Job Board Journalist: Fixing Job Postings … Again

Peter Weddle

Since the first job boards appeared online in the early 1990’s, job board owners and operators have been trying to get recruiters to upgrade the quality of their online recruitment ads. Too many read like the print classifieds or position descriptions only an HR bureaucrat could love. They may work well enough with desperate job seekers, but with the most qualified, they’re a total turnoff. Recruiters might as well post a blank page – it would probably be more intriguing.

Job boards have tried any number of strategies to help recruiters get better at job posting. They’ve published guidelines, created templates and delivered conference sessions and webinars. It’s been a monumental effort, and it has had an impact. Some job postings, at least, are better than those posted in 1993. That’s progress, I guess, but hardly a cause for celebration.

In fact, even those improved recruitment ads are now failing. Employers everywhere can’t get the talent they need to fill their openings. To make matters worse, the government reports that the U.S. has seen four consecutive months with more job openings than there are job seekers in the market. In that environment, it’s no surprise that a better but hardly superlative job posting isn’t cutting it. And we all know what happens when a job posting fails … more often than not, it’s the job board that gets the blame.

The good news is that recruiters seem finally to be getting the message. This year’s TAtech-PandoLogic Global Survey of Recruitment Advertising (the Final Report will be out shortly) found the following:
• Almost six-out-of-ten of the respondent publishers said they offer job aids, training or other services to advertisers to help them improve their job ads;
• And, over half (55 percent) of the respondent advertisers said they would purchase job aids, training or other support to improve their job ads.

That’s certainly a step in the right direction, although the data should be taken with a grain of salt. History has proven that there’s often little correlation between such survey responses from employers and their actual purchase of a product or service.

Nevertheless, with the possibility of increased interest on the part of HR ad writers, it’s important for job boards (and other publishers) to do an assessment of exactly what content their current support (fee-based or otherwise) includes. For example:
• When were the guidelines or tips or templates last updated?
• How was the update accomplished – by a survey of candidates that determined what works best or by an intern on staff for the summer who did a browser search to come up with some ideas?
• And, do the guidelines or tips or templates reflect the new reality of a job market where there are now more ads competing for fewer job seekers?

Equally important, it’s no longer enough to urge recruiters to make ads “more engaging” and to avoid such HR bureaucratese as “requirements and responsibilities.” To be effective in today’s talent competition, an ad must have everything right – from the length and content of its title to its format and organization, from the topics it covers and its word choice to its graphical images and use of video, from its tone and voice to its relationship with external factors (the most important being the employer’s brand).

While some job boards are proactive about staying current on such factors, others find themselves with too many competing priorities to do so. That’s why the TAtech Fall Congress & World Job Board Forum will include a session on the most up-to-date research on what makes a job posting excel. The session will be presented by Owen Humphries, the GM-Jobs at Glassdoor. He’ll tap the rich candidate insights collected by that site on a regular basis to provide guidelines job boards can use to help recruiters improve the performance of their ads … and, as a consequence, reinforce their inclination to be a repeat customer.

Food for Thought,

TAprose and Job Board Journalist by Peter Weddle are brought to you by TAtech: The Association for Talent Acquisition Solutions.

Mark Your Calendars! TAtech’s 2018 events include:

• February 12-13, 2018 Scottsdale, Arizona USA: The TAtech Leadership Summit on AI/Machine Learning in Talent Acquisition – the only conference totally focused on the capabilities and impact of AI/ML/NLP in recruitment. See you next year!

• March 13-14, 2018 Dublin, Ireland: TAtechEurope 2018 – the premier event for recruitment advertising and technology thought & business leaders in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. See you next year!

• April 18-19, 2018 Las Vegas, Nevada USA: The TAtech Spring Congress & Meetup – a unique conference designed to maximize opportunities for B2B networking, trending topic discussions and the exploration of partnerships and business opportunities. See you next year!

• June 5-6, 2018 Minneapolis, Minnesota USA: The TAtech Leadership Summit on Programmatic Ad Buying – the only conference totally focused on the technology and applications of programmatic ad buying by both publishers and advertisers. See you next year!

• September 26-27, 2018 Bourbon Street New Orleans, Louisiana USA: The TAtech Fall Congress & World Job Board Forum – the Global Economic Forum of recruiting, this event brings together thought & business leaders from job boards and all other talent acquisition technology solutions companies around the world.

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