How to write an effective job posting to attract the best talent

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How to write an effective job posting to attract the best talent

how to write an effective job posting to find the best talent

Job postings are the first point of contact between your company and your future employees.

If you want to attract the right candidates, it's essential to write an effective job posting that will resonate with them.

A compelling job posting can help your company stand out from the crowd, which will allow you to fill your vacancy faster.

The question is: what is a good job posting and how can you craft it? 

In this article, we'll give you tips and ideas on how to write great job postings.

Table of contents:



What is a job posting and why is it important to write a good one?

Job postings are one of the most crucial elements of recruiting qualified candidates for vacancies in your company.

It’s a general guide, created to provide the necessary information for a job position and to introduce the company to potential employees. 

Initially, job listings were published in newspapers. Now they’re posted on job boards, career sites, and staffing agencies. The further the reach, the bigger the potential for the right hire. 

But why are job postings so important?

Many hiring teams use a template for their listings to keep them as similar as possible and maintain a consistent company brand.

Should you put effort into creating individual postings when you can use a simple template? What purpose does a posting serve? 

Here are some of the functions that a good job posting seeks to fulfill:

functions that a good job posting seeks to fulfill

1. Present the company and its culture

First impressions are important and your job listing will have a huge impact on how the potential candidates view your company. Make sure you represent it well: this will help you attract the right kind of applicants. 

Aside from the more general things, such as what type of business you’re running, you can showcase information such as how many years you have been in business, some of your interesting projects or clients, or the kind of equipment you work with. 

It’s also important to talk about your company culture — attracting candidates which have a big culture add potential is great for business!

2. Describe the opening

The next step is to let people know what they’re signing up for: aim for accuracy and a detail-oriented approach.

What are the duties and responsibilities of the role? Applicants should know what will be expected of them if they’re hired.

But remember that accuracy doesn’t mean exhaustion. List the essential functions of the position without going to great lengths to describe them. 

3. Outline the qualifications and skills required of the ideal candidate

This is the easiest way to filter out candidates who aren’t right for the position. And it will also help you to avoid bad hires, which in turn improves retention rates and reduces turnover. 

Don’t be afraid to list as many qualifications as you deem necessary, but also remember it’s important to have realistic requirements for the position. According to HBR, this is proving to be a challenge for many recruiters. 

4. Help candidates assess if they’d be a good fit for the position

Sometimes people apply for jobs they don’t want and aren’t qualified for, and that may happen because the job posting didn’t provide clear enough information about the vacancy. 

A good job posting saves a lot of resources for both your company and the candidates, because it helps them get a better grasp of the position and whether they’d be an appropriate fit.

5. Take the candidates through the application process

Don’t leave your applicants in the dark: describe step by step what happens from when people first apply to when they’re hired.

This can be particularly useful if the position you’re looking to fill only requires an interview before you pick the right candidate. 

The people who are immediately available will apply to listings that describe a short hiring process; if your hiring process is longer, you can also target candidates who aren’t instantly available.

Further reading: How to optimize your hiring process with online skills assessment



Job postings vs. job descriptions: What’s the difference?

Another thing you should know about how to write effective job postings is that job postings are not the same as job descriptions. 

Job descriptions are documents that list the main responsibilities of a job in detail: What the employee’s duties are, who they will report to, what qualifications and skills are necessary for the position, and other stuff like that. It’s best to write a job description in a concise and even what some might call a dry manner. 

On the other hand, job postings are better described as advertisements for the vacancy. 

You want to write a compelling title that will grab the attention of potential candidates. Summarizing the most interesting parts of the job is the priority, rather than listing all the employee’s duties. 

Another thing that you’ll want to do in a good job posting is describe your company, the job position you’re hiring for, and other details like your business’s location, the gear that will be used for the job, and any perks your company offers. And you should do this in a way which would attract more applicants. Make it sound captivating! 



Questions to ask yourself when writing a job posting

If you aim to find a suitable employee for your company, you need to optimize the recruiting process, starting at one of the very first stages: the job posting.

If you put more time into planning an efficient job posting, you may find the right candidate for your vacancy faster. 

But what is a good job posting?

Before we guide you through the process of how to write a good job posting ad, let’s figure out what information you need to collect.

To prepare yourself for writing a good job posting that will attract the right talent, you and the hiring team need to define:

1. What is the precise definition of the role & its duties?

This section should help the candidate get a clear overview of the job position and its responsibilities. It’s best to tailor it based on the level of the role. 

If it’s a supervisory role, for example, explain more about the positions they’ll be overseeing and the expected outcomes of their management.

If it’s a posting for an hourly paid job, focus on critical tasks, the pace of the working environment, and the working hours. For example, does the position come with a flexible schedule? Or working on shifts? Specify this in the job posting.

2. What is the ideal persona for this role? 

What kind of person would fit the vacancy best? From which type of employee will your company profit the most? 

If you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for, you won’t be able to recognize it, especially if there are a large number of applications. 

There are two types of skills you should define: hard skills and soft skills. 

  • Hard skills are the qualifications necessary for the practical side of the job. For example, if you’re hiring an app developer, they need to be fluent in the programming languages they will be using at work. 

  • Soft skills are personal attributes that you need to succeed in a working environment — those you need to find in your perfect candidate depend on the specifics of the job. For example, if you’re looking for an editor, you should hire someone with great attention to detail. 

Further reading: A list of the top soft skills, per industry, every recruiter should be looking for

Another thing about the ideal candidate that you should keep in mind is that there are must-have skills and nice-to-have skills.

Don’t frighten away potential candidates by listing too many qualifications in your job posting. Define which skills are vital for the proper execution of the job and which would be a nice bonus.

You can read more about assessing the different types of skills with the help of skills assessments in this recruiter's guide to candidate skills assessment tests.

3. What is your company culture and how will the ideal candidate fit in it?

Your company’s culture is its personality. 

It’s important to introduce it to your candidates before you employ them. Almost three-quarters (73%) of professionals have left their job because of a poor cultural fit. This means there’s a huge risk of lowering your retention rate if you can’t hire candidates who match the company’s values and enjoy the environment. 

You need to clearly define your company’s mission, ethics, values, working environment and configuration, and interactions between team members. You’ll also want to make sure the ideal candidate will have a strong culture add potential. 

4. What are the overarching traits of your most successful employees in a similar role?

Do you have any employees who have a similar or even the same role as the one you’re looking to fill? 

Think about those employees that you consider to be the most productive and successful: 

  • What are their overarching traits? 
  • Do they all have something in common? 
  • Which of their skills are the most prominent and developed? 
  • Are their personalities similar in some way and if so, how? 

These questions can guide you in the right direction when it comes to defining the ideal candidate for your job vacancy.

5. What is the hierarchical structure of the team or department?

Consider the structure of the department you’re hiring for:

  • What does the chain of command look like? 
  • What are its advantages and disadvantages? 
  • Regarding the position you’re looking to fill, where does it fit in the hierarchy? 
  • Who will your employee answer to? 
  • Are they going to supervise someone on the team? 

These are all things to think about before you start working on your job posting.

6. How will the employee interact with other employees and teams?

When you come to think about how your new employee will fit into your company, there are some things you’ll need to consider: 

  • Do you need a communicative, more sociable person for this job position? 
  • What type of interaction will they have with the other employees?
  • Are they going to be mostly remote access or not? 
  • What kind of working relationships will you expect your future employee to develop and maintain? 

Connections at work are a vital part of most jobs.

Your company depends on the ability of your employees to work well in a team and keep up their productivity together. It’s good to look at the bigger picture, regardless of what job opening you’re looking to fill.

7. What will the onboarding process look like?

The onboarding process serves to transform systematically and purposefully the candidates into top employees. It’s not to be confused with orientation, which is just the first phase of onboarding.

Onboarding is a long process that may take up to twelve months. Keep in mind that a strong onboarding process improves new hire retention by 82% and increases productivity by 70%. 

To map out your onboarding process, ask yourself the following: 

  • When will it start? 
  • How long should the process take for the position you’re looking to fill? 
  • What impression do you want to leave on your new employee? 
  • What role will the HR team play in the onboarding process? What about the new hire’s coworkers? 
  • What kind of goals will you set throughout the process? 

To help with creating an efficient onboarding strategy, you can refer to our guide on how to improve your onboarding process with an onboarding checklist.

8. What is the deadline for making a hiring decision?

Defining a clear deadline for your hiring process will help you plan things out.

How much time do you have? Is the vacancy affecting the team’s productivity? 

It’s always good to hire someone fast, but rushing into recruiting someone just because you’re pressured by deadlines can cost your company a lot: 30% of companies report that the reason they made a bad hire was because the hiring team was pressured to fill the vacant role quickly

So make sure you know how much time you have and plan things out accordingly.

9. Is the compensation package (salary + benefits) being offered competitive for the position, industry, and geographical location? 

When you’re writing a job posting, you may feel tempted to focus solely on describing what will be required of your future employee, because you want to make sure the candidates know what they’re signing up for. 

However, it’s important to remember your end of the deal, too: what benefits are you offering your employees? Is the compensation package competitive, and does it equal or exceed the industry standards for similar jobs?

Think about the perks and benefits you’re offering. What can attract potential applicants to your company? Is the location easily accessible? Can the employee work remotely? 

Studies show that working from home increases productivity and was gaining popularity even before the pandemic. Remote hiring and remote work are becoming a big part of the working process of every company. Even though they present a few challenges, there are ways to increase the benefits of remote hiring

Further reading: HR best practices for compensation and benefits

10. What are the career growth opportunities of the role?

Job seekers invariably care about their future, so you need to address these questions in the job posting:

  • What future does this role offer? 
  • Are there career growth opportunities in your company? 
  • How can your employees access these opportunities?



How to write a great job posting to attract top talent

Now that you’ve clearly defined the necessary information, you can start writing the job posting itself.

We’re going to guide you through it step by step, but before that, a few general tips:

  • Keep it short. Try to stay within a 300-700 word limit. If the posting is too long, people may lose interest.
  • Be as clear as possible. Avoid any vague terms and use straightforward language and active verbs.
  • Structure the posting well. It’s way easier to understand structured writing that applicants can navigate easily.
  • Stay realistic. The job posting is an advertisement, yes, but there is no need to go overboard. Keep it in tune with your company culture and values.

With this advice in mind, you can start writing an effective job posting.

1. Write a compelling title

You can use this tool to help you with the classification title. If it’s not descriptive of the duties of the job position or it sounds too unclear, come up with a more catchy posting title that will attract talent.

2. Introduce your company and organizational culture

Describe your values, your mission, and your history to help applicants to know you and relate to you. 

3. Describe the job

This includes duties, responsibilities, team, hierarchical structure, etc. Be specific without going into unnecessary detail. 

4. Describe the ideal candidate

What are the minimum requirements? What skills and experience should they have? Be clear and realistic — defining realistic requirements for job vacancies can prove to be a challenge. 

5. Outline the hiring process and its phases

Let the applicants know what to expect.

Are you going to conduct structured interviews? Will you be using any skill tests?

Pre-employment testing can be a powerful tool for assessing the strengths of your candidates. 

6. Give a clear call to action (CTA) and contact information

Provide information about the next steps the candidates should take and use active verbs and concise structure, for example, “follow the link to apply”. That encourages people to engage with your job posting.

7. Provide information on compensation

Advertise the benefits your company offers. That’s a huge motivating factor for applicants. Focus on describing the most attractive perks of the job.

8. Reread and edit the job posting

Excellence requires care and patience. Read your job posting again and have other people read it, too. They may provide much-needed feedback that will help you when you edit the posting.

Writing an efficient job posting can help you attract the best talent

Writing a good job posting isn’t enough to guarantee a fast and efficient hiring process. But it’s definitely a big step in that direction, and it can help you attract the attention of top talent.

Following a few simple guidelines can help you craft a creative and compelling job posting and attract the right candidates for the job vacancies at your company.

With TestGorilla, you’ll find the recruitment process to be simpler, faster, and much more effective. Get started for free today and start making better hiring decisions, faster and bias-free.

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