Saturday, January 19, 2008

Why Great Job Listings are Important for Recruiters (There's More to It Than You Think)

Struggling to find new and innovative ways to attract candidates in this competitive hiring market? The single most important tool for getting candidates to apply for your open position is the job listing. Optimize your use of job listings and you'll optimize your overall recruiting efforts.

Why Job Listings Are Important

According to a survey conducted by WetFeet, most job seekers think about their job search in terms of available positions, not potential employers. They use job listings to educate themselves about opportunities, and are quick to form judgments about an employer based on the language and tone of its listings. The way an employer describes specific employment opportunities can speak volumes about what a company is like.

What's more, a good job listing can get the attention of a candidate who's not actively looking for a job. Forty-seven percent of passive job seekers said they relied on job listings as a way of learning about opportunities. As one put it, "I'm really looking through them to get some perspective on what's out there, rather than reading them because I am explicitly applying for jobs right now. If I saw something really compelling, I might just apply, though."

Four Ways to Make Your Job Listings Compelling

* Focus on rewards: In general, job seekers are more interested in what the position offers them personally.whether that's intellectual challenge or serious earning potential.than they are in what the corporate mission or business strategy is. In the words of one job seeker, "When a [posting] extols how wonderful the company is over the job itself, I wonder a bit. I would rather see them tell you what kind of person they want, rather than 'This is why you should want to work here.'"

*Provide specific details about the position, and what the job seeker can expect in return. Savvy candidates will want to learn more about the company once they become interested in the position. Drive them back to your website to read about your corporate mission and business strategy rather than delivering it to them in the job listing itself.

* Keep it simple and straightforward: Buzzwords can illustrate that you're savvy about the latest jargon from the business press, but they generally don't help you differentiate your company in a job seeker's mind. As a result of overuse, buzzwords lose not only clout, but also credibility. Rather than telling candidates that you are a "dynamic, high-growth company at the forefront of technological advancement," tell them what your company actually does.

* Tell it like it is: Just as an employer can pick up on a candidate's use of inflated terms (like someone who used to make coffee describing himself as a "beverage production manager"), candidates are wary of job titles that seem inflated or euphemistic. In the words of one job seeker, "Any hyperbole would be a reasonable tip that this position is not the best thing since sliced bread."

* The description of the duties should match the title, and the title should be intuitive so that when a candidate searches for managerial positions, she is not confronted with a listing for a coffee maker.

* Post Top Jobs: Many employers don't use job postings as a means of filling high-level positions, but it is an excellent way for companies to show they offer challenging positions and growth opportunities. Highly qualified candidates do read job postings to gain a sense of available prospects, and this can be a cost-effective way to source some of those candidates.

*Even if the qualified applicant yield is low from such postings, it may help increase interest in and overall awareness of your company among candidates who are qualified for other positions.

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