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How to Write a Good Job Posting and Include An Employment Test
February 1, 2015 7:00:00 PM EST   By Shoa Appelman

Job postings matter. They tell applicants about the job, and good job postings get applicants excited about the job.

What should be included in a job posting?

1) The Job Title – Make it Clear

It’s important that the title of the job is something that applicants can find and understand. For example, Sales Slayer might be a fun name for a Sales Position. However, it’s terrible.

Bad ExampleGood Example
Sales SlayerSales Representative - Financial Services

Why? Because no one searches for that. If you want your job listing to be found - and you should want it to be found because casting a wide net is a good way to find good applicants – then be sure to use job titles that are consistent within the industry.

For example, the title Sales Representative – Financial Services, sets expectations immediately. These results will appear in search listings for Sales Representative, Sales – Financial, Sales – Services, and a number of other relevant combinations.

2) What the Employee Will Do – Set Expectations

Bad ExampleGood Example
- Make sales calls- Develop prospects from current commercial customers, referral leads, or online research.
- Contact prospective customers to determine customers' financial service needs.

It’s important to tell the applicant exactly what the work entails. Set clear expectations about day-to-day tasks involved and tools they would use. Be specific, so the applicant can determine whether the work entailed is something they would be interested in and have had past success with.

You might be thinking: a person qualified for the position does not need me to spell out the tasks entailed. That’s not necessarily true. Processes differ across companies and industries. By explaining the process your organization uses, and the process you expect the candidate to use, you allow the job candidate to demonstrate that they have had success doing exactly what you are asking them to do.

Furthermore, the candidate might be aware of a tool, resource or strategy that you aren’t that they can introduce during the hiring process.

If you are having trouble defining the day-to-day tasks someone in the role might do, consult O*Net. O*Net is a database of job analyses that includes resources for hundreds of jobs. Type in your job title to find a list of the day to day tasks for your open position. You can use this list as a starting point. Have one or two other people also review the list.

3) Job Requirements, or What You Would Like Your Applicants To Have

Okay ExampleGood Example
Must know Microsoft ExcelMust be comfortable using Microsoft Excel for sorting data and interested in learning advanced functionality as needed.

This section is an opportunity to explain what you are looking for in an applicant. For example, what education or certifications are necessary? Do they need a security clearance? Do they need to be able to collaborate with others? Use this section as an opportunity to spell out what you are looking for in a candidate.

Also use this section to demonstrate the environment to the candidate. In the good example, you’ve demonstrated that
1) You need someone who uses Excel
2) You are open to someone who likes to learn
3) You are in an environment that supports professional development.

4) What you Offer – Be Up Front

If you have great benefits, tell your prospects. If the role is commission only, tell applicants that initially. Applying for a job takes time and effort, and applicants do not want to feel deceived further into the process. You should also explain the hours, the location (this matters a lot), the benefits and whether the job offers work-from-home options.
While you do not need to spell out the exact salary, you can provide a range for applicants.

5. How to Apply – Make It Easy

Bad ExampleGood Example
1. Register for an account.

2. Fill out your contact information and experience details on our 8 page Applicant tracking system.
(Not available for mobile devices.)

3. Mail your reference materials to P.O. Box 555, Richmond, VA.
1. Email your contact information, resume and cover letter to jobs@company.com

2. Take our sales employment test using this link: Link to Online Test Here

3. Pursue the job like you would a sales opportunity.

Whether you have an ATS system or are just accepting emails, make it easy for the applicant to apply. Demonstrate that your company is interested in efficiency.

And make sure your process is mobile-ready. 83% of job-seekers use tablets or mobile devices to search for jobs. And 39% of those candidates who are interested will apply right away from their device. Don't miss out on tech-savvy applicants.

6. Include the Link to the Pre-Employment Test in the Posting

If you have a pre-employment test you want candidates to take, include a link to the test in the posting. That way, you can use the test as a screening resource.

If you are using HR Avatar, you can create a link to include in a job posting by:

1. Select the test from the test catalog.

2. Click Administer this Test.

3. Click Create a Multi-Administration Link for this Test.

4. Fill in when you want the link to expire, or the maximum number of applicants you want.

5. Click Create Link, and voila! You have a link to copy and paste into your listing.

One link should lead the candidate directly to the test. For HR Avatar tests, candidates simply have to enter in their name and email address to begin taking the test. Test takers are also emailed a link to the test, in case they need to complete the test later.

Some candidates won't complete the test. That's fine. If you have over 50 applicants, seeing who followed directions and who did not is an effective way to screen.

Furthermore, if a candidate has a promising resume, but they did not complete the assessment, follow up with the candidate. Ask them to complete the test and send them a link. Let them know you are serious about considering them as applicants.

A lot of of companies don't want to include the test in the job posting because they don't want to pay for test-takers who don't complete the test, or who aren't serious applicants. Consider reaching out to your test provider, whether it's us here at HR Avatar, or another provider, and ask about the available options for including a link within the job postings.

7. Follow-up with the Candidate - It's Polite

Most importantly, follow-up with the candidate. You can have an automated message letting the applicant know you received their information or a personal, "Thank you for applying. I will let you know the next steps when we have reviewed all the resumes."

The easiest, and most important thing to do, is communicate well: be polite and responsive to job candidates. 70% of applicants don't even receive a form reply after applying online. Treating applicants like real people and keeping them updated on the process is the best thing any employer can do to help establish a positive candidate experience.

Shoa Appelman

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