Nov 8, 2013

Put yourself in your prospective employee’s shoes. What would make you apply for the job you’re listing?

Are you looking for a title, more money, or career advancement? Most people want these things, and most companies claim they can offer all of them and more.

So, why is it so difficult to find highly qualified candidates for your open position among the hundreds of resumes you receive from online job postings?

The answer may lie in the content and quality of your online job listing, which has to not only reflect what you want from a candidate, but what a superstar candidate would want from you.

Your post is speaking to you — listen!

That stack of resumes sitting on your desk is a data goldmine. Chances are the majority of them don’t interest you — but they should.

What kinds of candidates are you attracting? Are they consistently missing certain qualifications? If the wrong candidates are responding, determine if there is something in your listing, perhaps a word or phrase, that may be sending the wrong message.

For good candidates, determine what you think they found appealing about the position and listing. If you interview them, ask them. If the right candidates are responding to certain aspects of your job listing, make those more prominent and eliminate the irrelevant.

In many cases a job listing is too vague or generic. It casts a wide net, but yields few prospects. Greater specificity might get you fewer applications, and 10 qualified candidates beat 200 bad ones.

First impressions matter

A first impression can be nearly impossible to reverse or undo, and your online job listing may be the first impression a highly qualified job candidate gets about your company. All of a sudden that simple job posting might not be so simple after all.

The best online job postings speak to candidates in ways that go beyond title, requirements, and simple facts about the company. They convey company personality, culture, and values, help differentiate you in your industry, and emphasize careers over jobs.

The listing is not only about what candidates can do for your company, but what you can do for them and their careers.

The portal to your employer brand

Apple was named the most valuable brand in the world this year by the Best Global Brands report, a widely followed ranking of the world’s best companies based on financial performance, role in influencing consumer purchase, and ability to secure earnings. The company tends to attract the best and brightest.

This is how prospective job candidates are greeted when they visit the first page of the job section on the Apple website:

Amaze yourself. Amaze the world. A job at Apple is unlike any other you’ve had. You’ll be challenged. You’ll be inspired. And you’ll be proud. Because whatever your job is here, you’ll be part of something big.”

The look, feel, and language of the Apple job postings are consistent with the company’s consumer brand, but speak specifically to the kind of employees they want working for them. The next click leads prospective employees to listings for more than 600 jobs from engineer to “Genius” at their retail stores.

Both active job seekers, and even more passive job candidates, expect companies to tell them “How could working for your company make my life better?” One of the first places you can begin to paint the picture is in your online job listing.

The words, thoughts, and images and how you communicate them will either create a bridge or roadblock to your company. If it’s a bridge, the next click may transport them to your office for an interview.

The difference between getting the highly talented passive candidate or the overly ambitious, paper-the-world, non-qualified job seeker, may be a click away.

Your job listing is your resume

Every job seeker has heard the mantra, “The resume gets you the interview, and the interview gets you the job.” Think of your online job listing as your resume, but this resume gets you the hire.

Just like we as employers expect candidates to tailor their applications and resumes to best speak to opportunities with our companies — don’t expect a bland job description blasted to the masses will attract that superstar candidate you are looking for.

Tell the superstar who you are, what you have to offer, and why he or she should work for you. Get your “resume” to the top of the stack.

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