What Tech Hiring Managers Should Know About Writing Job Posts


Simple and effective techniques for writing good job posts that increase application rates

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Written by

Miguel Marques

Apr 18, 2020 | 7 MIN READ

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Get the Job Post Template + Example

Access the template to write an effective job post in half the time. Draw inspiration from a frontend developer job post example.

Effective Job Post Template

Writing an effective job post is a crucial step in the recruitment process. Nevertheless, it’s a topic that is widely misunderstood by most companies (including some very popular ones as we’ll see ahead).

Most job posts seem like they’re stuck in time. They seem to have been written by narcissistic companies who only focus on themselves and allow candidates the privilege of applying for a chance to join them.

They’re also absurdly vague in what the role consists of and what candidates are expected to do.

effective-job-post/JobPost_Instagram_Apr2020.png Instagram Job Post, April 2020

And to top it off, in order for candidates to be worthy of such honors, they must fulfill an endless list of requirements. A point made perfectly by Giulio Carrara.

JobPost_twitter_ITDepartment

Fortunately for the candidates, the situation has changed. Tech jobs are now plenty and quality candidates are scarce. As a result, job posts are now more important than ever. Why? Because...

If the job post is not able to make the position seem like a great career move for candidates, they simply won’t apply.

In fact, companies are trying to sell candidates a job. And just like any sales copywriter will know, if you want to sell something you have to start by convincing the audience of how great an opportunity this would be for them.

Only once companies have done that, they should mention what is expect from them: the requirements candidates should fulfill in order to apply.

Think about it: would you put the price as the first thing customers see when you’re trying to sell a product? Why do that with requirements in job posts then?

effective-job-post/JobPost_Oracle_Apr2020.png Oracle Job Post, April 2020

When they read the description, candidates create a mental picture in their heads of what the job would look like. If the job post is not able to make the position seem like a great career move, they simply won’t apply.

As a recruiter, even if you’re reaching out to candidates directly, you’ll only get them to agree to a phone call if they like what they see in the job post.

The most effective job posts abide by the following structure:

  • Summary
  • Why Work With Us
  • What You’ll Do
  • What You Should Know
  • Who We Are

Just like what would be expectable in a product page, they start with a hook (Summary), move on to benefits (Why Work With Us), then describe the product (What You'll Do) and only then speak about price (What You Should Know).

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Summary

The goal of this section is to hook candidates to keep reading about the position. It should consist of a brief job description and it should sell the best parts of the job.

Why Work With Us

This section’s goal is to convince candidates that this position would be a great career decision for them.

It’s not about beer on tap or foosball tables.

It’s about the talent of the team they’ll work with and who they’ll report to.

It’s about what they will learn and their potential career growth opportunities.

It’s about the impact of the role and why it’s relevant for the company’s future.

It’s about the company’s mission and its growth potential.

And finally, as pointed out by Rodolphe Dutel, it doesn't hurt if it's remote.

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What You'll Do

List the 4-6 main concrete objectives you’d want an ideal candidate to accomplish in order to be successful in that role. Ideally, also define the time frames you would expect them to achieve each outcome.

“The first failure point of hiring is not being crystal clear about what you really want the person you hire to accomplish.”


Geoff Smart and Randy Street Who: The A Method for Hiring

Have the recruiter and the hiring manager sit down and agree on these outcomes and timelines.

This exercise may take some time upfront but it will definitely save plenty of time down the road since it aligns expectations of what a great candidate needs to do.

Clearly defining the main outcomes enables companies to stop focusing on required years of experience.

Many companies require “3+ years of experience at a similar position”, which often prevents the best candidates from applying. It’s much better to say “Build the frontend for the company’s web application from scratch”.

Focusing on outcomes also limits the pool of low quality candidates right from the start.

People don’t want to fail, and they don’t want to go through the pain of moving to another company if they know their chances of success are minimal. On the other hand, the best candidates who are more confident of their skills will be more likely to apply.

Finally, defining clear outcomes makes it much easier to evaluate candidates accurately.

When it comes to the point of selecting which candidate to offer the job, the process is much smoother - instead of getting lost in past experiences, you're just evaluating which candidate would be more likely to reach the proposed outcomes.

What You Should Know

Resist the temptation of adding a laundry-list of skills.

It’s easy to think that the more skills and qualifications a job requires, the better candidates it will attract. However, this is flawed logic and it can actually prevent top applicants from applying.

On the one hand, candidates can have the required skills or experience and not be able to do the job. On the other hand, many people who can do the job don’t have the necessary skills, especially if they’re highly motivated.

“Limiting your sourcing to people who have all of the skills and qualifications is really a hunt for average performers.”


Lou Adler Hire with Your Head

For that reason, it’s important to separate the skills that are an absolute requirement from those that are nice-to-haves.

For technical positions, quite often most skills that are listed as required are actually just nice-to-have ones. For a front-end Vue.js developer it is an absolute requirement to know HTML, CSS and JS well but it might not be strictly necessary to know Docker, even if it’s used daily at the company.

Who We Are

Chances are the candidate hasn’t heard of your company before.

For that reason, it’s important to explain in a few sentences the company’s business model, the products or services it provides and the company’s culture. If it’s relevant, share about the kind of people who work there, work practices, etc. If remote work is an option make sure to mention it.

“If you want to hire top people, define first what they need to do in terms of accomplishments, not what they need to have in terms of skills. Then ask: Why would a top person want this job?”


Lou Adler Hire with Your Head

Conclusion

These are the most relevant parts about writing a great job post. Use the template and examples provided to jump start your tech recruitment process.

Get the Job Post Template + Example

Get the template to write an effective job post in half the time. Draw inspiration from a frontend developer job post example.

Effective Job Post Template

Hiring a tech team? Book a FREE Hiring Strategy Review Session to get a clear roadmap on how to move forward: how to define the positions, where to look for candidates and how to structure the whole recruitment process.

Prefer to start on your own? Take a look at our 1-Page Recruitment Plan to follow a proven framework and quickly hire a great team.


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Written by

Miguel Marques

Founder at Remote Crew
Scaling your tech team? Get in touch