Talent Strategy

Crafting Better Tech Job Postings

Good help is hard to find.”  There’s a reason this saying is still with us, even in a world in which people can submit their resumes to you with a few clicks, after finding your job posting a few clicks before.  While it may often not feel true, there are actually lots of great candidates in the marketplace and the best way to reach them is to start with a well-crafted job posting.  In this article we’ll give you a few techniques to do just that.

Title

This may have occurred to you already, but the days of using words like “ninja” and “guru” in the job title for your prospective employee have passed.  While they were fun and irreverent in their time, they are just vague and a bit too casual these days.  “Customer Service Ninja“?  What does that even mean?  Creative > Casual.

Don’t reinvent the wheel – use commonly accepted terms.  If you’re looking for a Software Engineer, make sure the word Engineer appears in the Title.  Then feel free to be creative, as long as it gives insight into what the person will be doing.  Apple famously titled one of their “senior engineer” roles in a job posting as “Senior Armageddon Avoidance Engineer.”  Right away someone sees a fun culture, but also gets insight into the role – risk management within a software environment.

One more tip?  Titles under 50-60 characters outperform those that are longer by more than 30%.  Less is more.

Overview

Did you know the average candidate spends less than a minute perusing a job listing (49.7 seconds, if you wanted to know)?  Follow a smart and catchy title with a tight overview.  It can be as short as one sentence but should not be more than four.  Make sure you communicate the job’s major function and how this function relates to bigger company objectives.  Just as we dumped terms like “ninja” above, dump qualifiers like “world class” and “best of the best.”  No one is looking for mediocre, and these adjectives make you seem anything but world class, counterintutively.

Description

A big DON’T here?  Do not give a boring long set of bulleted job tasks.  It’s not a question of not being useful.  Surely, in a certain sense, a list of tasks is helpful.  But remember, we have a limited amount of time to engage our candidate and their eyes will start to swim after the 10th bullet.  If you must use bullets, keep them to 5-7 at the most, and try to summarize the responsibilities.  You can also go for the Amazon memo method and craft something narrative that gives the candidate a sense of the rhythm of the work without loading them down with minutiae they can learn later if he/she ends up being a good fit for you.

Cultural fit is important, as we’ve discussed previously here, so feel free to post to social media links of your company having fun, volunteering, or just showcasing a day at the office.  This will put some color into your outline.

If you’re feeling stuck (or even if you’re not), don’t hesitate to ask current employees to help with writing a description for the position, particularly if they will be working in the same department or reporting order as that person.  Employees can give that small insight or personalization about the role that might just catch an applicant’s eye.  Oh, and don’t forget to post a salary!

Contact Information

Nothing says impersonal like “jobs@” or “info@” at the end of a job listing.  There will be a person or persons that the candidate will eventually speak to, so why not start with that?  You’ll also be giving the most enterprising among the applicants to search social media to add an additional layer of connection to that first outreach.

Want to add a hurdle that may help you narrow down to the best candidates?  Add a request for a video.  It can be as short as one minute, and they can share a dropbox or unlisted youtube link on whatever theme you ask of them: best quality, great job experience, or describing a great colleague (current or former), just to throw out a few ideas.

Finishing Touches

We’re channeling your English teacher from years past here, but please do proofread (multiple times) and feel free to use bold and italics (did you see we followed our own advice?) to create breaks in your description and highlight things you feel are important or fun.

Can’t get enough tips?  Check out our article for more tips on hiring the best in tech.


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Stephen writes about startups, hiring and career issues for VocaWorks.