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Check out our weekly blog posts and see the latest news and discussions happening in the HR world of business.

HR How to: How to craft the perfect job ad

It should come as no surprise that a well-written job posting is crucial to attracting top job seekers, but it also needs to be strong enough to turn even the most passive job seekers into active applicants.

According to Matt Singer, vice president of marketing at talent acquisition technology firm Jobvite, “based on our data, we see at best a 90 percent abandonment rate from careers pages and at worst a 96-97 percent rate, so you’re only going to get three to 10 visitors [out of 100] to your careers page actually applying for a job.” He added that “even improving that rate by 1 percentage point will have a huge impact on the number of candidates you’re getting in the door.”

So what types of information should a well-written job posting include? The Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) boils it down for us:

Provide a checklist:
The job posting serves as a checklist for both the employer and the candidate. Advertisements should be specific about the past experience, job skills and education desired of a good candidate, while at the same time providing an honest preview of the job. In other words, be straight forward about what you want and what you need – don’t pitch the job to low in the hopes of attracting more applicants or, conversely, make the position sound more highbrow than it really is as you could miss out on some good candidates who erroneously think they don’t qualify.

Let them know what you bring to the table:
According to Jobvite, job seekers most want to know about a potential employer’s compensation, location, work/life balance and health benefits. “Put yourself in the job seekers’ shoes for a moment to understand what they may be thinking, feeling and searching for,” advised Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer for CareerBuilder. Haefner suggest that you show off your company’s personality and explain why it is different from the dozens of other options they possibly have in front of them.

Create a new document:
One major mistake to make is to fall back on the internal job requisition to write the job posting. While the requisition is an internal document that helps recruiters understand who they should be recruiting and what the needs of your company are, the job advertisement is more of a marketing document that seeks to solicit interest in that particular position. Making sure that these two documents are distinctly different can be a huge game changer, according to the experts.

Be Concise:
Research from Appcast found that postings of roughly 500-600 words produce a 12-15 percent click-to-apply rate, which is just about the best you can hope for. According to the experts, shorter postings attract click-to-apply rates of between 3 percent and 7 percent, while longer length postings – which obviously include far more information for candidates – see approximately the same rate of return. Appcast noted that the same idea applies to job titles. Titles comprised of 50-60 characters, including spaces, work best, outperforming other titles by 30-40 percent.

Tell them what to do:
The end of the job description should include a clear call to action in terms of what candidates need to do next, who they will be dealing with and when they can expect to hear from your company. CareerBuilder also recommends limiting the number of response options. “Offering an e-mail address, a link to your careers site, an ‘apply now’ button and perhaps even a mailing address leads to job seeker confusion. The less options, the better. You will also be making your life easier by reducing the number of candidates who apply for the same job through multiple means.”

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