Were you, like so many of us, thinking that with the pandemic under better control things would start getting back to normal—where higher unemployment drives more applications? One would think this would be the case…but the data tells us otherwise.

If you follow the news, you know that the unemployment rate is still high, but for some reason, the “normal” logic doesn’t seem to apply anymore when you post your jobs. In fact, applications have been lagging and dropped 14% in the second half of March compared to the first half. What happened to high unemployment = more applicants. What is going on?

how to make your job posting stand out - fewer applications

In this post, we’ll explore:

  • The data on recent hiring trends
  • Job posting basics you need to master
  • How to make your job posting stand out

 

2020 hiring trends and how they’ll impact your 2021 job postings

In 2020, we saw record unemployment due to the pandemic, which led to fewer job openings across the US. We’re seeing that there are now a lot more job openings, but many companies are seeing fewer applicants than they did pre-pandemic.

Here’s what we know:

  1. There are more job openings now than a year ago, even just a month ago, and we still can’t get enough applications in the door…
  2. You are not only competing with your usual competitors in your area and/or industry, you are now finding you are competing against jobs across the country offering remote work, sign-on bonuses, higher than average hourly wages, and other enticing benefits.

how to make your job posting stand out - hiring trends for 2021

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Here’s what this tells us for job postings and hiring in 2021:

  1. There will be fewer applications for every job opening
  2. You can expect an increase in advertising expenses
  3. The cost per hire is going up
  4. Hourly rates is/will be going up*

*The hourly wage jobs are particularly hit by the jobs trifecta consisting of, perhaps not in equal parts, lingering COVID fears, the lack of trusted and safe in-person child and/or eldercare, and government regulations.

 

Mastering job posting basics

So, what to do about these trends? Here are a few of the basics you need to master for a job posting that stands out.

Are your job postings fresh?

When did you last update your job postings? Check your career page, ATS, and online listings, and make sure your job postings are less than 30 days old.

how to make your job posting stand out - keep your job posting fresh

Most job boards allow searchers to filter by date posted, so you have a higher chance of showing up if your job posting is more recently added or updated.

We see listings that look like a forgotten “evergreen” posted 100-800+ days ago, giving a potential candidate a very sad first impression. Candidates will wonder if you are indeed hiring now, already filled the position, or worse, if you are constantly hiring because you can’t keep employees. 

Are you expecting hires within days?

Did you know the average time to hire is 42-45 days or more depending on the needed skill set? Make sure you plan to run your recruitment marketing campaigns for more than 30 days. With an average time to hire of 42-45 days, your best bet is 60-90 days ad runs, and that timeline may need to be longer. For example, if you are looking for a CDL driver, we see 80+ days to hire.

how to make your job postings stand out - understand average time to hire

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Are your job listings easily found–everywhere?

Are they ranking on Google, found on all the social media channels, and are your jobs targeting and retargeting qualified candidates? If not, it may be a sign to refresh your current recruitment marketing strategy to ensure your job postings are getting found.

 

How to make your job posting stand out

Getting the attention of a candidate is hard enough, but once you get it, you need to ensure they go on to the next step, which is to apply for the job! This means that your job posting needs to be expertly crafted.

Here are some tips for how to make a job posting stand out.

Think like a job seeker

Effective job ads are written with the job seeker in mind, in other words, do not use HR’s list of job requirements or the hiring manager’s wish list, but think of the job ad as a way of telling the candidates about your company, the benefits of working for you, and the job opportunity now and in the future in 150 words or more. Do not embellish, keep it real.

how to make your job posting stand out - think like a job applicant

And, let’s be real: Pay and benefits are what every job seeker is looking for and are good reasons why they should come work for you! Try to include these details if you can.

Use clear language (no jargon!)

Be concise and grammatically correct across all job post elements, including the title listed and job description. Avoid special characters, abbreviations, or in-house terminology such as:

  • Machinist II (Machinist for/of what? And if there is a II is there a I and III, too, and what does that mean?)
  • Manager 3rd Shift (Manager of what and when does the 3rd shift start?)

By avoiding jargon and making your job listings clear and to the point, you can encourage more applications.

how to improve a job posting - no jargon and concise language

Always start your ad with the job title, and keep it simple and straightforward such as:

  • CDL Drive Class A
  • Nurse LPN
  • Store Clerk

Starting an ad with the header Help Wanted or Hiring Now is not effective—no one searches for Help Wanted. People search for jobs based on skillset such as driver, nurse, store clerk, etc., or by job title.

Pick your location wisely

If you’re trying to fill a position in a remote area, post your job ad to the largest city or town within a 25-mile radius. Sometimes posting the job to the county of the location may prove more effective.

If your job listing is for a remote work or work from home position, make sure you clearly state if this permanent or temporary, if in-person training is required, and if you provide any support or assistance to get your employees set up.

how to make a job posting stand out - remote work

This job posting was listed as Remote, Full Time, and lays out additional benefits for WFH employees. 

Also, note if they can remote work from anywhere or within 100 or more miles from the training center. Be as specific as possible.

Don’t be afraid to get creative!

When composing your job posting, do not hesitate to insert your own brand and voice into the content you are writing. All things considered…Would you apply to this job? If the answer is no, it might be time to go back to the drawing board and add elements that make the position and the company sound exciting and appealing.

Play up what makes your company unique. Do you provide paid time off for volunteering? Do you offer employees a budget for learning or conference opportunities? Do you have a really cool mission statement? Your job posting is the place to brag about your business and why people love working there!

how to make a job posting stand out - culture

The intro in this job posting for Slack gives you a glimpse at their culture and their mission. 

 

Start getting more applicants with job postings that stand out

If you find you’re not getting the volume of applications you expect, then you may not be visible enough online. Recruitment marketing can help you build awareness for your open positions and drive qualified candidates through your door. Learn more about the best recruitment marketing strategies here.

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