Making the decision to hire someone is a big freaking deal.
You’ve probably spent hours agonizing over whether you need to hire someone (who needs free time, you’ll just do the work yourself, right?!) Then you’ve struggled to figure out if you can afford to, and once you’ve done all the math, you’re stuck trying to figure out the best way to do it.
I know whenever I have to try and find a good fit for my team of copywriters (we’re up to 6 as I type this), I just get this sense of complete dread of the HOURS OF EFFORT I need to put into finding someone that’s a good cultural fit and is talented at their work.
It's well-documented how hard it is to get good employees – 76% of managers admit that attracting the right candidate is the hardest part of recruiting. But, even when you find the perfect person, sometimes, they don't even take the job (75% of recruiters say they’ve seen a candidate change their mind after signing an offer letter), and you're back to square one again.
It's an absolute nightmare. There has to be an easier way to attract the right people to your business and encourage the perfect candidates to apply – and stick around.
Attracting top talent in our industry isn't easy, but there are things you can do to alleviate the pain.
It all starts with a well-written job post. Yes, really.
Whether you’re looking to expand your team, or you’re trying to hire your first set of helping hands, one of the most important elements of attracting a talented, dedicated team member is writing your job ad.
I like to think of the hiring process as a two-way street, or even a date. You’re both on best behavior, showing off your best assets, seeing if you’re compatible, and trying to impress the other to commit to a long-term kinda thing.
With a carefully-crafted job ad, you’ll not only hit everything the candidate is looking for in a position, but you’ll also *gently* prep them for what you expect from them too. Being open, honest, and showing off your company culture straight off the bat, you'll be able to get the right person for the job (and keep them in the role.)
With so many people trying to hire (thanks Great Resignation!), there’s a serious talent shortage – and the web design world is no different. This means you need to stand out. You need to show exactly why someone would choose you over the thousands of other companies battling for their attention.
Worried about competing with the big guys? Don’t. There’s someone for every role – and filtering out someone looking for a high-stress, big-money role is possible if you’re hiring your first employee or working on a smaller scale than others. It’s all down to selling your unique benefits – which starts with your job ad.
Okay, so how do you write a great job post?
How do you create a job listing that will attract suitable candidates and filter out bad fits?
In this blog, we’ll explore just how a job post can filter good-fit candidates in (and bad-fit candidates out), and I’ll show you exactly how to write a job post to get you the best talent possible for your team.
How to write a job post that attracts the best talent in the industry
Okay, so at least we're on the same page now: Writing a good job post is essential to securing a high-quality team.
Nobody wants to waste time interviewing people that aren't the right fit for your company, so take a look at these five tips that will help you reduce the amount of unsuitable candidates and increase the likelihood of hiring someone who makes it through to your interview stage.
1. Know who you're writing to
Now, we know you know that you're writing to potential employees but do you really know who they are? Do you know exactly what they want from you as a company? (Hint: it’s more than a paycheck) Do you know what will make or break the job offer for them? Do you know what will make them take a look at your offer and quit their current role (or head back into full time work after a nice, long, saved-for break?)
Then you don't know them well enough.
To really understand who you're writing for, think about your best current team member (or the kind of employee you want.)
Take a few minutes, write this down:
- What are they like as a person?
- Do they turn up for 9-5 every day or do they manage their own time?
- What is their favorite part of their job? Problem solving? Helping people? Creative freedom?
- Why do they want to work for you? Are they looking to pay off their mortgage, expand their skills, change the world for small business owners, develop an amazing piece of software?
- What are their professional and personal goals? Do you care what their personal goals are?
- What benefits do they want? Is health insurance a big seller? Dental plans? Pension/401k? Ongoing training?
- Are they working remote or in-house, maybe a hybrid option?
- What skills are non-negotiable?
- What are your nice-to-haves?
If you can figure out all of this, you'll have a pretty good idea about who you're writing for and what they’re looking for – and how you can let them know you deliver all that with an in-depth job ad that hits all of those points.
A few basics before you get typing:
- Write it to them
- Forget the usual ‘job ad template’ guides, add what you want in
- Remember you are selling your company as much as getting job seekers to self assess their suitability – get the excitement and enthusiasm going!
Here’s the start of the last job ad I posted. You’ll notice a distinct brand voice, in keeping with our company’s general approach to work, life, and pretty much everything we do. This is on purpose: I want to attract a writer that will fit in with our company culture. We are NOT for everyone, and a substantial role of the job ad is to filter people who won’t be happy in the role and a part of The Content Lab team.
Your job ad is designed to attract people that will fit long term, add to your business, work well with your current team, and show up in their role. You want to avoid having to do the whole recruitment process again for as long as possible!
2. Showcase your unique company culture
With the pandemic changing so many people’s perspectives, many workers now won’t take a job that’s otherwise a perfect fit if the company culture clashes with their values.
People want to know that they will enjoy the work, like the people they're working with, and feel comfortable in the space they're working in. If they don't think your company culture is for them, they won't be interested in applying for your open positions.
So when you're writing your job listing, it's important to highlight what your working environment is like.
You can do this by:
- Highlighting employee testimonials (+1 for videos!)
- Showcasing your team bonding events or trips
- Posting snippets about Christmas parties and team lunches
- Being authentic when talking about your company
- Talking about your company values and goals
This will all show the candidate that you care about the well-being of your employees.
Being honest when it comes to describing your business and the job will also show that you're an honest company to work for, which is vital for company culture.
Having a positive company culture is more than just great for attracting the best available talent. It's also necessary for retaining the top employees. To keep a great hire years into the future, their approach to their work and their job needs to align with your company culture.
Promoting your company culture in your ad can also be that magic element that persuades someone to join you over one of the bigger companies offering a higher salary.
3. Make it easy to understand
There's no point in writing a job listing describing the work if it's hard to understand. Nobody will apply for a job they don't quite get. So when you're writing your job post, make sure it clearly outlines what's involved in the position.
Here are the main things that should be included in a job post:
- A summary of the role that gives the candidate an idea of what their day-to-day would be like in the role
- List of responsibilities
- Required qualifications and skills
- Preferred but not necessary skills
- Benefits of the job
- Employee reviews or quotes
- A clear outline of your company's values
If you have all of this listed in your job post, then your candidate should have no problem understanding what they’re applying for.
Make sure you've written the job listing in clear sections, and don't write it as one big long wall of text – that makes it hard to read. Try to include bullet-pointed lists or white spaces to break up the sections to make them easier to digest.
Here’s an example from one of mine:
4. Highlight the benefits
Benefits are one of the most essential parts of any job (next to company culture) – according to your potential employees anyway.
By highlighting the benefits of the job on your job description or listing them in a lovely neat table, your candidate will be drawn to your job listing.
Some of the most popular benefits that people look for include:
- Flexible working schedule
- High-growth environment
- Opportunity to advance
- Values-based company
- Personal and professional development opportunities
- On-going training
- Vacation time
- Health care
Here's an example from Passion.io:
Notice how it starts with a steep learning curve? While a risky move for some, this listing clearly communicates the type of candidate suitable for this role should thrive under pressure and be ready to face a challenge. This should help filter out unsuitable candidates, cutting down on short-term team churn.
5. Don’t make it complicated to apply
Nearly 60% of job seekers will stop filling in an application mid-way due to its length and complexity.
When an applicant has finished reading your job listing, they should be able to clearly see how to apply. When they click ‘apply now' on your careers page, it should also just take them to a simple form that requires them to fill in their name, email, cover letter, and CV.
There's no need to ask for their mother's maiden name and the town they were born in because it's unnecessary and will waste their time.
So when you create your application form, make it simple and easy to use so you can start interviewing the best candidates quickly.
I like to tell them the next steps of their application, so they know what to expect. I use a 7-step hiring process, so I need to make sure anyone applying is ready for that (it’s really not for everyone!)
Your job post is really the first step in your recruitment process, but it’s an incredibly important one to get right.
With a solid foundation of expectations, benefits, and open communication with your potential new team member, you should be on the right track to hiring success!