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The Ultimate Guide to Online Job Advertising (Part 2 of 3)

So you built it, and they came. Does your Job Spec live up to the hype? Is it a list of responsibilites and requirements? If so, then you have failed and worse still, probably annoyed 90% of your viewers. Whilst most recruiters focus on getting more eyeballs (which is definitely important), the real value is in increasing your conversion ratio. Your objective is not to just get eyeballs, it’s to get CVs/ Resumes and good ones at that!

Here are 5 things to consider:

a) WIIFM:

Ask yourself, would I read out the responsibilities and requirements if I was selling this job to a potential candidate in person or over the phone? Of course, you wouldn’t. A Java Developer knows what his or her responsibilities are; they want to know why they should be a Java Developer in your (or your client’s) organisation. What makes your company interesting, what’s different about your Developer job to what they are doing right now and why would that appeal? This is the “WIIFM” or “What’s in it for Me” moment for the job-seeker. You’re selling a career here, not 4 bullet points about what you wish for. I concede that there is a point in the application process that the person might want to double check the responsibilities and requirements but it certainly ain’t how you introduce the sale. Sell the sizzle first, be descriptive, talk about the company, the team, career progression, challenges, exciting opportunities etc and make it clear that this hire is important to your organisation or your client.

b) Does your job spec demonstrate the skills and values you are seeking?
Check out this fantastic example of a really well prepared, impactful and creative job description from Irish tech start up Intercom. The job is for a Visual Designer so they have made it all about Visual Design, something that will absolutely appeal to the right candidate. They are living and breathing their vision for this role and setting the bar for the perfect candidate. Do you honestly think any time-wasters will apply for this one? What about an old fashioned responsibilities and description job spec, would that work? Not at all.
How to write a Job SpecWhat kind of message does a lazy job description send to your target candidates? Are people really your most important asset? Does’t look like it does Mr. Recruiter with your boring Resps and Descrip! If a knowledge of numbers and attention to detail is required, use percentages, stats and other such figures to describe the role and work environment. If the job is a sales role, demonstrate what you believe good sales skills are, show that the customer (aka job seeker) matters most and make them feel special. If you’re looking for a caring and compassionate careworker, tell the human story of what impact this role has on the lives of your clients or patients. Be the person whom you are trying to find and tell that version of your story in their language. Seriously, if they are worth finding they are worth making an effort for. Who knows, you could be stuck with this person for 20 years!

c) Make it easy to apply:
Forms are the enemy of the candidate/ employer relationship. Please don’t use them. They annoy people and rarely serve to filter out the bad candidates nor highlight the great ones. It is better to get the application and then send out a questionnaire. Bioware in Galway, Ireland (part of the games Group EA Sports) send questionnaires via Survey Monkey as a first round screen and follow up with a video assessment via Sonru. It’s brilliant, and works. Forms on your website discourage people who are on the fence and are tempted to share their provate data but may decide against if presented with a horribly long form. If you really want them to populate your database without you having to do so, allow social authentication with LinkedIn or Facebook which will fill such fields in automatically for them, in just one click. User experience is everything. Your career site is not a method of assessment. This is candidate attraction; leave the assessment to later.
Perfect Job Description
d) Be clear about what you don’t want:
Encourage people to deselect themselves from the process. If you really dont want unsuitable applications, definte what “unsuitable” is. Don’t be afraid to turn away people before they apply; trust me, they will thank you for it. Job seekers want to apply for jobs that they have a serious chance of getting. Don’t lead them up the garden path but if you’re going to be honest with your requirements do so at the beginning. The User Experience (UX) of reading a job spec, getting excited about it as you read along only to find out you are ineligible at the end is awful! Provide people with honest criteria up front and your suitable applicants will feel all the more special for it.
e) Provide Applicants with a 3rd option
What are the first two, I hear you ask? Most career sites and job boards offer you the opportunity to apply for the job or..well, or what? It’s usually a case of apply or move on. What if they want to work for you, have skills you will probably need at some point but this job isn’t the perfect fit? Do you still want to hear from them? I expect you do so provide them with a 3rd option, to contact you. Allow them to connect with you on your social places; nothing beats a link to the recruiter’s LinkedIn profile with a call to action such as “Talk to me about what other positions we might have for you”. Put a big, bright, smiley picture of the recruiter next to any email addresses or links to the “3rd option” and show that you are humans, not just a CV eating machine (which is what most disgruntled job seekers think you are!).
Conversion is the problem you need to fix first. You need to convert the people who already look at your vacancies before adding more potential applicants to the mix (only to see the same % not apply!). Each industry, geography and role type is different so get to know your audience. Use “split testing” to modify your job descriptions and application processes to see which descriptions and processes convert more people. Don’t rely on assumptions, create duplicate jobs with defineable difference (one or two per split test is plenty) and measure scientifically. This is the only way to truly test what the perfect job spec and application process is for each demographic.
Which brings us nicely onto our last consideration, measurement and metrics! More on this in our final post, Part 3.

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