Job postings are critical for any company when it comes to attracting the right talent. But for startups, it’s even more crucial to have the right information listed so you can find employees that fit your culture and will get your company on the right track to success.
In this blog, we’ll walk you through how to craft an ideal listing for job posting websites, including what you should (and shouldn’t) mention and what you need to consider in order to attract top talent for your startup.
Choosing a Job Title
Before you begin to write a job posting for your startup company, you need to decide on a job title for the position that you’re hiring for. Choosing the right title will help you get your posting in front of the right candidates.
One of the biggest things to keep in mind when you’re choosing a startup job title is how well it reflects the role. You don’t want to choose a title that will be misleading or one that doesn’t properly convey what the employee’s day-to-day responsibilities will be. Candidates want as much transparency as possible from potential employers and may not bother to apply if they feel a job posting title doesn’t match the description.
Another thing to keep in mind when choosing names for startup roles is the importance of using common titles that people are familiar with. While they may be catchier or look more fun, creative titles will be harder to find on job sites and search engines.
For example, job seekers who are looking to apply to accounting jobs won’t be searching for “Numbers Ninja” jobs on search engines – they’ll be looking for “Accounting Jobs.” If you use a fun title, it will hurt your chances of qualified candidates finding your job listing and applying.
You can flex your creativity or shine more light on your company’s culture later in the job listing, but when it comes to the actual title, it’s best to stick to the basics.
Summarize the Job Description & Responsibilities
Because job descriptions and job postings are both used to accurately describe positions and responsibilities, many people often confuse the two or use the terms interchangeably. But descriptions and postings are very different summaries with separate writing styles and target audiences.
Job descriptions are thorough internal documents that lay out all of the responsibilities and expectations for each position within a team or company. They’re used to properly define roles and align teams internally to ensure leaders know who’s responsible for what. Job descriptions are also used for training and evaluation purposes.
Job postings, on the other hand, are much more concise summaries of roles. Where job descriptions are thorough documents, job postings are advertisements specifically written for candidates based on the information laid out in the job description. While it’s still important to properly convey the responsibilities and expectations of the role in a job posting, it doesn’t have to be as in-depth.
How to Write a Good Description for Your Posting
As you write the description section of your job posting, keep in mind that you want to be as honest and straightforward as possible while keeping your writing clear and concise. Make sure to outline what the key job responsibilities will be, but don’t make the description so long that candidates will lose interest or stop reading.
Be upfront about the kind of candidate you’re looking for, what qualifications you’d prefer they have, and the amount of experience the position requires. Make sure when listing qualifications, you consider any job-related or technical hard skills you’re looking for as well as soft skills that pertain more to personality type and work style.
Another thing you should include in the job posting is whether there’s room for growth or skill development. Many candidates are now prioritizing career growth when considering new jobs. If your startup offers those opportunities, make sure to mention it so potential employees know you’re open to helping the right person advance their career.
A big point of conversation around job postings in recent years is whether or not to include salary information. According to Indeed, half of all United States jobs posted to the site in August 2023 included salary information – the highest number they’ve recorded.
The increase is due, in large part, to the competitive talent market we’ve seen over the past several years and the push for more pay transparency.
Studies have also shown that candidates are more likely to apply to jobs that list salary ranges, which means you’ll attract more talent for your positions. According to LinkedIn, 91% of U.S.-based users who responded to a December 2022 survey reported that including a salary range on a job posting would impact their decision on whether or not to apply. The survey also found salary range is considered more helpful when it comes to deciding whether to apply for a job compared to company information, qualifications for the roles, and remote or hybrid work policies.
If you’re unsure of whether you want to include a salary range for your position, you should keep in mind that some areas in the United States have pay transparency laws that require a salary range on a job posting.
As of 2023, eight states (California, Colorado, Connecticut, Maryland, Nevada, New York, Rhode Island, and Washington) have pay transparency laws in place requiring some sort of salary information for job candidates. More than a dozen other states are considering similar legislation, so you’ll want to keep an eye out for any new laws that may impact your job postings in the coming years.
It’s also worth noting that some state laws, including New York’s, apply to out-of-state remote employees as long as said employees are reporting to a supervisor based in New York.
Benefits & Perks
Another major thing that candidates look for in job postings is information on benefits. Whether you decide to write a brief description for each benefit you offer or include a bulleted list, you’ll want to include both standard benefits and perks that may be unique to your company. If you haven’t decided yet what kinds of benefits and perks you want to offer,
Standard benefits that potential employees will be looking for include information on a 401K, health insurance, dental and/or vision coverage, paid time off, and more.
Relocation assistance, travel expenses, company swag, and team lunches are some of the other perks you may want to include in your job posting.
While it may not be a traditional benefit or perk, company culture is something you should mention in this section as well – especially as a startup. Include some of the values your organization prioritizes, like work-life balance or helping others, so applicants get a sense of what’s important to you. This is also a great place in the job posting to include information on the vision behind your startup.
With hybrid and remote work becoming more common in recent years, location is more important than ever in job postings.
Remote job postings should mention any preferences you may have for the state or region where you’d like the candidate to be located. For example, if you’re a California-based company and would prefer a candidate located within the state or in the Pacific Time Zone, include that in your posting. If you’re open to candidates from any state or time zone, be sure to mention that as well.
For hybrid positions, you want to be as transparent as possible in your listing about the expectations for how often the employee will work remotely vs. in-person. Try to include a percentage to give candidates a rough idea, like 75% in-person work to 25% remote work. You should also note where the employee will be working when they’re in-person.
If the position is fully in-person, make sure to include information about where the office is located. If you’re in a city, be sure to mention what neighborhood you’re in so the candidate can get a better idea of where they’d be working.
What to Leave Out
While there’s a lot of information you need to make sure you include in job postings, there are some things you’ll want to leave out.
Acronyms and Abbreviations
Avoid using abbreviations or acronyms in your job postings. This will help you avoid confusion and any misunderstandings, since many acronyms can mean different things in different industries or fields. You want to make sure candidates have as much information as possible so they can get a full and clear picture of the position. The exception to this rule is for common acronyms that are widely used and recognized regardless of industry, like IT or HR.
Too Much Information
While you want to include enough information in your job posting to paint a full and clear picture of the role and expectations, you don’t want to cross the line into information overload. Candidates will quickly lose interest if they can’t quickly and easily get all the information they need to make an informed decision on whether they want to apply for a role. Writing too much or going into too much detail in your posting may hurt your chance of attracting the right talent.
To reach and speak to as many qualified candidates as possible, you need to ensure you’re not using any biased language, even unintentionally. According to Northern Illinois University, this means using language that’s clear, objective, and free of stereotypes. Once you’ve written your job posting, read through it again to make sure you don’t have any language that could be seen as generalizing for specific groups of people.
When you’re done writing (and re-reading) your job posting, it’s a good idea to have someone else proofread the post before it goes live. Having a second, fresh set of eyes on your work will help catch any potential typos or grammatical errors. A separate proofreader will also help ensure the posting makes sense and includes all relevant information candidates will need.
The last thing you want to do before posting is check that the listing is formatted correctly. Try looking at the job posting on different devices, like a computer and mobile phone, to make sure it’s accessible regardless of how candidates will be looking at it. A job posting that’s hard to read or see may be ignored by qualified candidates.
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