4 Ways to Get People Pumped Up to Apply to Your Job

April 11, 2016

The first time a prospective job candidate hears about your company it will most likely be through one of your job postings, LinkedIn data shows.

From there, if they are interested, they’ll research your company before actually applying. But, the job posting is generally your first impression to the world, particularly if you’re a lesser-known company. So, what you absolutely, positively shouldn’t do is replicate the boring old job postings we’ve all seen 10,000 times.

Instead, you should build a job posting that shows off what kind of company you really are and who you are truly looking for in the position. If you approach your job description that way, you will make a real impression with prospects and get them legitimately excited to apply.

What are some techniques you can use to make your job descriptions more compelling? There’s certainly room for experimentation, but four good ones are:  

1. Inspire prospects by clearly starting the purpose of your company and why the job matters.

Prospects, particularly millennials, are attracted to companies and positions that have a bigger purpose, aside from being “an industry leader” or just making as much money as possible. So, in your job description, explain what your company’s bigger purpose is and how the job fits into that.

A good example: Nike

Check out this job description for a business planner at the Nike Retail Corporate team. It could be boring, as Nike could say it is simply looking to remain “the worldwide leader in sports apparel” and describe how the position relates to the goal of growing its business. Instead, they clearly define their mission and how the role relates to it:

NIKE, Inc. does more than outfit the world’s best athletes. It is a place to explore potential, obliterate boundaries and push out the edges of what can be. The company looks for people who can grow, think, dream and create. Its culture thrives by embracing diversity and rewarding imagination. The brand seeks achievers, leaders and visionaries. At Nike, it’s about each person bringing skills and passion to a challenging and constantly evolving game.

Nike Retail employees inspire athletes of all abilities to tap into their potential. Step into a Nike Store or visit nike.com, and feel the energy, enthusiasm and passion for sport. That same excitement and consumer-first mindset reverberates through the Nike Retail Corporate team. A global network of buyers, visual merchandisers, real estate specialists, store operations directors and others direct the daily operations of nike.com and the hundreds of Nike Stores and Nike Factory Stores worldwide. The team constantly defines the new frontier of retail and creates the most inspiring and engaging consumer experiences in the industry.

2. Challenge prospects with a mission-critical task.

There’s a bit of a myth out there that you should accentuate the perks of your company, such as unlimited time off or a foosball table, to attract top talent. That helps, no doubt.

But what top talent most wants in a job is a challenge. They don’t want an easy job; they want a difficult job where they believe they can make real impact. So don’t be afraid to explain the challenges that come with a position that the person in the job will have to overcome.

A good example: Adobe

Adobe takes this idea to a whole new level by including a “challenge” section within their job descriptions. Here’s an example of one for a talent scout position at the company:

The challenge

At Adobe, the selection and development of exceptional talent is at the top of our leaders' agenda. Our ability to build highly qualified communities of talent therefore is critical to our future growth, and as such, our obsession with the sourcing of exceptional talent is unwavering. If you are just as passionate about talent, technology and creation of communities in partnership with the industries best Talent Partners then read on!

The role of the Talent Scout is to qualify and present the very best global talent in the form of active and passive candidate generation. In partnership with Recruiting Partners; proactively building pipeline and talent community for future roles is key to securing future talent. Managing “one to many” relationships via structured talent communities ensures Adobe maintains front of mind awareness for future prospective candidates. Ensuring Adobe is the benchmark as it relates to candidate experience.

3. Vividly describe the personality, interests and skills of the type of person you’re looking for.

No company is really looking for someone with two-to-three years of experience, a degree in marketing and who is proficient in Microsoft Excel. Chances are, you have a much more defined idea of the perfect person for the job in your head, and you should describe that in your job description.

A good example: Marvel

Marvel does an excellent job in their job descriptions of describing the exact person they want, instead of just rattling off a list of requirements. For example, here’s the introduction of a job posting they did for a creative manager position within their Marvel Games division:

Do you live and breathe Marvel and games? Do you have a keen editorial eye, a brain for brand, and the experience that proves it? Does the idea of making amazing games with the greatest characters in the universe (and an expert team that loves them) excite you? If so, we have the perfect job for you! We are Marvel Games – we match the best Super Heroes and Villains with the best partners to create the best games for the best fans -- and we are looking for a Creative Manager, reporting to the Creative Director, to join our awesome team.  

Continuing on, in their qualifications section, Marvel didn’t just “proficient in Microsoft Office” or “2-3 years experience in game design.” Instead, their qualifications section is entitled “You are:”, and lists qualities like this:

  • A walking Wiki of Marvel (past & present) – You can not only recall minutiae from decades of comics, films, and animation, but you also understand what is happening now and what is key to Marvel as a brand.
  • A humble teammate – We partner with the top game companies in the world, so while you are confident of your skills and knowledge, ego has no place on this team. You understand that we succeed only through the success of others.

4. Motivate prospects by stating how the job can grow their career.

Do you know the number one reason people both leave jobs and choose new jobs? Career progression. Clearly, people want a job that can take them places.

Based off that, there’s arguably nothing you could do on a job posting to make it more appealing than talking about where the offered job could take someone.

A good example: PwC

PwC’s employer brand is built around how working for the firm can advance a person’s career. And that continues in their job descriptions. Just look at the first two sentences of this job description for an assurance senior associate:

Are you interested in the opportunity to work for an industry-leading firm that services clients that include the Fortune 500, and will give you the experience and exposure you need to build your career and personal brand? If you are, then PwC US (PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP and its subsidiaries) may be the firm for you.

That value proposition exists throughout the rest of the company’s career page as well. For example, they have a section on their career page entitled “Your career experience”, that emphasizes how people can grow within the company.

The tagline of the page is this:

Every career path is different. That’s why we help you design your own. 

We’ll provide the training, coaching and experiences that allow you to build relationships and take advantage of career opportunities. You decide what happens next—at PwC or beyond.

And features videos like this:

This is a great example of a company focusing on one clear EVP (employee value proposition) and ensuring all their recruiting content is built around that. It starts with their job descriptions – the most common way prospects first interact with a company’s employer brand ­– and then continue throughout the rest of their career site.

Tying it all together

These are just four techniques that can make your job descriptions stick out. You can use all of them potentially in a single job posting or none of them, it is completely up to you. The best advice is probably to use the techniques that best reflect your company’s voice and employer brand.

But the bigger point is do more with your job descriptions than use the boilerplate formats ones all of us have seen countless times. That’s a wasted opportunity.

Bottom line, data suggests your job postings are often your first impression with your candidate. Make it a good one.

*Image from Death to the Stock Photo

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