Need Relevant Applicants? Have a Relevant Job Post

Andy Adams is a Sr. Account Executive with CareerPlug, whose background includes extensive recruiting experience.  He has spent time in the trenches as an agency contract recruiter, as well as a direct hire recruiter.  Once a month, we have asked him to share his insights, tips, and advice on a particular recruiting topic.

How many times as a hiring manager or as a recruiter have you uttered the phrase “I just don’t have enough applicants.”?  I know I have said it more than a few times.  Luckily, I was able to eradicate that phrase from my vocabulary because I realized something one day:  My job descriptions and posts stunk.  They were long, unfocused, and not personal at all.  It took some time of reading articles, blogs, and talking to people who had been in the industry longer than me to figure out how to fix it, but eventually I was able to craft much better job descriptions and therefore, job postings, so that I attracted enough quality applicants.  So, here’s my crash course on the “why” and “how to” for creating better job postings.

First of all, we need to undesnoopie job-descriptionrstand why you need to have interesting, engaging, and concise job descriptions and postings.  According to CareerBuilder, the amount of time that you spend glancing over a resume is about the same amount of time a candidate spends on your job description.  In other words, not much.  You need to be able to pique a candidate’s interest and get them to make the decision to apply or at the very least, read more within the first 10-15 seconds.

With this in mind, you can probably throw your normal job description in the trash.  Most of the time, we fall into a trap of trying to put a detailed company description, every single requirement, and every responsibility under the sun into our job descriptions.  The more information, the better, right?  This is what’s going to help us attract “the perfect candidate”, right?  (See this post on “the perfect candidate”) In reality, it’s just too much and you end up either not getting any applicants, or getting junk.

The Company Description:

As the lead into your job description, people need to know what your company is all about.  This needs to be done succinctly and clearly, as most of us today suffer from information overload.  I usually recommend a brief 3-4 sentence “story” that can get a candidate to keep reading.  The title got the click, the company story needs to excite them.  For example, if I were to put together a brief description for CareerPlug, it might go something like this:

“CareerPlug is a software company, focused on non-software people.  Our entire goal is to make the disruptive practice of recruiting, posting jobs, and frankly, the entire hiring process in general, easier, so that our customers can get back to focusing on their business.  We have a strong set of core values that we live by, with “Work Hard, Chill Out”, being one of our favorites.”

From that candidates can gather that we are a software company in the HR space, we pride ourselves on the ease of use of our products, and we value our culture.  If I was a candidate, my thoughts would be “I’m interested in software, my background is in HR/recruiting, I like easy to use products, I’d like to work somewhere with strong values, one of which appears to be work life balance.  I want to learn more.”  That’s a lot of information for a candidate to take out of three sentences.  But it works.

The Requirements & Responsibilities:

Don’t overwhelm potential applicants with long, unnecessary lists in your job postings

If once a year, a marketing coordinator is going to look at Google Analytics because three other people are out sick…it’s not a requirement.  When I was recruiting, I tried to avoid company job descriptions at all costs; they usually had way too many requirements.  Instead, I would have a conversation with the hiring manager about what was most important to her about a position. Taking these notes, I could write a job description tailored to these priorities.  After a quick approval from the hiring manager, it was time to get recruiting.  I worked to keep the applicant requirements to the absolutely necessary skills a candidate would need to be successful in a role.  Including a few “nice to have” skills was fine, but only as a means to differentiate candidates within a common skill set.  If you fear that this method will lead to a candidate overload, try utilizing pre-screen questions to prioritize applicants and determine your follow-up plan.

Candidates look at job descriptions to determine 3 main things:  1) Do they have the skills required? 2) Does the company interest them?  3) What will they be doing on a daily basis?    If you write out your responsibilities in a never ending list, or include peripheral things that may need to be done once per quarter, you are really muddying the waters for potential candidates.  As Kate Matsudaira points out, one of the best places to get this information is from current team members.  Just ask them what they do all day and BOOM, you’ve got your responsibilities.  No need to overthink it.

By trimming down your job descriptions and making them more interesting (hopefully), you will not only attract more candidates, but you will start to attract better candidates because you are being targeted in your message.  Quality candidates will not be afraid to apply because they don’t have items 14, 16, and 17 on your checklist.  A more concise, focused job description isn’t going to scare anyone off. And unqualified candidates shouldn’t any longer fill up your inbox because you are not putting in an all inclusive list of every skill, technology, or experience.  You are being specific, targeted and focused…and candidates appreciate that.

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Use our templates to create an attractive careers page and job posting. Then promote it through our job board partners, as well as directly with your employees, customers, and social network.



Use our notifications and automations to be the first to respond to qualified applicants. Send texts and emails from directly from CareerPlug to convert applicants to scheduled interviews.



Use our prescreen questions and assessments to identify the best applicants. Then use our interview questions and scorecards to evaluate for the right things consistently.



Once you think you have found the right person, use our reference and background check resources to verify them. Then, send an electronic offer letter from CareerPlug to close the deal!



Hiring is hard, but partnering with us makes it easier. From posting jobs to scheduling interviews, CareerPlug allows you to automate certain parts of the process to improve your results and save you time.


Polly Schandorf

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Clint Smith

Founder & CEO

Clint founded CareerPlug in 2007 with the simple idea that there was a better way to help employers connect with quality applicants. Today Clint works every day to fulfill CareerPlug’s mission: Make Hiring Easier. Leading by example, Clint loves spending his time developing new ideas and teaching others.

After graduating from the University of Florida, Clint worked in investment banking and strategic marketing; both experiences influenced the development of CareerPlug. He also spent a year away from the business world teaching 5th grade in Boulder.

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