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Take the Guesswork out of Job Postings

Last week I rode shotgun with our SnagAJob.com usability team and came back with some great user experience nuggets to share with employers.

First, a little background. These sessions are conducted one on one with real live job seekers, so if you’re a silent observer, you need to put on your best poker face and avoid even a defensive inner monologue. After all, the point of usability sessions is to objectively test websites, which requires you to put to bed your preconceived opinions about how people use and feel about your website.

Here are a few best practices for developing job postings, reinforced by my recent usability testing cameo:

  1. Job seekers want details: I know that for many reasons, hiring managers have to often paint a general description of the jobs they’re posting. But that doesn’t change the fact that job seekers want the skinny on wages, hours and job prerequisites. If you can’t or prefer not to give specific answers, try a range (“$8 – $12/hour) or description (e.g., “competitive” or “based on experience”). These approaches will signal to job seekers that there is some flexibility in the starting wage. Remember: the more information you can provide, the more credible your job posting.
  2. That said, simple is better: As SnagAJob.com continues to get feedback on and hone its job posting template and format, think about striking your own balance. How can you balance postings to deliver your company’s culture and  key position details against overwhelming potential applicants with a deluge of corporate jargon and a laundry list of duties? One way is to follow the news writing formula by building an inverted pyramid of most important info first, secondary details later. Also, use bullets instead of long paragraphs. That way you’ll catch the attention of job scanners and browsers.
  3. Test & learn: Consider testing different job descriptions for the same job. Similar to how SnagAJob.com tests different callouts and functionality to ensure we have as intuitive an interface as possible for job seekers and employers, you can also conduct your own job posting usability test. Keep one control posting and gauge different variables, such as length, format and word selection. (Of course, the SnagAJob.com Employer Services team is available to help optimize postings on our website.)

To learn more job posting tips and insider advice for hourly hiring, more hourly recruitment tips.

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Mike Ward is the managing editor for Snagajob. When he's not writing and editing content to support America's hourly workers and employers, he reviews movies, roots for losing sports teams and hangs out with his family and friends in the River City.

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