upon experience.
Always make sure to include a location, and be as descriptive as possible. If your position requires the candidate to work in multiple locations or travel frequently, that should be mentioned in the location section. Also be sure to include the city, and not just the metro area, as this can be a big factor in deciding whether or not to apply. Top job seekers may just skip over job postings without this crucial information.
Call to Action
The final component to a great job posting is a call to action. Tell the candidates what to do next, whether it's "Apply Now!" or "Go to www.YourJobSite.com, and apply.". It sounds simple because it is, but many job postings are missing this critical step.
After the job posting
While a well written job post is a great first step to getting top talent into your organization, you must also take your application process and candidate experience into consideration. All the interested top candidates in the world don't mean anything if they all drop off somewhere on the road to employment. Just keep in mind the theme of this post: top candidates have a choice in where they apply and work, and it's your job to make it easy and appealing to apply. Make sure that your application process is smooth, and doesn't take too long or ask for too much information. Keep candidates in the loop about next steps, and where they stand in the process. Also keep in mind that top candidates will receive offers quickly, so your best bet is to contact them immediately.
Bright has developed a tool that helps you surface your top candidates quickly, by using artificial intelligence to search your job posting and find the most relevant candidates for your position. It takes into account thousands of criteria that a first line recruiter would consider while reviewing resumes, such as skills, employment history and education information. Plus, it will show you top candidates in our system that haven't applied. Give it a try with a free trial.