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Fresh Cuts

  • Writer's pictureDrew Donaldson

How to Write a Job Post That Doesn't Suck

Wanted: Part-Time Administrative Assistant

Do you take pleasure in hitting numbers on a phone? Do you enjoy making that clicky noise on your mouse? If so, apply for the Administrative Assistant position at Doomed Retailer, LLC! We celebrate semi-hard-working individuals, who show an enthusiasm for solving menial problems with high levels of ineptitude.


- 10+ years of engineering experience, with a Master’s Degree in a related field

- Excellent attention to detail

- Must have a sizable nest egg in a savings account

- Must be female (sorry dudes)

- Must speak and write English good

- Must know how to start a computer

Offering $2.75/hour, with uncertain potential for bonuses throughout the year and a joke of a benefits package. If this appeals to you, then apply today! Or not. It’s cool either way.

Okay, time to come clean. This is (shockingly) not a real job post. However, you might be surprised to learn it’s not as exaggerated as one might think. Businesses do make such mistakes in their job posts. This is because employers fail to treat job posts as exactly what they are— advertisements. Where is the marketing love? Gone. Probably at the bottom of the ocean that surrounds the island of misfit job ads.

So, do you want to avoid condemning your company to the annals of closed-for-business history? Good. Follow this rule of thumb: Don’t Compost Your Job Post!

Job Post: Goals

First, let’s talk big-picture before we talk details (does anyone have any crayons?). According to Hubspot, a job post has two overarching objectives, which you should keep in mind as you start to draft one for an open position.

The first is that your job advertisement should be written in a way that entices candidates to fill out the application. It’s similar to customer conversion. If they don’t hit that “Apply Today” CTA, then you won’t acquire the future-employee pool you desire. And you want to have an MTV spring-break pool party full of quality swimmers.

And that brings us to the next job post goal: capable applicants who can stay afloat. Your posting should elicit applicants who check all your requirement boxes. Let’s get started by making an optimal candidate profile.

Creating Your Optimal Candidate Profile

Candidate profiles should be a compilation of all desirables — both on your end and their end. Consider the team this person will be joining. What qualities do current team members possess that you want to see mirrored in this new hire? What is the skill or character deficits you would like filled? Is this person a Games of Thrones fan (okay, this one may be irrelevant)? On the flip side, what professional aspirations might this new hire have? What would keep them satisfied with the job? Does this individual expect an all-you-can-eat ice cream sundae bar (if so, that may be a deal-breaker)?

You might also consider making a “worst nightmare” profile, one that will help you eliminate as many meaningless qualifications as possible. The truth is that just because some people have a master’s degree doesn’t mean they aren’t morons (just take a look at Twitter!). And just because some people dropped out of high school doesn’t mean they wouldn’t thrive with the right tutelage. Open your candidate profile heart to training the right candidate and present it as an opportunity to learn and you will reap the rewards later.

The overall point here is that you want to Weird Science your perfect (or not-so-perfect) job prospect before you describe him or her on paper. At GroHaus, we provide all our clients with somewhat creepy-looking clay dolls to mold and to which you can adhere powerful electrodes, and voila, you have the perfect candidate-in-a-box (disclaimer: not really).

Job Post: The Title

Once your candidate model has been zapped into existence, you are ready to embark on the job post voyage, the rough waters of which can leave you stranded if you aren’t careful.

Check out this job post title that sent this employer straight to Deserted Island: Party of One.

Albeit a unique title, it does break some titling rules.

Rule #1:

Your title should include keywords that you know your candidate will be using. It’s Search Engine Optimization at its finest. So, if you are going to get creative, (“must have a high level of self-importance”), do so in the body of your job posting, not in the title.

Rule #2:

Keep your title short and sweet. Appcast’s 2019 Recruitment Media Benchmark Report found that titles with 1-3 words enjoyed a 10% higher apply rate than those with 8-11 words. Title-sinning in this way ranks high in the list of cardinal sins (move over pride, greed, and wrath), and the sales advisor post sinned big time with its title bank of 9 words.

Rule #3:

Don’t shoot yourself in the proverbial marketing foot by narrowing your pool too much by the title alone. Although 8 people applied for this job, imagine how many more could have applied had an odd take on self-confidence not been a pre-requisite.

Job Post Content: The Focus

Me, me, me. This is the mindset of toddlers and some employers who are trying to fill a position. They can get a little egocentric and center their job posting around their needs. Exhibit A.

This magazine company (we think its name is Entitlement Magazine) is so me-focused that it’s asking for an obscene amount of service, essentially for free. Talk about mooching! The only candidate-focused part is the first bullet-point (“A CV and Cover Letter) and, even then, it doesn’t provide any specific or salient details for the candidate to really take hold of, which means he or she will let go of this job opportunity.

You want the candidate to hang on tight and pray for an interview! Write a job post that puts the candidate’s wants, needs, and desires above your own. Spotlight your candidate and wait for quality applicants to roll in.

While it is permissible to include a company summary at the end of the post, which describes either the company as a whole or the team the candidate will be joining, it is not okay to focus so much on the company that you request free labor before hiring. It leaves a bad, fishy aftertaste in one’s mouth. Warm Tuna salad, anyone?

Job Post Content: What to Include and How to Word It

If you want to attract talented team members (yes, please), then you should follow some hard and fast rules about what to put in your job post and how to word it. Take a look at this chiropractic office’s mass rule-breaking.

Rule #1:

Solid job posts will highlight how a candidate can benefit from working at your company, leaving a favorable impression on how one’s work will be meaningful and impactful. This post does the exact opposite by patronizing the candidates so much that the only impression they have is to run for the hills. Do not apply if you cannot turn on a computer or have problems clicking a mouse. Talk about a pre-hire snub. Come down off your high horse and adjust your tone.

Just because someone isn't a good fit for your role, doesn’t mean you denigrate his or her intelligence, ya moron! See? How do you like it? Not fun, right? Those unqualified candidates could be your customers someday, so treat them as such.

Rule #2:

Imperative Sentence: An imperative sentence is a type of sentence that expresses a command, an order, a direction, or a request.

Do not use imperative sentences as your sole sentence structure pattern (see, it doesn’t feel good).

It’s acceptable and even expected to break down the requirements and responsibilities of your position, highlighting the necessary background, education, and abilities of your candidates. However, it’s best to avoid barking orders at them. It feels like you are being punished and no one likes the time-out chair.

Why not change it by asking questions instead of making demands? See, it feels more comfortable because it’s more conversational. Pepper in a few questions: “Are you the type of person who can work independently and quickly?” “Are you able to digest information easily and then apply it immediately?” It doesn’t feel like the hiring firing squad is aiming their weapons at you. Invite and entice your candidate. Don’t threaten with theoretical guns. That’s not cool.

Rule #3:

A big factor in whether you have a quality applicant pool lies in your job post’s readability. Use subheads or sections in your post to facilitate an easy first scan. Once a candidate flitters across the information and determines interest, he or she will go back through and read more closely. The organization works wonders!

You need to HGTV your job post space. Don’t squoosh a bunch of overly wordy information together, as in our chiropractic post example. It hurts eyeballs and job post ophthalmologist treatments aren’t covered by insurance.

Similarly, expenses related to poorly worded jobs post-trauma are equally prohibitive. Typos are the worst. Sentence structure errors are a close second. Just take a look at this sentence from our job post illustration: “Have adequate knowledge of the English language.” Ahhh. Capitalization, people! English Language. ‘Nuff said. Excuse me, enough said.

Job Post: The Close

Want to seal the deal? Ending with a conversational tone is the way to do it, according to LinkedIn. Here is an example of a job post, who tried (and failed) to create that moment in their close.

You are so close, BBQ guy! You know exactly the type of person you want to attract (talk about a candidate profile!) and you leave very little doubt about the type of environment and type of colleague a new hire would experience (so specific job post content). However, the last two sentences, the close, if you will, is where this job ad falls short.

Think you can do it? You most likely can’t. Talk about a vote of confidence. Reverse psychology only works if you aren’t cursing and belittling your candidates. You want to seal the deal at the end of job posts, not leave room for doubt.


Now, this is a quality job post! It has all the good stuff:

  • 1-3 keyword-friendly title

  • It’s candidate-focused (it literally has statements that start with “you”)

  • It provides a role-within-the-greater-company overview right under the title

  • It glosses over benefits (using positive language, “you enjoy,” “you love,” “you get a kick out of,” etc.)

  • It lists out, using easy-to-scan bullet points, job responsibilities (while avoiding imperative sentences)

  • It highlights desirable personal characteristics

And its close is stellar. “Just make sure we can see where you picked up your helping people super-powers.” It’s relatable, creative, friendly, and memorable — everything a lasting impression should entail.

If you want to drive top-notch candidates to your company, crafting top-notch job posts like the one above will help you do it.

Job Post Ads: The Final Word

As extreme as some of these examples are, underlining truths about current job post practice still rings true. The reality of today’s candidate pool is that it is multi-generational, which means if you want your job post to be competitive, you have to find a way to market to 5 different generations of people, all of whom will respond to job post structure and wording differently.

To do that, throw out the old-school method of laundry-listing responsibilities and mandating unrealistic work experience. It makes you look boring and no one wants to work for a boring, soul-sucking company. If you focus on employee outcomes, eliminate needless requirements, instill humor, and promote learning and growth, your job post will rank high above your competitors. We are talking about Mount Everest high. To reach that peak, watch GroHaus’s latest webinar about this very topic!

The point is no one wants bureaucracy. No one wants stagnation. The employees of today, a post-pandemic today, care about the future: career trajectory, job enjoyment, work/life balance, and impactful and appreciated work. Give them a glimpse of that in your job posting and the sky's the limit (we will provide a parachute for you to return to the ground).

GroHaus: Parachutes and More

At GroHaus, we take pride in having a you-focused culture. We understand that the American employee is empowered, aspirational, independent, and free-willed and we will celebrate that every day. In fact, we are on a quest to find a consultant to join our celebration (note the above GroHaus job post!).

So, do you want to join a team where you are the star? Do you want to have unlimited access to a dedicated marketing specialist, who will offer quality insight on even the trickiest job posts? If so, get started today and harness your potential!

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