Posted January 25, 2012 by

What’s the difference between a job posting and a job description?


The quality of your job posting definitely has a direct impact on how many applicants you will receive for the open position. As one of the owners of job board, we get feedback from our customers and even other job boards on the effectiveness of a wide variety of job postings for a wide variety of organizations. We know that some postings generate a huge number of views (that is, job seekers reading the posting) and applications, while others generate very few views and few applications. I’ll share my recommendations here. 

There is a difference in response rates to job postings on a general job board and job postings on niche job boards. This is primarily driven by the job posting itself. In short, job postings which are more attractive and are for more attractive positions far outperform job postings which are unattractive or are for unattractive positions or both. On average, about 10 percent of candidates who run a search at a job board will read a relevant job posting ad, about 10 percent of those will click the apply button, and about 20 percent of those will apply. So if you want to generate 20 applications for a position then you need 100 apply clicks, 1,000 job views, and 10,000 job searches.

Recommendations to make sure your job posting results in applications

  • Your title. The title of your posting is absolutely critical. Job titles are essentially the titles of the web pages. If you want to attract candidates to the page and make the position attractive, post your jobs using job titles that the candidates would use when searching for the job. So don’t post “SD IV” but do post “Senior Software Developer” because very few candidates will search for a software developer position using the acronym SD and even fewer will know or care that IV relates to your internal jargon about the level of the position within your organization.
  • Salary. Research indicates that you can get a boost in the number of people viewing your posting simply by including the salary or salary range in the job title.

Also read: Salary disclosure in the new climate: Tips for recruiters to make informed hiring decisions

  • Salary, for real. Even if you don’t include the salary or salary range in the job title, do include it in the posting. With new tools available, candidates can EASILY find out how much your organization pays if you don’t tell them directly.  The days are long gone when it made sense to withhold that information. When you withhold that information, you only create distrust and that reduces the number and quality of applications.
  • Don’t use the legal job description. A kiss of death for the performance of a job posting is how it is written. The larger the organization, the more problematic this seems to be as they tend to rely upon job descriptions. Unfortunately, job descriptions are not job postings. Job descriptions are more legal documents than sales documents. It is important for legal reasons for applicants to see and agree to the job description, but it isn’t important for candidates to see those during their initial job search. The job of the job posting is to generate interest in the position and get the candidate to become an applicant. Nothing more and nothing less.
  • Information to include. Your job posting should include information about the industry, as many candidates will know little to nothing about your industry. It should include the division, department or unit they’ll be a part of, the work environment, the size of the team, democratic/autocratic, the hours, etc. in addition to your requirements for them. In other words, provide to them the information that they require and prefer to know, just as they will surely provide information about themselves that you require and prefer to know.

I hope these tips help make your job postings more attractive and perform as they should rather than as job descriptions. What else have you done to make your postings perform well?

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