Recruiting 101: Writing an Effective Job Posting to Attract Talent

Now Hiring! written on chalkboard

In today’s candidate driven market, employers find themselves competing with industry and non-industry companies for the best talent. Unlike talent recruiting of the past, employers are going the extra mile to entice candidates – making a case for why their company is the right company for them. In this market, it is the candidate that holds all the cards.

The first opportunity to impress applicants and stand out from other employers is with the job posting. Employer job postings are the first line of communication between the employer and potential employee. It’s important an employer’s job posting catches and keeps the attention of the candidate. The job posting should answer any questions the candidate might have about the position including but not limited to wage, benefits and opportunities for career advancement. Since verbal communication most likely has not occurred between the employer and applicant, the job posting should make clear to the candidate why it benefits them to work for that company.

Below are nine parts employers should consider including when creating or updating their job postings. Like job seeker resumes, there isn’t a one size fits all when it come to the format of a job posting. While some parts are necessary, others are optional and should be included if they relate to the message and target audience.

Job Title – Your job title is what first catches the candidate’s eye. If you had only five seconds to sum up what the job is about through the title, what would you say? It’s important to not use words that will throw the candidate off such as “Superstar Developer” or “Wizard Workforce Manager”. As I like to tell employers, keep it simple, professional and to the point.

What you’ll do (How does this role fit within the company?) – Most employers like to combine the job title and function, which is fine. However, having a separate job title and function helps define them and allows the employer to go more into detail about the daily activities for an employee in that specific position. Most importantly, the employer can elaborate on how this role fits with the mission and vision of the company, in other words how interconnected this position is to all other moving parts within the company. The applicant applying for the position wants to feel that they will bring added value to the company. It’s important for employers to show how they will do that in that role.

Summary of the department the position falls under – Like the job posting, providing details about  the department the position falls under will give the potential employee a better understanding of their role and how they will contribute to the company. Employers seldom include this in their job postings. However, for employers who want to be as transparent as possible, including this could help.

Qualifications – This is usually the make it or break it part of the job posting. Some employers are unaware that unclear or confusing qualifications could push away otherwise qualified applicants. The list of qualifications should be short and to the point. Gone are the days of qualifications taking up most of the job posting. It is suggested that listing an odd number of qualifications works best – on average, either five or seven. Too many qualifications increase the chance of the candidate losing interest.

Employers should also make it clear to the candidate what qualifications are required, preferred or desired. For employers unable to limit qualifications to five or seven bullet points, this is a great way to include those extra qualifications. Depending on where and in what order a qualification is listed, the employer is sending a specific message to the candidate. Here’s a quick outline from Pongo Resume.

  1. Required – If you don’t have this, don’t waste your time applying.
  2. Preferred – It would be nice if you know how to do this because it’s important, but it’s not absolutely necessary.
  3. Desired – It would be great if you have this additional skill set or experience, but if you don’t that’s okay.

Opportunities for career advancement

If an employer encourages and supports the career growth of its employees, it should be made known to a person reading the job posting. This includes highlighting programs and initiatives aimed at employee career growth whenever possible. Most employers don’t mention these programs in job postings, but they should consider it –  remember, this is the first opportunity to impress and lure in your audience. Job seekers nowadays are as interested in their career growth as they are in the responsibilities of that job


As we are seeing an exodus of baby-boomers moving into retirement, younger generations moving into these positions are seeking more than a livable salary. Those new to the workforce (and those with years already invested) are not just looking at wages but also benefits. What are those perks that come with the job? Benefits include staples such as health care, dental, vision and retirement – but what about other benefits/perks such as bonuses, flexible work hours, remote work options and employee wellness programs (i.e., gym memberships)? Employers unable to compete with salaries might gain the upper hand through mentioning benefits and focusing on perks. Job seekers less interested in starting out with high wages might be attracted to companies offering top notch benefits to offset lower monetary compensation.

Company culture (DEI, community engagement, etc.)

Employers not only want to find a candidate with the right skills and experience but also a candidate who is a good fit for the team and the company. Employers want their new hires to work well with their current employees. Ask yourself if your workforce possesses similar values and ideas? It’s important for employers to mention the culture an applicant will be joining if working for their company. The goal is not to deter candidates who are not a culture fit from applying but to encourage those that are.

What are some things to consider when creating an image of your company’s culture? Does your company encourage community engagement and giving back? For some employees, maintaining a connectiveness to the community and its residents is very important. Does your company offer a way for employees to donate to organizations and resources within the community with a corporate match? If your company provides services to consumers, do they encourage charitable giving? Company culture is determined by the shared mission, value and attitudes of its staff and management. If an applicant believes your company to be the type of place they would love working , they’ll be more interested in applying. 

Include helpful tips for applying

Any additional advice employers can provide to applicants can mean the difference between receiving a complete versus incomplete application. Providing tips can give an applicant an advantage over other applicants. Including these tips could increase the quality of applications submitted as applicants will know up front what you are looking for in a candidate. A job posting should speak directly to the applicant while also giving the message that they will be part of a team. A job posting should alternate between using you, we and us. Using you when talking to the applicant will make it seem more personal and using we and/or us will help the applicant feel as if they will be part of a team. Use active wording more than passive wording as much as possible to be as clear as possible about the job. By the time an applicant reads the job posting, they should fully understand the role of the position and its duties. Use key words that you want to see in an applicant’s submission in your posting. Not only will this reinforce the skills and experience you are looking for, but it will also help you see when an  applicant thoroughly reads and understands the job posting. This makes it more likely that engaged candidates will have their application make it through screening software so the HR or Hiring Manager can take a closer look at it.

Highlight any awards/recognition/etc.

Has your company received any recent awards? Maybe for their giveback to the community? Perhaps their engagement with BIPOC communities? Possibly from the local chamber or a local business journal/newspaper? Employers who receive awards include this recognition on their website. Why not include it on the job posting, too? Promoting an award received for work in the community might be the deciding factor for a top-notch candidate who is considering multiple companies.

 Writing your job posting doesn’t have to be stressful process.. It is at the discretion of the employer to determine what is the right combination of content to have a standout job posting. In the end, it’s about reaching out and connecting with your target audience.