Not all job postings are created equal.
Anyone can come up with a standard, boring job posting that lists the basics in plain language. In fact, this is the norm. We’ve all seen the same sterile job postings on job boards, in newspapers, and around the web time and time again.
But do those standard job postings attract star talent? Do they do a good job of communicating the culture of the business and the team there? No, no they don’t.
A while back, we came across a job posting on Seth Godin’s site for a Senior Software Engineer. It was a breath of fresh air in the world of job postings, and it did so many things right.
Let’s look at this posting piece by piece to examine what it does well—and find out you can replicate these strategies for your next job posting.
Godin opens this job posting by explaining how integral software is not just within his company, but also within the modern world as a whole. This shows that the company sees real value in the position and is aware of how important it is to have a great engineer on its team.
How you can do it: Open your job posting by explaining how the role ties in with your business as a whole, why it’s important, and how it relates to the success of organization. Let your potential applicant know they have a real purpose when they come to work for you.
Rather than just saying, “5-10 years experience required,” Godin’s posting ties this element of the posting into a larger story. He highlights that he’s looking for a “Master of the craft” (which is a far more interesting way to define experience requirements.)
How you can do it: Remember that expert status isn’t always defined by years of experience—focus more on the quality of an applicant’s work rather than his or her age. Think about swapping out “years of experience” for a more open superlative that speaks to the level of skill instead.
Next, Godin’s posting goes into greater detail about the specific skill set the job requires. But again, it’s in a conversational tone. There are no bullet points listed here; just a few sentences that outline what exactly this person needs to be able to do if they expect to land this role. Bonus: Godin ties in a splash of company culture by mentioning flexibility and open-mindedness.
How you can do it: Start out high-level with by laying out some of the basic skills you expect an applicant to have. Make it interesting—tell the reader how they’d be able to put those skills to good use. Then wrap up that paragraph with a few characteristics you’d like your dream candidate to have in addition to those skills.
Next, this posting breaks down any fantasies a potential candidate might have about working with his company. He acknowledges the stereotypical workplace of the industry he’s in—and lets applicants know the realities of what they can expect. Being up front about culture, expectations, and work environment helps weed out non-ideal candidates with unrealistic expectations.
How you can do it: Explain your workplace culture and set some expectations right out of the gate. Don’t be afraid to address industry norms—paint a realistic picture of what working with you looks like.
Defining the Role
Godin clarifies that he’s looking for a candidate with a specific skillset that is flexible enough to grow with the role as it changes over time—not someone who fears change and likes a routine. Again, being clear that there is some gray area around the position rules out candidates who aren’t comfortable with changing, fluid work. It also lets the candidate know that he or she will be trusted to take the lead at certain times—so there is room for leadership within the role. Leveraging responsibility and trust like this helps potential candidates see themselves in a role where their expertise is valued.
How you can do it: Don’t be afraid to leave some gray area, but leverage the opportunities within the role—even when you don’t exactly know what they are yet.
Pay, Location, and Values
Toward the end of the posting, Godin spells out the requirements for location, boasts of great pay and benefits, and briefly goes over the organization’s mission and values. These are all important details that speak directly to the ideal candidate.
How you can do it: Give as many details as you can, and provide a glimpse into the mission and values that drive your brand. We even recommend sharing a salary range, as it helps set realistic expectations up front.
Form over Resume
The last thing Godin does in this job posting is really interesting. Instead of allowing applicants to attach a resume, he uses a simple form instead. Why? “Because it’s not that kind of job,” he writes, “And we’re not seeking someone who wants to apply widely.” The five-minute form lets a prospective applicant tell his or her story, rather than just sending over a standard resume. He also includes a follow-up date, so applicants have an idea of when they might hear back.
How you can do it: Create a custom form that allows applicants to translate their experience into a story and include a few questions that will help you determine if a candidate would be a good fit. Also: Always include a date for follow-up so you don’t leave any applicants wondering when if/when you’re going to call.
Your Next Job Posting = Dream Candidates.
If you can follow these steps and create a home-run job posting like Seth Godin, you’ll attract more ideal candidates and spend less time sorting through resumes that aren’t a good fit. Casting a smaller net means you’ll connect with more relevant candidates who have a strong understanding of exactly what you’re looking for.