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Write a Job Posting Applicants Will Want to Read

Written by Emily Enriquez

The number of job postings available to job seekers has exploded thanks to the internet, but this increased visibility doesn’t necessarily benefit recruiters. With so many job descriptions to read through, applicants no longer have the patience to comb through a company’s posting line by line. This is especially true for postings that are structured as dense blocks of text. 

According to a study from the Nielson Norman Group, people only read about 20% of the content on a typical web page, on average. Online job postings are no different. Applicants often skim over a high volume of job postings and make quick decisions about their interest in the job opportunity. If your company is currently experiencing a shortage of responses to your job postings, then the style of your postings may be to blame. Here are a few tips to keep applicants engaged by making some simple adjustments to the readability of your online job descriptions: 

Language

Prior to writing your posting, think of the tone you want to convey to applicants. Certain vocabulary can impact how an applicant views your company. For example, addressing an applicant as “candidate” or “applicant” in your posting can signal a formal and impersonal workplace. This can potentially deter applicants that want to work in a less formal setting. 

Instead, keep applicants interested in your posting by engaging with your applicant directly. Rather than referring to an applicant as a candidate, consider referring to them in the second person, using “you” to establish an air of familiarity. Using the second person comes across as personal and implies a less stuffy workplace. 

Also, take the time to double check that the language you use in your job postings doesn’t unintentionally discourage different genders from applying. You can run the content of your job posting through a gender decoder, which can flag any word choices that could have an unintended effect. (For even more actionable advice, check out our blog post on 6 Simple Steps to Reduce Gender Bias in Your Job Descriptions).

 

Structure 

According to a study from Perficient Digital, a majority of website traffic comes from mobile devices. However, many recruiters create job postings on their desktops. This disconnect between the device used to write a job posting and the device that postings are read on could contribute to an applicant’s disengagement from your job posting.  

Job postings written on a desktop are structured for a larger screen. This means there can be a drastic difference between the way your posting looks on desktop versus on mobile. On a desktop, a posting might appear to have short paragraphs that are easy for an applicant to read. But paragraphs can become large blocks of texts on mobile devices that are off-putting to read. 

To avoid this problem, take time to view how your job posting looks on a mobile device before publishing it. A lot of the biggest issues can be resolved by simply creating shorter paragraphs or by listing out information in bullet points to keep your job requirements readable.

 

Responsibilities 

One study conducted by Jobvite found that only 47% of job seekers  believe that job descriptions accurately portray actual job responsibilities. That’s right. Less than half of job seekers actually believe what they read in a job description. 

Be more realistic with job responsibilities by including only a few key responsibilities of a position rather than a laundry list of every possible responsibility. Shortening the responsibility list for a job keeps applicants engaged with your posting and makes it immediately clear what the job actually entails. A quick list of three to five main responsibilities provides applicants with a better understanding of what a position requires in the day to day. It also lets them know if they will be able to perform the most important responsibilities. 

Overall, applicants will be more engaged with postings that favor quality of details over quantity. Writing job postings more concisely makes it easier for quality applicants to quickly decide whether they will be a good fit for your company. 

Emily Enriquez

Written by Emily Enriquez

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