How to Write a Job Posting That Gets Great Candidates! [+Template]

More than just a nice-to-do, but a critical first impression and touch-point with your organization

by Elle Mason - August 29, 2022

Long gone are the days when all a business had to do was write “Now Hiring” in the window. The search for top talent is more competitive than ever, and it’s not enough for businesses to just say that they’re looking for a rockstar and throw in a couple of buzzwords. Hiring is a two-way street and candidates want to be sold on not just the opportunity – but why they should join your company specifically.

So what makes a great job posting? We’ll cover that here, as well as how to market your company culture and how to attract diverse candidates. Keep reading for more!

What Makes a Great Job Posting?

Have you ever gotten excited to apply for a job online, only to find that the posting was full of typos, was vague, or didn’t list any salary information? It’s frustrating, right? As a busy HR professional, you might not have the time to give each job posting the attention it deserves. But taking the time to create a great job posting will pay off in the long run. Not only will you attract more and better candidates, but you’ll also save time by weeding out unqualified applicants.

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When it comes to creating a great job posting, there are a few key things to keep in mind: First, make sure your job postings are free of typos and grammatical errors. A simple spelling mistake can make your company look unprofessional, and it might even dissuade talented candidates from applying.

Second, be as specific as possible about what you’re looking for. Vague postings will result in a lot of unqualified candidates applying for the position. Looking through the applications of a bunch of unqualified candidates is not a great use of your time!

And finally, don’t forget to include salary information! Candidates want to know what they would be getting paid for the position to help them decide if applying is worth their time. Omitting that information could make them move on to the next posting.

Tips for Writing an Engaging Job Posting

Keep it concise.

No one wants to read a novel when they’re trying to find out whether a job is right for them. Get to the point by highlighting the most important information about the role, including key responsibilities, qualifications, and preferred skills.

While this will ultimately depend on what you want to include and the forms of multimedia you use, around 500-1,000 words is thorough without being too long. And remember, you can be creative with how you convey things. For example, the mission and vision can be a thirty-second video from the CEO and some pictures of your beautiful office space with fun perks are worth 1,000 words.

Talk about company culture and vision

Who is your company? What’s your mission and vision? How do you help others with your products and services? These are the kind of details that can truly differentiate two relatively similar-sounding roles at different companies, and many candidates will be interested to know this.

Plenty of companies are hiring engineers, accountants, or analysts – what makes your company different? Do you work in a high-impact sector? Do you have an incredible organizational culture? A particularly spectacular office space? Are you 100% remote? Whatever your unique selling points are, don’t wait until the interview to share them – build interest and engagement by telling people up-front!

Don’t use jargon or buzzwords.

Keep your language clear and concise, without relying on industry jargon or buzzwords. Not only will this make your posting more accessible to a wider range of candidates, it will also prevent you from accidentally deterring qualified applicants who may not be familiar with all the latest industry terms.

Use strong action verbs.

Active language grabs attention and makes your posting more memorable. Use powerful verbs such as “ oversee,” “ spearhead,” or “ devise” to describe key responsibilities, and avoid passive constructions such as “ responsible for” or “ will work with.”

Don’t make assumptions about who will apply.

Try to avoid gendered language or making assumptions about who your ideal candidate might be. For example, instead of saying “ he or she will have 5 years of experience in XYZ role,” simply say “ candidates should have 5 years of experience in XYZ role.” This small change helps make your posting more inclusive and welcoming to a broader range of applicants.

Tailor each posting to the specific role.

While it can be tempting to use the same job posting template for every opening, resist the urge! A generic posting won’t do your unique role justice, and it may even reflect poorly on your company if candidates feel like you couldn’t be bothered to customize the posting for them. Instead, take the time to write a fresh posting for each role—it will pay off in the end when you attract top talent that is excited about the opportunity you have to offer.

Provide job analysis

Here is where you should think of the more traditional “job description” details – but updated and modernized. There’s a high chance that the current job descriptions are a bit vague, generic, or simply the best estimate of what the role entails. But this needs insight from other people in the company – namely people who have actually worked in this role. What is the percentage breakdown of different activities? How is success in this role measured? These are details that can help people visualize themselves doing the job and determine if it s a good fit for their skillsets and goals.

Be inclusive!

Do you have DEI goals or efforts? If so, mention them here! Whether they come in the form of employee resource groups or inclusive holiday recognition, candidates will want to know what you’re doing to become a more diverse and inclusive organization. And you can build a bigger pipeline of these candidates by ensuring that you actively use more diverse or niche job boards and recruitment strategies. Lastly, be sure that the actual language you use in the posting is inclusive, too.

How to Write an Attention-Grabbing Headline

You’ve written the perfect job post. It’s engaging, informative, and highlight’s your company’s unique culture. But there’s just one problem: the headline is boring! If your job post headline doesn’t grab the reader’s attention and make them want to keep reading, all of your hard work will be for naught.

Don’t despair! Writing an attention-grabbing job post headline is easier than you think. Just follow these easy tips and you’ll be on your way to writing headlines that get results.

Keep it short and sweet

The average person has an attention span of 8.25 seconds, so you need to make sure your headline is short, sweet, and to the point. Aim for 10 words or less.

Use keywords wisely

If you’ve ever interviewed someone for an SEO position, you know how important keywords are. Job postings have their own set of keywords as well! The name of your company, relevant skills, and the position title are just a few examples of keywords to use in your headlines.

But you also want to use them judiciously in your headlines. Stuffing your headlines full of keywords will not only make them difficult to read, but it will also turn off potential applicants. Instead, try to use 1-2 keywords maximum. This will help you strike a good balance between catching a candidate’s eye and sounding like a real person.

Be punchy

Inactive verbs are a snoozefest—nobody wants to read a headline that says “Responsibilities include” or “Looking for a candidate with experience in.” Spice up your headlines by using active verbs that pack a punch, such as “achieve,” “boost,” “develop,” or “improve.”

Use power words

Power words are words that evoke an emotion or create a sense of urgency. They’re the kinds of words that make people sit up and take notice. Some examples of power words include “exciting,” “innovative,” “fast-paced,” and “deadline.” using one or two power words in your headlines can help make them more attention-grabbing. Just be careful not to overdo it!

Be creative!

There’s no rule that says your headlines have to be dull and boring. So have some fun with it! Get creative and see what you can come up with that will actually make people want to read your job posts. After all, a little bit of personality goes a long way.

Add a CTA

Don’t forget to include a call-to-action (CTA) at the end of your posting! Just like any other piece of marketing content, your goal with a job posting should be to get people to take some sort of action—in this case, applying for the position. So tell them what you want them to do (“apply now”) and include specific instructions on how they can do it (include a link where they can submit their application). If you don’t include a CTA, there’s a good chance people will simply read your posting and then move on without taking any action at all.

Mistakes That Will Ruin Your Job Posting

Creating a job posting is hard work. You have to think about the type of person you want to attract, the qualifications they need, what your company can offer them, and how to write in a way that will get their attention. It’s a lot of pressure! No wonder so many job postings end up making these mistakes over and over:

Using language that is too technical or difficult to understand

You might be in the habit of using industry-specific jargon in your everyday communications with colleagues. But when you’re writing a job posting, you need to use language that is accessible to everyone—including people who are not familiar with your industry. Use simple words and clear language to make sure your job posting can be understood by as many people as possible.

Making the posting all about your company instead of the candidate.

A common mistake that companies make is making their job postings all about themselves instead of the candidate. Remember, candidates are looking for a position that is a good fit for them—not just any position. So focus on what the candidate will get out of the job, and how they will contribute to your company’s success.

Listing every requirement or qualification you can think of

When you’re writing a job posting, it’s important to be clear about what qualifications and requirements are essential for the position—and which ones are nice to have but not deal-breakers. Otherwise, you’re likely to scare off qualified candidates who think they don’t meet all of your requirements. Stick to the essentials, and leave the rest for the interview process.

Being too vague about the responsibilities

Conversely, vague statements like “you will be responsible for managing our social media accounts” don’t give potential candidates enough information about what the job will entail on a day-to-day basis. A better way to phrase this would be “you will be responsible for creating and scheduling posts, engaging with followers, and monitoring analytics.”

Being vague about salary and benefits.

Another mistake companies make is being vague about salary and benefits in their job postings. Be upfront about what you’re offering in terms of salary and benefits so that candidates can decide whether or not the position is right for them. Otherwise, you risk losing qualified candidates who expect a higher salary than you’re offering—or who simply don’t want to work for a company that isn’t transparent about compensation.

Forgetting to proofread (or proofreading carelessly).

Proofreading is important for any written communication—including job postings! Typos and grammatical errors can make your company seem sloppy and unprofessional, which is exactly the opposite of the impression you want to make on potential candidates. So take the time to proofread your job postings carefully before hitting “publish.” Better yet, ask a colleague or friend to read through it as well and give you their feedback.

How to attract diverse candidates with your job posting

Attracting top talent is essential to the success of your company. But what if you’re only attracting the same type of candidate over and over again? If you’re having trouble diversifying your candidate pool, your job postings may be to blame. Follow these tips to make your postings more inclusive and welcoming to a wider range of applicants.

Use Inclusive Language

One of the most important things you can do when writing job postings is to use inclusive language. This means avoiding phrases like “looking for a go-getter” or “must be a team player.” These phrases may seem innocent enough, but they can actually deter certain groups of people from applying. Why? Because they’re often used as coded language for qualities that are stereotypically associated with particular groups of people.

For example, someone who is shy or introverted may read these phrases and decide that they’re not the right fit for the position. Instead, try using phrases like “seeking an individual with great communication skills” or “looking for a team-oriented candidate.” These phrasing will make it more likely that introverts and extroverts alike will feel welcome to apply.

Use gender-neutral language.

Take a close look at the language you’re using in your job postings. Are you using gendered language like “he/she” or “manpower”? If so, swap it out for more neutral terms. Using gendered language can dissuade certain groups of people from applying for a position. For example, if someone is transgender or non-binary, they may not feel comfortable applying for a position at a company that uses gendered language.

You might also want to avoid unnecessarily gendered titles like “salesman” or “cleaning lady.” Instead, opt for gender-neutral alternatives like “salesperson” or “housekeeper”. By using less gendered language, you’ll make your posting more welcoming to people of all genders.

Highlight the company’s diversity initiatives.

If your company is committed to promoting diversity, make sure to mention this in your job posting! Whether they come in the form of employee resource groups or inclusive holiday recognition, call out your company’s initiatives. Letting candidates know that they would be joining a diverse and inclusive workplace may encourage them to apply, even if they don’t necessarily meet all of the qualifications listed in the posting. You can also build a bigger pipeline of diverse candidates by ensuring that you actively use more diverse or niche job boards and recruitment strategies.

And if your company doesn’t have any formal diversity initiatives in place yet? Now’s the perfect time to start developing some! Not only will this help you attract more diverse candidates, but it will also create a better workplace for everyone involved.

Job Posting Best Practices From HR & Business Leaders

The pandemic has changed the job market in a lot of ways, and that means that the way you recruit top talent needs to change, too. So, we asked 10 HR and business experts for their best tips on writing great job listings that will attract the best candidates. Here’s what they had to say:

Start with the Perks

One strategy for writing great job listings in 2023 is to lead with candidate perks instead of requirements. More than ever, job applicants are seeking out remote roles. Thus, if there is an option for working from home part or all of the time or similar flexible work options, lead with this feature. Then, go on to describe the perks and benefits of the role before the necessary qualifications and descriptions. This format can capture and hold candidates’ interest. Plus, this structure signals to applicants that you so value employee experience that you lead by describing the value you provide to potential staff before demanding skills and experience from applicants.

Tasia Duske, CEO, Museum Hack

Avoid Biased Language

The language used in job listings can significantly impact the pool of applicants you attract. Studies have shown that using neutral language in job postings can result in a broader range of applicants, including more women and people from underrepresented groups. By making minor changes to your word choice, you can create a more inclusive environment that attracts a greater diversity of talent. In addition to improving your applicant pool, this can help you avoid potential discrimination claims. Ultimately, using neutral language is suitable for both businesses and employees.

Michael Sena, Founder & CEO, SENACEA

Use Simple Language

Avoid using overly-complex language or confusing jargon, which can narrow down the talent pool you reach. While you might think creating a fancy-sounding job title makes it appeal to more applicants, those using Google and other search engines to find roles are typing in simple search terms. Use literal language in your job descriptions and titles, especially if you’re looking to hire fresh graduate talent that isn’t yet familiar with industry jargon. Look at how other businesses in your industry title their roles and follow suit.

Ruben Gamez, Founder & CEO, SignWell

Discuss Your Company Culture

In today’s market, candidates are looking for more than just a list of qualifications. Candidates want to know what it’s like to work at your company, so make sure your job listing reflects your culture. If you’re a fast-paced startup, mention that in your listing. If you’re a more traditional company, highlight your stability and perks. Today’s candidates want to work for companies that value diversity and inclusion, so make sure your job listing reflects your commitment to these values. What makes your company different from other employers in your industry? Make sure your job listing tells candidates what makes you unique, whether it’s your cutting-edge product or your fun and supportive team culture.

Travis Lindemoen, Managing Director, Nexus IT group

Don’t Patronize

A great job listing should give a candidate all the information they need about the role, an indication of your workplace culture, and clarity on your expectations. To do this, you must be direct, and you shouldn’t use patronizing language. The job postings with memes and jokes are aimed to attract Gen-Z and Millennial talent but come across as out of touch and patronizing, so avoid those strategies. If you are a fun workplace, mention why. If you have yearly retreats or fun holiday perks, you should mention it, but there’s no need for ingenuine turns of phrase that will turn off younger applicants.

Volodymyr Shchegel, VP of Engineering, Clario

Exercise Transparency

In one of the most competitive labor markets in decades, talented workers are more than cognizant of their worth. These workers are inundated with job opportunities flooding their inbox and recruiters making a home in their direct messages. Their standards have increased since the start of the pandemic, and they won’t hesitate to scroll away if your listing is ambiguous. This means that the listings you create must be clear and concise if you wish to catch their eye.

By including the role’s requirements, benefits, responsibilities, and the salary that you’re prepared to offer, candidates will have all the information they need to make a well-informed decision on whether to apply. Not only will this help you attract the highest caliber of talent, but the additional context should also dissuade less viable candidates. In all, these efforts should help to preserve the quality of your talent pool and afford you with the best that the market has to offer.

Max Wesman, CEO, GoodHire

Reflect the Vision of Your Company

I think it’s important to have a clear picture of what you want your company to look like in five years, and then make sure your job listings reflect that. It’s not just about attracting top talent; it’s also about creating an environment where that talent can thrive and grow. In the future, companies will take a more holistic approach to hiring by looking at candidates’ vision, motivation, and cultural fit—not just their qualifications or how much they’ll cost. Having a clear vision in the job listing of where your company will go and what kind of people you need to get there can help you attract the right people.

Arkadiusz Terpilowski, Co-Founder & Head of Growth, Primetric

Focus On What Your Company Can Offer

Focus on what the company can offer that will make the role stand out. With so many people searching for jobs, you want to make sure that your listing is attractive and includes all of the key information potential candidates might be looking for. Be clear about the qualifications required for the role, as well as any unique selling points that would make someone want to work for your company. For example, some of our benefits that employees love is our unlimited PTO, company equity, and flexible work schedules, so we make sure to list these prominently in our job postings.

Linda Shaffer, Chief People Operations Officer, Checkr

Emphasize Mental Health Over Money

Recruiting top talent has changed drastically since the pandemic started. In 2023, if employers want to snag top talent job advertisements should lead with perks that emphasize optimal work-life balance. For instance, health and wellness monthly allowances are trendy among top organizations. In addition, mandated days off or company closure weeks truly allow employees to recharge fully. Layering in multiple ways to be a part of a flexible working environment and participate in mental health programs is the way to go in 2023!

Nakeisha Martinez, Talent Acquisition Manager, Zendesk

Make It a Video

Gen Z’s eyes skip right over text to video. Recent findings suggest that younger generations strongly prefer to receive information by video over text, and 89% of Gen Z report watching YouTube clips at least once a week. If your company’s candidate pipeline is based on passive sourcing, consider a tailored YouTube video job description that functions like a short advertisement and can be emailed out, posted on a company website, or used to build out the content of a YouTube channel. Video JDs can relay a recruiter’s charm and marketing skills, potentially getting more top candidates to the interview stage and beyond.

Tony Topoleski, Project Manager, ECA Partners

Free Job Posting Template

Now that you have a better idea of what makes a great posting, here is a high-level template of what this could look like:

Headline: What’s the name of the role?

Company: Who are you?

Location: Where in the world is this role based?

Mission and Vision: Briefly, what’s the why for your company?

Media: This can be pictures, videos, or links to other pages on your website. But it will give the reader a break and better demonstrate some of the highlights.

Position Summary / Job Description: What does the day-to-day in the role look like? Is the role full-time? Part-time? Temporary or Seasonal? Contract?

Qualifications: What are you looking for? Be sure to differentiate between what’s “ideal” and what’s truly “essential.”

Salary and Benefits: The more information and data you can provide about this, the better. What does this role pay and what else is a part of the compensation package? Being detailed here will attract more candidates and allow people to self-select out before spending resources on a lengthy interview process only to find out you’re too far out of alignment.

Application Process: What do people need to apply? What happens after they apply? What timeline or steps are included as part of the application process? If you have a particularly lengthy process or one that includes skills tests or similar evaluations, you should include this up-front here.

The beauty of a good job listing is that you can be as creative as you want –the more you showcase your personality, the more likely you are to find candidates who are a good mutual fit.

And once you’ve found the perfect candidate, GoCo can help continue the momentum by streamlining your onboarding process.

  • Onboarding– Let your new hires know they made the right decision with your company. Your onboarding process should reflect the recruiting process they’ve received. GoCo’s onboarding software allows HR to send remote offer letters, kick-start remote training, eliminate open enrollment pain points, review orientation packets, and more at the click of a button.
  • Compliance – Filing new hire paperwork should be easy for both HR and the employee. Right after HR orientation, employees should have all the relevant forms they need to sign off on. GoCo’s dedication to compliance means that employees can easily fill out I-9 forms, direct deposit authorization, and more within a digital portal.

See how GoCo can simplify your HR