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Job Post Optimization: What are your Candidates Searching For?

Today, reaching people on the web is all about content.  Not only does your content need to be well presented but it has to be relevant to the group you are targeting (and you have to show this relevance in a hurry).  The biggest benefit of this content generation though is that it’s shifted the focus of how you acquire customers from having to go out and find customers to having customers find you.  This is what is called Inbound Marketing.

Working for a company that sells a product, I have used the Google Keyword Tool to research what keywords people are searching for that relate to our product and industry in an effort to boost our Search Engine Optimization (SEO).  We continually monitor our rankings weekly for these keywords as they present a tremendous opportunity for us to be found by qualified customers who are looking for our product.

This concept relates well with recruitment marketing as your company wants to be found by the best candidates for the positions you are hiring.  So how do you increase the chances of these candidates finding your job position?

Well, for one, I don’t think the answer is SEO.  It’s extremely hard to get your website to show up at the top of search rankings for your industry, much less worth the work it would take for you to show up high for a certain position (this is where job search engines like Indeed & SimplyHired are king.)

The answer I believe is what I like to call Job Post Optimization (JPO) or optimizing the listings you post online (via job boards, social networks, ad banners, job search engines, etc.) to allow the best candidates to find and ultimately apply for your position.

So what do you need to think about when you are looking to optimize your job posts?  Here are a few areas to get you started:

  1. Think about your Title – When I talk about title I’m talking about two things:
    1. The actual title for the position you are hiring. Do potential candidates want to be called Marketing Analyst vs. Marketing Associate or Director of Marketing vs. VP of Marketing?  Are your titles consistent with industry norms for the experience level and expertise you are looking to hire?
    2. The hook that entices candidates to read your job description. The best bloggers and Twitter users focus most of their time and energy on creating strong titles.  Why? Because you need to stand out in order to win the competition for people’s attention. (Here’s a few tips on optimizing your blog titles that may work for your job posts as well.)
  2. Focus on Buzz words - What are the most important terms to use for the specific job you are hiring?  It could be designations such as a CFA or CLU or certain skill-sets like project management or SEO.  Find these terms (what are similar job positions using?) and use them through not only your job description but in your titles as well.
    • Example: I have a roommate that is very experienced in running successful Google Adwords campaigns.  When he looks for potential positions, he looks exclusively for descriptions that have PPC (or pay per click) experience necessary.  In this case, if you were looking for a person to run your Google Adwords campaigns, he’d be a great fit but you would ultimately lose out on reaching him if you didn’t include PPC in your job description (or possibly your job title)
  3. Succinctly Convey the Position – Write out a full description of the position you are hiring for.  Is there any way we can cut it down without removing critical information?  Try using numbered lists or bullet points to discuss job responsibilities or benefits.  Not only does this make the page easier to read but people just love lists.

So there are a few ways you can increase your Job Post Optimization but how do you know if it’s really working?  The key is having testing and metrics! Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Do some A-B Testing! – Create two similar job descriptions but change one variable that you want to test.  The variable could be:
    • Using bullets vs. paragraphs in your description
    • Producing a generic title vs. (what you think is) a catchy title
    • Inserting a different call to action in your description
  2. Determine Success Factors - What are the most important metrics that determine success of a job post?  Is it views? clicks? applicants? hires?  Create a list of your top metrics for success and continue to add and update it.
  3. Measure the Results - Once you have your top metrics, you will need to measure them.  Look for a technology solution that can provide you with the metrics that you’ve identified and implement it into your recruiting process. (SmashFly has recruiting metrics functionality that may work for you.)
  4. Keep with it - Testing and measuring your job post effectiveness is not just a one-time action you need to make.  It is something that needs to be part of your recruiting process so you can consistently evolve your job post messaging.

Go and find out what works and more importantly what doesn’t work in your job descriptions.  Through research, testing and measuring, you can optimize your job listings and allow top candidates to find YOU!

About Christopher Brablc

I'm the Recruiting & Marketing Geek at SmashFly Technologies and help recruiting organizations improve their recruiting process and results. Follow me on Twitter: or connect with me on LinkedIn:


24 thoughts on “Job Post Optimization: What are your Candidates Searching For?

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