Do you know what every job seeker has in common? They all will read a job announcement at some point during the job hunt. Applicants look to the job post to learn the basics about a position—like location, hours and salary. They also use job announcements to complete hiring applications and prepare for interviews.
While job seekers have discovered ways to make the best use of a job post, most employers miss the mark when it comes to attracting rock star candidates. Instead of providing a clear picture of the job opportunity or marketing the company’s bigger vision and story, employers settle for postings that are lengthy and unpersuasive. These announcements do very little to entice top talent or increase the number of qualified candidates that apply.
Fortunately, your job posting does not have to follow the same path. By following a few rules, you can stand out from the crowd and take advantage of this first line of communication with job seekers. These guidelines will increase the odds of hiring a rock star for your current opening and help you to fill your recruitment pipeline with top candidates waiting for the next job opportunity at your company.
The Mechanics of A Stellar Job Post
So how do you create a post that stands out from the crowd?
Make Sure Your Title is Relevant and Short
The title is simply the name of the position. Like a news headline, you want it to be concise and include only the important facts. Avoid using company-specific acronyms or jargon. Your current employees may understand it, but a job seeker may not and use it as a reason to bypass your job post altogether. “Business law paralegal” is industry-specific (not company specific), concise and lets the marketplace of talent know exactly the position we seek to fill. Human Resources Manager is another example. Position titles like Chief People Strategist (aka HR Director) and Director of Smiles (aka Receptionist), although creative and powerful for internal use, should be avoided when advertising for an open position to a larger talent market.
Craft A Compelling Introduction
Market the most exciting aspects of the job in a three-to-five sentence paragraph. Like the lead in a news article, the intro should hook a candidate into reading the full post without restating the entire announcement.
To craft your introduction, review the behavioral job description we created in a previous post [link to behavioral job description post] and pull out those employee behaviors that are interesting or unique to your company.
For example, here at InPrime Legal, we introduce our business attorney position by asking, “Are you an entrepreneur in an attorney’s body?” This question immediately grabs the attention of our ideal candidate and encourages them to keep reading. Similarly, we advertise our administrative positions with “Are you a formatting Diva (or Mogul) and thrive on outsmarting Microsoft Word?
Sell Your Company’s Story, Not Its Business Plan
As any marketer will tell you, stories sell and features don’t. And when it comes to a job search, the same rules apply. Potential candidates are not interested in your financial projections or the market demand. They are buying into your company’s dream, and how they can become a major player in fulfilling that vision and making a positive difference in the world. According to Mark Miller, author of Talent Magnet: How to Attract and Keep the Best People, you need to tell the story top talents wants to hear; and it’s not who formed the company and all the awards and accolades the company has received since its inception. Rather, it is what the world will look like if the company is wildly successful in fulfilling its vision and mission (e.g., Bill Gates’ vision of putting a computer in every home or Steve Jobs’ vision of a “computer for the rest of us.”). You lay out that vision in your company profile or story.
Like the introduction, you want to keep the company profile short and sweet. Avoid restating information that applicants can find on your website or social media profile. Instead use this opportunity to create a personal connection by emotionally connecting candidates to you and your team.
Here is an example of our company story:
At InPrime Legal, we have completely revolutionized how business uses legal. Entirely. Including assuring our members a 10-times return on every penny they spend with us. With a flat monthly fee, we’re incentivized to fix legal issues fast. And thoroughly – so they stay fixed. Because that’s what’s best for our members – fast, thorough, less expensive solutions.
But, we need value-focused Business Law Paralegals, who take pride in other people’s success, to help us evangelize this new model to the next 1000 loyal businesses over the next 10 years.
As a Business Law Paralegal, you will work directly with fun, humble (but, dedicated) attorneys and manage the lifecycle of legal projects for small to midsized businesses. You will help deliver each project using our “no assembly required” approach by performing the initial consultative member intakes (using our checklists), assembling first drafts of legal projects (e.g., contracts), working directly with attorneys to finalize documents, and engaging in follow-up with members on the review and final implementation of the deliverables. You will be a valued member of a legal team and assist with the development of more a technology-enabled, systematic approach to the practice of business law.
Describe Behaviors Not Attributes
Instead of listing job qualifications, give candidates a clear picture of the day-to-day aspects of the position by including a summary of the behavioral job description. As discussed previously, a behavioral job description paints a clear picture of the behaviors of rock star employees and lets applicants know if they meet those standards. (For a full discussion on behavioral job descriptions, refer back to our previous post here [link to behavioral job description post]). Here too, the important thing to remember is to be brief but impactful. Avoid long, winding lists at all costs.
At InPrime Legal, our Business Law Paralegal Post describes the following behaviors:
- Do you love helping others be successful and shine and take pride in their success?
- Are you a “project freak” and “task annihilator”, with a driving compulsion to get things done?
- Are you always finding grammatical errors? Did you notice the grammer mistake in this job post (and did it bother you?)
A rock star candidate should identify with these behaviors and think: “that’s me!” And, it also paints a picture of the day-to-day job of a paralegal at our firm.
Make It Easy to Read
Like it or not, the majority of job applicants will be viewing your job announcement on a cellular phone or other electronic device. To facilitate clarity on these smaller screens, keep it simple. Break up blocks of text with white space, and use short, user-friendly sentences to convey the key aspects of the position.
Remember to Include the Basics
With all the work you put into attracting candidates, don’t lose them by forgetting to include the basics in your post. Job location, salary range, and application instructions are essential elements to any job announcement. Make these elements easy to find and easy to understand.
You can also use the job announcement to screen out bad hires. In our instructions, we ask candidates to email their resume and references and write in the subject line: “your last name with a comma, followed by your first name, a hyphen, and then the position title.” This is a simple instruction to accomplish; but, you would be surprised by how many candidates don’t pay attention to the details. And, attention to detail is a core aptitude for a Business Law Paralegal position at our firm. If a candidate doesn’t comply with the instruction by placing her last name first, followed by her first name, a hyphen and then the position title, we know the candidate will not be the best fit for the paralegal position. We will discuss this strategy and others in our upcoming blog posts on screening candidates.
Does your job announcement make a stellar first impression? Use our free sample job posting as a guide to ensure that it does. This is the exact template we use to attract the rock star paralegals in our business, and if you need help or want to avoid legal “fun-busters”, InPrime Legal is a call away. Contact us at (770) 285-7785 for a no-obligation consultation.