April 7, 2016

Why Your Job Posts Aren’t Working


As the founder and CEO of DentalPost, an online job board for the dental industry, Tonya Lanthier has seen her fair share of bad job advertisements.

You know the type: nothing more than a boring job title, a list of qualifications, and an email address to send resumes to.

“That’s too generic. You’re not going to get a good response when you write an ad like that,” Lanthier says. “Job ads are just like dating – you need to sell yourself a little bit!”

By “sell yourself,” Lanthier means you need to write job advertisements that accurately and clearly convey the culture of your company and the environment of your office. Much in the same way that you need to get to know someone before you’re ready to commit to a long-term relationship with them, job seekers need to get to know your company before they’ll feel comfortable applying to work there.

Given all the talk about employer branding and consumer candidates in HR and recruiting circles today, you’d think this would be common knowledge by now – but in Lanthier’s experience, it isn’t.

Don’t Get Lazy – You Have to Work on Those Job Descriptions

Or, if it is common knowledge, recruiters and HR pros aren’t putting that knowledge into practice. Lanthier says that, in her opinion, the most common cause of bad job descriptions is sheer laziness.

“I think people just don’t take the time to do it,” she explains. “They throw up an ad really quickly and think they’re going to get a lot of applicants. But [good recruiting] is about more than putting out an ad and getting a warm body to fill the spot.”

Lanthier believes that recruiters and HR pros need to put more time, attention, and care into their job descriptions. The primary concern of any job advertisement should be to give applicants an accurate picture of what it’s like to work for the company.

“You need to tell [job seekers] if you’re cool, if you’re high-paying, if you have a relaxed office. You need to describe your environment,” Lanthier says.

ComicsA key way to do this is to give your company’s core values plenty of real estate in your job ads.

“You want to tell [job seekers] what your core values are so they can decide if they want to join your culture, your family,” Lanthier says.

Go Beyond the List – Imbue Your Whole Job Post With the Company’s Values

This doesn’t mean all you have to do is list your company’s core values in your next job ad. That’s a good start, but it’s not totally convincing – especially if the rest of your job post is business as usual.

Lanthier suggests weaving your company’s core values into every aspect of a job post. Everything from the job title to the key responsibilities and the required qualifications should reflect your organization’s culture and values.

“You want to show off who you are and what you are, so the person knows if they will fit in,” Lanthier says.

This is as much for your organization as it is for potential job seekers. You don’t want candidates who won’t fit in with your culture to apply to your ads. First of all, sorting through such bad-fit candidates is a waste of your time. Secondly, in the event that you do hire a bad-fit candidate, that candidate is going to struggle at your company. That candidate will be more likely to leave more quickly, and you’ll be left paying those hefty turnover costs.

A culture-centric job post, on the other hand, will attract (mostly) candidates who mesh with your culture. This makes it easier for you to find the right candidates and hire the right people for your company. It also makes it much easier to build and maintain a strong and productive company culture.

“If you hire the right people, and you put them in the right seats, and they fit, you’re going to have happy employees and a happy culture,” Lanthier says. “People will do better work when they’re happy and the culture is happy.”

What Does a Good Job Post Look Like?

MotorcycleDentalPost keeps records of the job advertisements that really wow the staff. Here’s one of Lanthier’s favorites, scrubbed of identifying details for the sake of privacy:

Dynamic, full-time, RDH [Registered Dental Hygienist] position available in an outstanding practice located in G.A. We are seeking a positive, hard-working, intelligent, professional, and highly motivated team player with excellent communication skills and attention to detail. Yes, we are looking to add a rock star to our top-notch team!

Our team is committed to excellence in all aspects of patient care and dentistry. We believe in the importance of patient relationships built on mutual respect, kindness, and trust. If exceptional care and a healthy work culture appeal to you, we would love to meet you. 

Notice how this post gets the generic stuff out of the way quickly (title, location, full-time status) and spends the rest of its length conveying the company’s culture and values? That’s a pretty great rule of thumb to follow when it comes to writing powerful job posts.

By describing the kind of person it is looking for, the employer helps candidates self-select into or out of the application process based on how they measure up. Effectively, this job post screens candidates before they are even candidates!

The post also spends time in the second paragraph on establishing a clear picture of what the company is like. Job seekers know that patient relationships really matter to this employer.

If you’re struggling with writing attractive job posts that catch the right eyes, try using this example as a template of sorts. Just don’t lean on it too much. Remember: Your job post should convey your company’s culture, not anyone else’s.

Matthew Kosinski is the managing editor of Recruiter.com.