You’ve probably heard the expression: “You only get one chance at a first impression”. Usually a candidate’s first impression of your company is your job posting, so knowing how to write a job posting that communicates not just the requirements of the role but also describes your company culture is a very important skill for any HR professional.
An effective job posting gives potential applicants all the information they need, about both the company and the role, and will also help convince them to apply.
A poorly written job posting won’t just hurt your chances of finding the right applicant. It’ll also blacken your employer reputation, effectively ‘emptying’ your talent pool. A job posting with unclear qualifications or credentials that don’t match the role’s requirements may bring in candidates who aren’t a good fit—which leads to frustration and time wasted vetting candidates.
So, what makes a good job posting? It needs to be well written in the company tone of voice. It also has to be clear and concise. You want people to read the entire job posting and come away feeling excited about working for your company.
Ask yourself—or the hiring manager—what skills, competencies, or education is essential for the candidate to succeed in the role.
Some of the job posting can be dedicated to the nice-to-haves rather than the must-haves of the role. However, when deciding how to write a job posting, the focus should be on those requirements that the potential employee absolutely needs in order to succeed, such as experience managing a large team or expertise with the software their role requires.
Here are some suggestions for how to format your job posting:
- Company description
This section acts as a sort of introduction, describing the work your company does as well as the company culture and mission. Mention any perks and benefits that you offer, for example: wellness subsidy, proximity to transit, standing desks.
- Role Description
The role description should detail the specific duties of the job, as well as the characteristics of the ideal candidate. Be mindful of implicit biases. You should be as detailed as possible to give potential hires a very clear picture of what the role entails, as well as provide context for how the role fits into the company.
This section should list the specific competencies of the role, such as education, experience and skills. It should also be made clear whether these qualities are required or preferred to succeed in the position. Again, consider what is absolutely essential for someone to thrive in this role and mention those requirements at the top.
- How to apply
Last, and perhaps most importantly, you want to include clear directions for how a candidate can apply, whether it’s through an applicant tracking system or directly by email, for example.
Your tone should be consistent with the tone used for other company communications.
In an Indeed Career Guide, they write: “[c]onsider your company's culture and whether a casual or formal tone is more appropriate”. Reach out to your marketing/comms team for guidance on the company tone of voice and even request feedback on your draft job posting.
It’s important to have a consistent tone, one that’s appropriate for both the company and the role. Having a consistent tone will help with writing future job postings, where you won’t have to rewrite the entire posting, just the sections specific to each role.
Where you post your job postings is just as important as what you post.
Additionally, don’t forget to write a catchy headline for the posting: something that’s short but descriptive and will come up easily in people’s search queries (i.e. Copywriter - Software Company). And finally, always make sure to give the posting a thorough edit (or two!). Nothing says unprofessional like typos.