Last week, Zappos surprised a lot of people in the recruiting world by announcing that they would no longer be posting ads for open positions at the company. They did so in the belief that job postings are an inefficient and overly transactional method for identifying and recruiting those candidates that would be the best fit for the organization.
This is a radical step and, at least at this point, few companies are willing to follow suit. Still, this move by Zappos should get everyone to ask themselves why their posts aren't actually getting them the steady stream of qualified candidates they are looking for.
Here are the five most common reasons job posts don't work:
- The job title is too "inside." When creating a job post, you have to make sure the title is functional and adequately describes the position. For instance, if the job is "account executive," but your company has more of an upbeat brand with a relaxed culture, you may internally refer to this position as a client advocate. While "client advocate" may seem to be self explanatory to you, it could mean a lot of different things to people outside your organization. If "account executive" accurately describes role, then for the sake of attracting the right applicants, it makes sense to list it as such.
- It's not scannable. As Erika Oliver, Director of Internal Recruiting at Aquent points out, “Most job seekers are scanning. They are on the hunt for the right job and will look at a job post and scan the details before deciding to apply, or to ignore it. By organizing key responsibilities with bullet-points, the readability of the post will increase and catch the attention of the right people.” Use bullet points and headers to separate sections and allow the potential applicant to scan the important facts as easily as possible.
- The actual location of the job is unclear. Too many posts fail to specify exactly where the applicant will be working (even if it is off-site) and therefore miss out on qualified applicants who use that detail when determining whether to apply or not. Oliver points out that, today, millennials form a large portion of the talent pool and many of them are looking for flexibility in location (option to work from home and/or travel). If the position offers that kind of flexibility, or includes regular opportunities to be out of the office, be sure to mention it in the post.
- The post doesn't adequately represent your brand. As with anything the company publishes, a job post contributes to the overall representation of your brand. Do not forget this when crafting the post and make sure the language and style paint an accurate picture not only of the job itself, but also what it will be like to work for your company and, more importantly, what your company stands for.
- No CTA. This may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many times companies neglect to make it crystal clear how to actually apply for the job. You don't want to frustrate qualified candidates by hiding the "apply" link or making the process overly cumbersome. At the same time, if there are elements of the application that are essential—code or work samples, for example—be sure to spell that out and specify exactly how you would like to receive such material.
Zappos may still be right that the job application process is inefficient and broken, and that job posts are part of the problem, but if you avoid the five missteps outlined above, you will at least ensure that your posts are as good as they can possibly be.
If you have any other ideas on how to improve job posts, please leave a comment!