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Write a More Compelling Job Post

Ask The Expert

By Barbara Mitchell

Q: When I post an open job, I don't get a lot of applicants. I use the language in the job description to write the post. What can I do differently to get a bigger pool of applicants?

A: Well, first of all, stop using the language in the job description. A job post is an advertisement, and what do we know about successful ads? They pop, and they sizzle! Now, I am not suggesting you put your job post to music and make a YouTube video, but you do need to remember you're selling an opportunity, not boring people to death with unnecessary detail gleaned from a job description.

To get started, think about what you would want to know about the open position if you were looking for a job. For example:

  • Top five job responsibilities
  • What a successful applicant should accomplish in the first six months
  • The organization's culture
  • Benefits, compensation, and perks
  • Required knowledge, skills, and abilities
  • Growth opportunities for the organization and the applicant
  • Potential deal breakers (for example, the job requires two weeks of travel every month)
  • How to apply

Your posting should be short and specific. You don't need to list every job task, but do include the most important responsibilities of the position.

You're selling an opportunity, not boring people to death with unnecessary detail gleaned from a job description.

There are also some things you don't want to do in a job post:

  • Don't oversell the position or the organization.
  • Don't mislead the applicant by promising what can't be delivered (high salary, quick promotion, etc.).
  • Don't include a lot of jargon—even for internal postings.

Here's another tip: Don't recycle job posts. I know it's a pain to write a new one each time a job opens, but you should take the time to at least review it for accuracy. You may have something new to add that will make all the difference in increasing your pool of applicants.

If you think about what you would want to know as a potential candidate, you'll begin writing more compelling job posts that will turn job seekers to applicants.

Barbara Mitchell is a human resources and management consultant and author of The Big Book of HR and The Essential Workplace Conflict Handbook. Do you have a question you'd like her to answer in "Ask the Expert"? Send it to [email protected]

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