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Posted October 14, 2019 by

Are your job postings attracting too many unqualified and not enough qualified applicants?

We’ve all seen those job postings: “<Position> is responsible for driving revenue growth, optimizing interactions with enterprise leads, liaising and maximizing cross-functional segmentation using sales enablement and marketing nurture tools in coordination with CRM and digital generation management platforms. Must conduct A/B testing and drive key business metrics while aligning with leadership for optimal distribution strategy results. Will serve as ninja Agile scrum master to remove impediments. Extensive knowledge of end-to-end omnichannel demand gen in B2B and B2C environments. Strong record of win-win outcomes, conflict resolution and problem-solving among multiple layers of an organization. Stellar CX, VoC, SQL, COE, ETL, BI skills. 10+ years’ experience in <exhaustive list of software platforms>, superstar analytical skills, able to leap tall buildings at a single bound, ability to bend time and add a 25th hour to each day strongly preferred. Attention to detail a must.”

Say what?

All right, so while we made this one up (and trust us—don’t try to decipher it or your brain will get caught in a loop), in our tech-jargon, corporate-buzzword world there are plenty of real, similarly indecipherable job postings out there.

Sure, there are some postings that require more information—most notably, for jobs that involve technology and other specialized positions. But no matter how detailed your job posting needs to be, you should still aim for clarity and readability.

Join us for Job Posting 101 as we pass along some tips for writing job ads that will draw applicants’ interest, not send them scurrying to the nearest dictionary.

Job Title

  • Optimize your job title and description with the keywords your candidates will be searching for. Make sure the job title reflects the job. If you’re hiring a Customer Service Representative, use that title and resist calling it something cutesy or hip. Boring? Maybe, but be realistic: how many jobseekers will be searching for a Customer Service Ninja, or a Valued Customer Pleaser—and how many will miss your posting because it didn’t fit their search terms?
  • Be sure to include words that indicate the career level and the scope of the job: Customer Service Manager, B2B Digital Marketing Specialist, Senior Graphic Designer, Social Media Coordinator, Java Developer.
  • Don’t use internal terms; if you’re hiring an Assistant Art Director, use that title instead of the “Visual Manager 1” your company uses.
  • Include the city and state for searchers who are looking at a specific geographic location. Mention that it’s a telecommuting position (but in that case, include the company’s headquarters location so searchers are aware of possible time differences).

Company Summary

  • Before you go into the job description, give your applicants a paragraph-long glimpse of your company, and why it’s special.
  • Don’t just use your company’s boilerplate description here; personalize the description to give the applicant a reason to want to work with you. As an example, suppose you’re a small manufacturer hiring a Marketing Writer. You could say:

“W&W Manufacturing is a Michigan-based manufacturer of Safety Widgets and What-Nots. For 20 years, we’ve worked with the automotive industry to get our state’s drivers safely to their destinations and back home again. Now we’re looking for someone who can help us tell our customers’ success stories as we expand to keep drivers safe nationwide.”

Job Qualifications/Responsibilities

  • Decide on your “must-have” and “nice-to-have” qualifications before you sit down to write the posting.
  • Start out with a short summary paragraph. Use active rather than passive voice: instead of, “This position is responsible for creating all Safety Widget and What-Not collateral,” say, “You’ll create persuasive, readable sales copy for our full-color product catalog, trade show displays and website.” Make it human and personal; use the second-person “you” instead of “the Marketing Writer will…”— Let the candidate know how they’ll be a vital member of the team. Here’s an example:

“As W&W Manufacturing’s Marketing Writer, you’ll engage customers and prospects with your informative, well-crafted blog articles, white papers, brochures, trade show collateral, case studies, video scripts and more. Not only will you lead us in spreading the word nationwide about W&W’s Safety Widgets and What-Nots, you’ll help millions of drivers safely return to their homes and families each night. As a bonus, you’ll develop expertise in the widgets/what-nots industry and hone your craft as a marketing writer.”

  • Keep your company’s culture in mind as you create the summary. What’s the best part of the job? Are you a close-knit group that collaborates on everything? A hip, tech-forward team that would make Apple jealous with your technology toolbox? Here’s the place to let the candidates know what they can expect.
  • The more information you provide the better, of course, but you can also give too much information—especially if you’re looking for a super-employee who can’t possibly exist in nature. Don’t scare off potentially good candidates—for instance, recent college grads who might qualify for the position—by making everything a “must-have.” Firm requirements that are clearly distinguished from “nice-to-have” requirements create less confusion and fewer unqualified applicants to sort through.
  • Unlike our brain-bending job posting at the beginning of this article, don’t pack all the information into a single massive paragraph. Remember that many jobseekers are reading on mobile devices, so make your requirements easily scannable with short sentences, bullets and white space.
  • Try not to use cliched phrases in your descriptions, because let’s face it: unless we’re shiny-new in the workforce, we all know that “fast-paced” can mean anything from “a busy office” to “utter chaos.” Or that “multi-task” can mean “doing the job of the three people who were just laid off.” You don’t want to scare people off—or make the job sound too perfect. So, on behalf of jobseekers everywhere, we beg you to use plain language and be as honest as possible. Don’t leave a trail of disillusioned former candidates or employees in your wake, which can damage your reputation among future jobseekers. (And for a needed laugh after that serious plea, check out this infographic of what these 50 job ad clichés really mean.)
  • Clearly note the length and type of experience you’re looking for, the job level (junior, mid-level, senior, manager), the preferred education level, as well as any particular skills (e.g. the ability to write clear and compelling copy), characteristics (e.g. the ability to work without supervision) or physical abilities (e.g. the ability to stand for an eight-hour shift) that applicants need for the job.
  • If your requirements are firm, that’s fine—just say so. A quick statement along the lines of, “Please read this posting carefully, as we will only consider those applicants who meet the listed qualifications,” can help reduce the number of unqualified applicants who apply anyway. 

Job Benefits

  • Similar to the job description, make your list of benefits easily scannable with short sentences, bullets, and white space.
  • Note the traditional information and benefits most candidates want and need—hours, pay or salary range, insurance, 401(k), paid parking, etc.
  • Don’t forget about the less traditional benefits that will make an applicant say, “Yes, I want to work there!” Do you have a relaxed dress code? Can you work from home some days? Do you provide lunch or healthy snacks for employees? Is there an onsite gym? A monthly book club? A monthly “bring your dog to work” day? Community volunteer opportunities? Talk about them all! We spend as much time at our workplace as we do with our families. Let prospective candidates see their days can be comfortable, enjoyable and even fun when they’re part of your team.

The final step in  you send your job posting off to your preferred job board, proofread your copy, have someone else proofread it and then proofread it one more time!

While this article is only a basic, high-level overview of writing a job posting, don’t worry—you’ll find resources galore online with a quick Google of “Best practices for writing a job posting” or a similar search. But if you don’t feel like Googling, here are the four most important things to keep in mind when you sit down to write your next job post:

  1. Write clearly and conversationally—ditch the jargon and clichés
  2. Use your human voice
  3. Be honest in the job description, requirements and benefits
  4. Let your company’s personality shine through  

A company that cares enough to be clear, human and straightforward with job candidates promises to be an employer that candidates will flock to. And if you follow these practices consistently, there’s every reason to believe that you’ll be the company people point to when they refer to “an employer of choice.”

Sources:

50 Nonsense Job Ad Clichés  (and What They Really Mean…),” by James Ball, coburgbanks.co.uk, undated.

How to Write a Job Description That Attracts Awesome Applicants,” by Eddie Shleyner, blog.hubspot.com, updated October 17, 2018.

5 Tips to Writing an Effective Job Posting,” by CivicPlus, civicplus.com, undated.

How to Write a Great Job Posting,” by Max Messmer, dummies.com, undated.

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Posted March 15, 2019 by

Are diversity and inclusion hiring efforts undermined by the shift to programmatic, CPC job advertising?

Over the past couple of years, College Recruiter has undergone a remarkable transformation. As was the case since the dawn of recruitment advertising a few hundred years ago, all of our employer customers were advertising their part-time, seasonal, internship, and entry-level job opportunities with us on a traditional, duration-basis such as $X for 30-days.

Today, virtually all of the postings on our site are pay-for-performance such as cost-per-click and most of those are programmatic, meaning that the jobs we receive and the CPC we receive are based upon pre-set rules created by the employer customers, their advertising agencies, or their job distributors. Hopefully, that quick overview helps to illustrate why I wrote above that our people, process, product, and price have undergone a remarkable transformation.

I thought that readers of this blog would appreciate a little information about what we’re seeing happening in the marketplace right now. Some of the traditional, ad agencies are doing a good job in terms of advising their customers as to what CPC’s to pay, what jobs to distribute, expectations, etc. Some aren’t.

A common theme across almost all ad agencies — but not all — is that the overriding metric of success is minimizing the CPC and/or eCPA. I understand the desire to use objective metrics like that, but I’m also hearing frustration from some on the employer side who are appreciating their reduced costs per and time to hire but concerned about the negative impact these programs are having on their diversity and inclusion hiring efforts and, therefore, the long-term productivity of their workforce. 

What a small number of employers and advertising agencies are starting to appreciate is that the lowest CPC and lowest eCPA typically translates into a higher percentage of candidates coming from a smaller percentage of sources, which reduces the diversity of the applicant pool. Note that when I talk about diversity, I’m not just talking about race or gender. I’m also talking about socioeconomic and other such backgrounds. If a disproportionately large number of applicants come from low cost, general aggregators, then the candidate pool will also be general and therefore anything but diverse.

A couple of the ad agencies we work with are segmenting their budgets so they allocate $A to general aggregators; $B to industry-specific, niche sites; $C to geographic-specific, niche sites; $D to college-specific sites; etc. Within each of those groups, they use CPC and eCPA as measures of success, but they don’t expect or need the CPC or eCPA for the niche sites to be as low as those from the aggregator sites.

From what we can see on our end, most of the job exports from the advertising agencies are being managed to minimize CPC and eCPA instead of the more nuanced approach that we’re starting to see from a small number of other, more cutting edge ad agencies whose clients value a diverse and inclusive candidate pool so much that they’re willing to pay for it. Talk can be cheap, but these ad agencies and their customers aren’t just talking the talk, but they’re also walking the walk.

Posted July 26, 2018 by

[white paper] Skills gap? A deeper look at your job ads can help identify more qualified candidates

 

Our latest white paper is specifically for recruiting and talent acquisition leaders who are struggling to attract enough qualified candidates. We teamed up with LiveCareer and combed through their recent 2018 Skills Gap Report. Our hope is that the tips here help you revise your job ads with a fresh lens, and ultimately help you land more of the right candidates faster. (more…)

Posted July 20, 2018 by

A data-driven university selection approach: You can too!

 

At Micron Technology, Dmitry Zhmurkin uses a fantastic method for basing their university relations decisions on data. Zhmurkin is their University Relations Program Manager, and his method helps them decide whether to visit a campus and work with career services, or whether to recruit virtually. College Recruiter’s president and founder Steven Rothberg recently spoke with him about his methodology and said that Zhmurkin “just greatly improved the college recruiting practices at probably dozens, maybe hundreds of organizations.”

Want to know the secret formula? Below we summarize Zhmurkin’s presentation, including a description of his methodology. (more…)

Posted May 31, 2018 by

Recruitment marketing strategies for college students and grads

 

“It’s an increasingly tough marketplace out there on both sides, and that customer understanding can go a long way for the company’s recruiting and all these applicants who want to land a great place to be.” That is from Nancie Ruder, owner of Noetic Consultants, a marketing consulting firm that specializes in brand strategy, research and training. Ruder will speak at SHRM 2018, presenting “Unlocking Marketing Strategy to Optimize Recruitment.” I spoke with Ruder to get her insight into effective recruitment marketing to college students and recent grads. We chatted about measuring success, what Gen Z wants, and non-traditional student recruitment. Here are the takeaways from our conversation. (more…)

Posted May 22, 2018 by

The hard decisions to make when your recruitment marketing campaign didn’t produce the results you wanted

Do the metrics from your recruitment marketing campaign tell a story of success? Maybe you’re not sure what might indicate success. I invited Katrina Kibben to speak with me and share her insight into helping organizations reach their recruitment marketing goals. Kibben is Recruitment Marketing Consultant at Three Ears Media, and she is also an official SHRM 2018 blogger. She has a fantastic and realistic philosophy on recruitment marketing. She shared some stories about employers she’s seen succeed and others who struggled to find enough of the right candidates.  (more…)
Posted May 16, 2018 by

The transformation to HR positive: Interview with HR trailblazers

 

What does it mean to be HR Positive? I spoke with two HR leaders who are blazing their way to a new perception of HR at their own organizations. Cecilia Clark, Senior HR Generalist at Schwan’s, supplements her HR career with a background in Finance, so she is an expert in connecting business and HR strategy to positively affect the bottom line. Chris Orozco, at Win-River Resort and Casino, turned Human Resources into Team Member Relations, which he currently leads. They are both official SHRM 2018 bloggers, and you can read more of their thoughts on Cici’s own HR blog, and Chris’ personal blog “Create: Life and Leadership by Design.” (more…)

Posted May 08, 2018 by

How does programmatic job ad buying benefit talent acquisition and other HR leaders?

 

Over the past couple of years, those of us who make our living in the job board world have grown from being aware of the existence of programmatic ad buying, to understanding the opportunities and threats it poses. We grew to either be terrified by it or embrace it, or some combination of the two. At College Recruiter, we made the decision early on to embrace programmatic job ad buying because we saw that the opportunity it presented to our employer customers (and therefore us) far outweighed the threat that it posed.

Since 1991, when I founded the organization that became College Recruiter, I’ve often been accused of chasing after every shiny new thing. That’s not fair. I do chase after shiny new things, but not always. And sometimes they chase after me. Also, the accusation can be interpreted as a negative character trait. That’s also not fair because seeing opportunities and risks where others don’t can be valuable. That’s true whether you’re a caveman hunting for food or a talent acquisition or other human resources leader hunting for more efficient and effective ways of attracting the talent that your organization needs–not just to survive but also to thrive.

Case in point: programmatic job ad buying. This was the shiny new thing that proved to be worthy of attention. (more…)

Posted November 29, 2017 by

Recruitment analytics: How you can use data to adjust your hiring process

 

For so long, recruiters have trusted our guts to make hiring decisions (myself included). However, it is hard to ignore the value that big data, and recruitment analytics, bring to talent acquisition. I checked in with Kevin Grossman, President of The Talent Board, the nonprofit that oversees the Candidate Experience Awards each year. He gives his insight below into how recruiting professionals can and should respond to data in their hiring process.

Grossman will deliver the closing keynote address at the College Recruiting Bootcamp on December 15, 2017. His presentation will address how to scale hiring by including non-traditional students and grads in the hiring process. Following his presentation, Grossman will moderate a panel to continue the conversation. Attendees will include leaders in HR, talent acquisition and university relations. To join us and hear what strategies and tactics you might not have considered yet to attract and retain entry-level talent, register for the bootcamp here. (more…)

Posted October 11, 2017 by

Lessons learned from an expert in pre employment assessment

Recruiters at large organizations constantly struggle with the challenge of hiring a high volume of candidates who have the excellent quality they need to drive business forward. Pre employment assessment is one tool that employers have at their disposal to balance the need for speed and quality. We interviewed Dr. Marc Wenzel, who is VP of Business Development and Strategy at Shaker, developer of the Virtual Job Tryout. He had deep insight into how assessment, if done right, can apply more rigor to the hiring process, resulting in better hires in less time. (more…)