Don’t Just Post a Job, Advertise Respect: 4 Steps to Writing a Better Job Post

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Job Seekers

That experience is typically defined as what happens to a candidate while they are passing through an organization’s recruiting process.  For the candidate, however, the experience starts well before that point.  It begins when they first encounter an employment opportunity.  That interaction sets the tone for everything else that happens between the organization and the candidate.

Thanks to their heritage in print publications, job postings have traditionally been viewed as advertisements or announcements.  Indeed, all too often, job postings are simply classified ad copy or position descriptions repurposed online.  They sell or inform, but they do not engage the candidate.  They generate applications from active job seekers, but have little or no impact on the passive prospects who make up the majority of the workforce.

What’s the best way for your organization to engage that passive population?  Publish job postings that deliver respect.  Use word choice and content to signal to candidates that you recognize and value their talent.

A Respectful Job Posting

There are many facets to a “respectful job posting,” but the following four are among the most important.

Number 1. Use vocabulary that corresponds to the reader’s self image.  Top performers never think of themselves as a supplicant for work (even when they are in transition) and they seldom have a resume, so engage them by using more respectful terms and phrases.  Address them as a “candidate” or “prospect” rather than as a “job seeker” and ask them to submit “an application” rather than “a resume.”

Number 2. Tell the reader how long it will take to complete the application.  Top performers are almost always employed and thus consider their time to be quite valuable, so engage them by acknowledging and showing your respect for that point of view.  Indicate how much time they will have to invest to apply for your opening and whether they must complete the application in a single sitting or can do so over several periods of time.

Number 3. Give the reader the information that’s important to them.  Top performers don’t care about an opening’s requirements and responsibilities, so engage them by respecting their wishes and telling them what’s in it for them.  Describe what they will get to do, learn and accomplish in your organization and its opening and with whom they will get to work and how they will be recognized for their contribution.

Number 4. Show the reader that your organization is courteous.  Top performers don’t like being left in the dark or ignored when they apply for an opening, so engage them by treating them as politely as you would a guest.  State that your organization will acknowledge the receipt of their application and provide the email address from which it will arrive so they can ensure it doesn’t get caught in their spam filter.

A job posting works best when it operates as a talent engagement platform rather than as an advertisement or announcement.  And, engagement is best achieved with a posting that uses both vocabulary and content to convey an organization’s respect for the reader.


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