Employers
3.5-minute read

Does finding suitable candidates take you longer than expected? Maybe there aren’t enough qualified people on the market – but it’s also possible your job postings are making it harder to attract or identify the right talent. Here are five questions to ask yourself.

1. Is the posting too vague?

The first stage of the screening process is for potential applicants to vet themselves based on the job posting. You don’t want the wrong people submitting résumés because the description doesn’t give them enough information to rule themselves out. 

“I see this problem all the time,” says Hubble’s Ben Lynett-Howes, Talent Acquisition Specialist. “Companies are overwhelmed with unqualified candidates, especially for junior or mid-level positions. If you have to sort through so many applications, it limits the posting’s effectiveness.”

 

Ben’s advice:

  • Identify the core functions of the job, link them to specific skills and qualifications, and stipulate these in the posting.
  • Be more detailed. For instance, request “advanced Excel skills” instead of just “proficiency with Excel,” which is open to interpretation.

 

2. Is the posting too long?

The flip side of this is a posting that goes overboard with details and fails to engage the reader. We’ve all seen long-winded job descriptions that provide a laundry list of roles and responsibilities. These tend to have an adverse effect.

“In my experience, there’s a definite correlation between length and the number of applicants you get.” 

 

His rule of thumb: keep the posting somewhere between half a page and a page in length. “Half a page is accessible, to the point and quick to read,” he notes. 

Ben’s advice:

  • Focus on providing a short amount of highly relevant information.
  • Give a brief description of the company and its direction.

 

3. Does the posting sell the job?

Besides keeping the posting short, you also want it to be more than a list of bullet points. It should concisely explain what the company is, why the job is available and why a qualified candidate would want to work there – e.g., “We’re a rapidly expanding company that needs to grow our sales team and offers excellent opportunities for advancement.”

When Hubble was looking to hire new personnel, for instance, its job postings mentioned that it was entering the Toronto market following a rebranding, looking to become a disruptor there with a unique recruitment approach and needed talented people to achieve this. This attracted people who connected with the company’s message.

Ben’s advice:

  • Don’t just describe the job – tell a story.
  • Focus on what makes your company unique rather than recycling clichés.

 

4. Are you using the right recruitment platform?

“Not all platforms are created equal in terms of attracting candidates. You need to be strategic in where you post job openings.”

 

For a mid- or high-level sales position, LinkedIn will likely lead you to suitable candidates. However, it’s not the best option if you’re hiring for a position like a mechanic or for a junior role, since younger people have less developed profiles. In that case, you might want to try a site like Indeed. In some professions, networking may be more effective than recruitment sites. 

Ben’s advice:

  • Know your market and where they tend to get job information.
  • Stick to specialized recruitment sites, not more general platforms like Facebook.

 

5. Is your focus too narrow?

If you’re struggling to attract qualified candidates, it might just be a slow time of year – like December, when people are reluctant to move before getting their bonus – but you may also need to cast your net wider by adjusting your messaging or parameters.

“There may be a keyword or two that’s putting candidates off. We’ve had success with changing the wording of job postings. For instance, the posting may be too restrictive in terms of the qualifications being demanded.”

 

Ben’s advice:

  • Don’t get too hung up on experience within a specific industry. There may be candidates in other industries with transferable skills who can do the job equally well.
  • Candidates shouldn’t necessarily be ruled out because of poor résumé writing or formatting skills. They may still have the right skills for the job.

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