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Webinar summary: How to write job postings that actually work.

The following are some of the key points I took from this “How to write job postings that actually work” webinar, fromĀ Katrina Kibben, the Founder & CEO of Three Ears Media.



What are the differences between job ads and job descriptions

  • Job Description – Basically a legal document. It may be used to hold people accountable for exactly what is required for a role. Should be kept in a filing cabinet,
  • Job Posting – A marketing version of a job description that is used to attract the right person to the job.
  • Job Ad – How you market that job posting. For each job ad, consider taking one sentence that really captures this role, such as “impact”. Use variations in different recruitment ads to drive traffic, and to see which get the most reactions.

What are some reasons job ads may not ineffective?

  1. Job title may be wrong. Under-titled jobs can be a turnoff. Use the job titles of people at this level are likely to be searching.
  2. Bias. Don’t “replicate the suck”. If you copy and paste poor job postings, you are starting with those biases. Sometimes starting with a black piece of paper is just better.

What are the obvious things we can do differently when it comes to writing job postings?

Good job postings should tell the truth. They should have solid input from the hiring manager. Imagine what the best person for this job looks like and describe that.
Don’t think: it would be nice if they had a Certificate in X
Instead ask, what do your best Engineering Managers (or whatever role you are looking for) have in common?

Some key points for job postings.

  • Aim for about 250 words (people probably won’t reach much more)
  • Don’t aim for buzzwords and cliches. That language is not likely to be universal.
  • Don’t say “Be a team player”. Instead, say what being a team player means in practice; what it is and is not.
  • Have a bullet cap – no more than 1/3 of the content as bullet points, perhaps no more than 7.
  • Try to use structure, not templates. Think about what you want to convey (everyday tasks, the impact of this role, and the key requirements)

Job titles

Try not to get too creative with Job Titles. Post the title that people are likely to be searching for. Few people are likely to search for “ninja”, or “guru”, or “rockstar”.
When you do have a suitable job title in mind, try searching in LinkedIn for people with those titles and see if they are actually the type of people you are actually looking for.

Common mistakes

  • Don’t start with your “About Your Team”, or “Who we are”. That is not important to most people. When you post your jobs, applications will see a preview, and you want that preview to be about the candidate, not about you. You want the preview to allow them to decide if they want the role. You want then to know what the job is about. Instead, consider leading with the impact that the role will have.
  • Instead of saying “You are responsible for”, try to explain what a successful applicant will do every day. e.g. how autonomous will the role be? What are the key technologies?
  • Don’t use years of experience. Years of experience will quantify time but does not quantify experience. Instead, qualify what some may have done in those X years of experience that would qualify them for the role.
  • Don’t say “proven track record”, instead say what specifically you would like to have seen some done.


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