Avoid these job posting mistakes to get more qualified candidates to apply

Avoid these job posting mistakes to get more qualified candidates to apply

As many employers can confirm, a company's ability to hire the right people can greatly influence its short- and long-term success. While it's important to research general and industry-specific ways to attract quality professionals, learning what not to do when looking for new hires is also key. Knowing how to avoid job posting mistakes can improve your chances of finding and attracting qualified employees. It also prevents you from wasting your time with unqualified candidates.

By avoiding the job posting mistakes below, you can improve both your organization's talent pool and its bottom line.

Don't make the job application process more complicated than it has to be

Although it may be tempting to get as much information on candidates as possible, overloading the job application form can discourage them from applying. It helps to remember that you're not special to them — not yet, anyway. You're probably just one job ad among the dozens they browsed through today and the hundreds they considered this week.

Try to find the right balance between getting the information you want and ensuring the candidate can send the job application in a few minutes. Make it easy for them to complete the application form, upload their resume, and submit the application.

Make sure you don't miss any necessary information

While it's advisable not to ask candidates for too much information, it's just as important to give them all the details they need to make an informed decision. Some basic aspects of a job posting that you shouldn't ignore include:

  • The job title: Although many companies tend to get creative when coming up with job titles, a classic approach is usually best. Conventional titles are less likely to confuse the candidates and more likely to appear higher on search engine results pages.
  • The job goals: It's usually best to be as straightforward as possible regarding the job opening's purpose. This helps a candidate understand how they can contribute to the organization's success and decide if it's something they'd like to pursue.
  • The job-specific tasks and responsibilities: After outlining the overall objectives of the open role, it helps to go into the specifics of the job by listing the tasks the new hire is required to perform. Also, include the responsibilities associated with the role and how it integrates with the rest of the staff.

Don't think you can get away with not mentioning the salary and benefits

People work for material rewards. As basic as this may seem, many employers think they can convince quality candidates to apply for their open positions without giving them a general idea of what they can expect to earn in the job postings.

You don't have to include an exact number, as the employee's salary may depend on multiple factors. Think of a salary range instead, and include other benefits you're willing to offer, such as health care insurance plans, 401(k) contributions, paid time off, access to company facilities, and any perks you think may be attractive to a potential employee.

Don't overload the posting with required skills and qualifications

While it may be tempting to include everything you hope to find in a candidate, stuffing the job posting with too many requirements may discourage suitable prospects. Think about the basic requirements to be competent in that position, and only include those. While you may receive more applications from unqualified candidates, you can at least be sure you aren't missing out on qualified individuals who were discouraged by the long list of requirements.

Depending on how important the role is to your organization's current operations, it may be preferable not to include too many advanced skills. Unless you need candidates to be proficient from day one, consider emphasizing personality traits instead, such as motivation, willingness to learn, adaptability, work ethic, and loyalty. While it might take a while to get a candidate to the appropriate level, it's likely to pay off in the long run.

"Knowing how to avoid job posting mistakes can improve your chances of finding and attracting qualified employees."

Don't overemphasize formal education

Again, this depends on the open position. If you're going to hire someone in an engineering role, you will probably need to ensure they're a qualified engineer. However, many roles aren't that strict regarding the formal education a candidate needs to be competent, so you may be able to expand your talent pool by keeping the educational requirements to a minimum.

There's no guarantee someone with a bachelor's degree in a certain field will do a better job than someone who went straight into the workforce after graduating from high school. Stipulating a degree may also discourage otherwise qualified candidates from applying.

Don't stuff the job posting with keywords

Job posting keywords are specific words and phrases that HR specialists include in a job ad to improve its chances of appearing in people's searches. While incorporating relevant words for each job opening can help it reach the right candidates, stuffing too many in your job posting can have the opposite effect. First, a text with too many keywords stands out in a negative way because it looks and sounds unnatural. Second, search engines have evolved to spot keyword stuffing and downgrade the search ranking for pages that engage in this practice. 

Pick your spots and include keywords in strategic locations throughout your job ad. Using one in the title and another in the skills list is usually an acceptable way to take advantage of keywords without overdoing them.

Don't rush to post the job ad without checking it for errors

Would you respect a job candidate who sends you a resume filled with grammatical and spelling errors? Well, this works both ways, and people who are thinking of applying to your open positions may be put off by ads full of mistakes. Even the smallest errors can put your organization in a negative light, so read each job posting thoroughly and repeatedly before publishing it. You may consider asking someone else to read it, just in case you missed anything.

Don't use too many unnecessary words

Some people think using complicated jargon and long sentences makes them look smarter and more professional. The effect is usually the opposite, as candidates are likely to be turned off by the need to reread a sentence several times just to understand what the author is trying to say. Try to use a friendly and straightforward tone instead.

Don't use the third person

Some job descriptions seem to be referring to an imaginary third party instead of appealing directly to the reader. There's no point in saying "The successful candidate will have the following tasks and responsibilities," when you can say "If you get the role, you'll have these tasks and responsibilities." Speaking directly to the potential candidates can help them visualize themselves in that role, making them more likely to find your job posting appealing and give it serious consideration.

Finding the right candidates for your open positions isn't only about reaching the right people and convincing them to apply. It's also a competition with other companies in your field, so any qualified candidate you miss may end up helping your competitors. Keeping that in mind when drafting your job postings and making sure you avoid the mistakes on this list can do wonders for your recruitment efforts and your organization's future.

Learn more about effective hiring practices:

Find out why workers prioritize stability and how to give it to them.

Learn how to write better job descriptions to attract quality candidates.

Discover how to reach the right candidates by simplifying your hiring process.

Here are seven things to include in your job postings (and two to leave out) to attract the right attention.

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