Can we all agree that your job postings and job descriptions are no longer getting the job done? Applying for a new job is asking for someone to change their entire life, and the roughly 500-word list of requirements isn’t going to compel someone to blink twice, let alone go through your arduous application process.
So you need something that will attract passive candidates, validate active candidates’ interest, and answer the questions of your best candidates.
The Hierarchy of Recruitment Content
What you need is recruitment content. And in the world of content, there’s a hierarchy. Here are five things to keep in mind when writing job postings:
1) Highlight your company or brand
This means starting with the basics: who or what is your company or brand? I’m not asking what your logo looks like, but what your company does. What does the brand stand for? Who uses their products? Are you local, regional, national or global? What kinds of people are successful at your company? What do people say about your company?
Answering these questions is the start of answering the bigger question, “Why should I work for you?” Content that talks about the brand, your corporate details and structure, links to your press releases, and material stolen from your marketing team are likely readily available to complete this step. You just have to make sure that the content lives on your career site near your jobs so you aren’t sending intrigued candidates off on wild goose chases for content you should be serving up freely.
2) Provide context around location
The next piece of content you need to build surrounds the job location. Beyond just the address of the job, someone considering applying needs to know what the commute will be like, if there’s parking (and if it’s free), if it’s walkable, and what kind of time commitment you will require.
Then they’ll want to know what’s around the job. Is there good coffee? What will be available for lunch? If they need to run to the bank, is there a local branch? Are they in the middle of the city or out in the sticks? Is there child care nearby or on the way? These are lifestyle questions that encourage or discourage good applicants from even considering the job. Luckily, unless you have hundreds of locations, location-specific content can be useful in answering these questions.
3) Establish what the job entails
Having established who the company is and where the job is, you need t
o build content about the job or role itself. If you think you’re done because you have job descriptions, I suggest you re-read the first paragraph or two of this article.
In this stage, you need to be building content that helps explain what the job really is, not just the requirements of what it takes to be considered for it. Your content here should answer questions about the day-to-day nature of the job, who does it now, and who does it well. Is this a job where someone will be home by 5:30 every day, or should someone need to work 12-14 hour days to be successful? Who will this job report to, and where does that fall in the organization chart? Will someone report to this role? If so, how many people, and what will they need in terms of coaching and managing?
Some jobs assume the candidate will spend all day on the phone, in the field, at various stores, in front of a computer, or in front of people. Indicating that is good, but showing it is far better. What is a day in the life of this job really like? Ask peers to this role to take pictures or videos illustrating what the job really is like. Not only will it make it clear, giving a first-hand glimpse into the role, it will humanize the company and the department.
4) Define experience needed for success
But that’s just table stakes for attracting great talent. Once you’ve built a solid foundation of content related to the company, the location and the job, it’s time to focus on the experience of the work. At this stage, the prospect likely understands the job, but will want insight into the team, the processes and the policies of working for you before applying.
This content isn’t easy to build. You might want to create an oral history of the team, explaining their origins, or a recent change or issue where the team came together and bonded. Sure, you can start with pictures of office lunches and picnics, but everyone knows those are special occasions indicative of almost nothing. You need to find ways of telling the authentic story.
Since it’s so hard to capture this experience, we suggest you start by leveraging the team, asking them questions, and prompting them for pictures and stories about life in the office.
5) Humanize the message & include testimonials
Finally, we reach the pinnacle of recruiting content: showing the path to personal and professional satisfaction. Telling the story of how someone in this or similar roles moved from frustration to satisfaction can smack of sentimentality or unearned emotion. But that’s what the best candidates are truly looking for.
Like the previous stage, you can build content yourself, or involve the staff. They might be more willing to talk about their paths, the good and the bad, the easy and the hard, in honest terms.
And don’t forget going to Glassdoor to find people’s success stories. Many people feel awkward answering your questions about their course to job satisfaction, but they will be more willing to tell complete strangers anonymously. Go find those reviews and highlight them.