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10 Mistakes You're Making in Your Job Postings

How much thought do you put into the job postings you publish online? Is it just a template that you never edit? Did a hiring manager throw it together and nobody reviewed it? If you’re not putting much thought into job postings and at the same time questioning why people don’t apply, perhaps it’s time to change your ways. Here are a few mistakes we’ve seen people make over the years. Once fixed, we consistently see a larger stream of applicants coming through.

  1. Inaccurate Job Titles: Have you ever seen an article on your LinkedIn or Facebook feed that looked interesting and when you clicked on it, realized it was nothing what they promised? If you think that’s frustrating, it’s worse when you’re a job seeker. Regardless of how tempting it may be to spice up the job title so people click into it, this practice will not generate more qualified applicants.

  2. Weird Job Titles: Where an inaccurate job title may get you more clicks, weird ones will get many less so people will never learn about your opportunity. Try to stick with generic titles that people understand. If you are searching for someone to write proposals for example, you may have difficulty finding a Proposal Writer but more success with a job title such as Writer/Editor.

  3. Vague Description: When the right person clicks into your job, make sure they understand what it is and if they fit. A vague description could have a number of adverse effects, including the person not realizing they’re a fit (when they are a perfect fit) or an impression that you didn’t care enough to customize the posting.

  4. Massive Amounts of Content: People have short attention spans; this is a reality that you need to accept. Writing your job posting in the form of an essay, or including 50 bullet points, is going to result in very few applications and many more page exits.

  5. Limited Information: On the contrary, not enough information is also a negative thing. Now you’ll have everybody and their brother applying to your job because they all think they’re qualified. Good luck screening those resumes.

  6. Boring: A common mistake made by companies wanting to be perceived as professional and intelligent is that they write their descriptions using obscure words and complex phrasing. Unless you’re specifically targeting this type of resource, try dumbing it down for an easier and more casual read.

  7. Unprofessional: Although we don’t want you to “boring” we also don’t want you to be unprofessional. This can happen when recruiters have so much fun creating a job posting that it looks like a kindergarten application, but it can also happen if you fail to proof-read.

  8. Boilerplate: One strategy to get a job posting published sooner and ensure it’s been proof-read is to have some templates available. This is helpful, but applicants may recognize your boilerplate and it could get you into trouble with points 3 and 6 above, so take a few minutes to customize it.

  9. Unrealistic: Sure, we’d all love to find that iOS Developer with 8 years of experience using Windows 10 and the ability to perform a root canal, but it’s not going to happen. If you’re not receiving any applicants, take a step back and ask yourself if you may be asking for too many qualifications from your candidates.

  10. Failure to Write for Your Audience: Finally, this last mistake gives you permission to ignore any of the points above. Your primary goal needs to be writing for your audience, for example are they contractors or permanent employees? Although less common, some roles require a vague description, others can be super boring, where others may even succeed with a weird title. The key is to truly understand your target audience and who you’re trying to attract, and then write a job posting for them.

The job posting you publish to your careers page or a job board is the first impression a new applicant will have of your company. A terrible posting can result in a lost opportunity of an application from a talented candidate, meaning you will never even know that this person exists. Rather than letting candidates screen you, ensure the description you use to advertise the job opening encourages them to apply so, instead, you’re screening them!