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Startups, learn the difference between a job posting and a job description and how to use them.

Once you have determined you need to fill a key role at your tech startup, you may write up a job description that lists your needs, post it to a job board, spread it to your network, and wait for the candidates to come calling. Right? Wrong. There’s a big difference between a job description and a job posting, and if you confuse the two, you’re likely missing out on the best candidates.

Especially in a tight job market where top talent has their choice of employers, why would they want to work for you? That’s where a compelling job posting comes in. 

A Job Posting Sells, a Job Description Tells

Startups depend on a stellar recruitment program, and that’s why it’s important to understand the difference between a job posting and a job description. Mis-using either can put your job recruitment strategy at risk. Simply put, a job posting will sell a position to a potential candidate, while a job description will tell them what that job entails. Why does this matter? Because job descriptions are well, just that, descriptive. Some job descriptions are so detailed that these “wish lists” turn off potential candidates, as Hubspot uncovered last year.

That’s where a job posting comes in. When a startup advertises an available position, a job posting (or job ad) needs to be written. A job advertisement is different than a job description – though you’ll want to have that finalized before writing a job posting. Just like other types of advertising, a job posting should be exciting and eye-catching. If you want to sell a potential candidate on applying for a job with your startup, there are a few other things you’ll want to include in your job posting.

How to Write an Effective Job Posting

You can find examples of a job postings online, but for the best results a startup should customize their approach. Job seekers wade through many job postings, and using standard verbiage won’t help you stand out. We often create job posting and job description templates for our clients that adhere to specific company guidelines, which keeps internal documents (like detailed job descriptions) separate from external documents (advertisements like job postings). Here’s how to write an effective job posting:

1. Use an attention-grabbing job title and image.

To make things clearer for potential candidates, use the job role in the title of your job posting. This helps with search algorithms on multiple sites, which often only match job postings with exact search terms.

For example, if you seek to hire a web developer, make sure that role is part of the job posting title (even if the position is titled as something more creative). Including visuals in your posting is a good strategy for an eye-catching posting. Just be sure the image you select represents your company well.

2. Introduce yourself.

Be sure to tell potential candidates a bit about yourself, in terms you think a job seeker will want to hear. An emotive introduction is a “a single paragraph that gives three to five details [that] applicants will find most exciting about the job. It is similar to the lede that newspapers use to hook you into reading the full article,” says one source. Also include information on your company’s work culture. Do you offer a casual office vibe and open board meetings? Include those details.

3. Address your ideal audience.

In a job posting, it’s appropriate to address the reader in first person. This allows a potential candidate to envision themselves in the job role. For example, instead of saying “the ideal candidate,” say “This job may be right for you if …” What’s more, the tone in which you write your job posting may deter some job seekers from applying. Recently, an analysis by Textio found that big-name tech companies use some interesting terminology in their job postings. The descriptive terms analyzed by the language analytics platform offer insight into each company’s job recruitment strategy, something a startup can contemplate as they develop a strategy of their own.

4. Tell candidates what it’s like to work for you.

Frankly, a job advertisement that tells candidates what it’s like to work at their company is a lot more effective than one that simply details expected tasks. Paint a picture for a potential candidate of what it will be like to work at your company, in the role you’re advertising. For example, telling a reader “At [company], we focus on team growth. That’s why we offer our [job role] professional development days and out-of-office excursions,” is a lot more motivating than “Working at [company] involves [job tasks].

5. Deliver a strong call to action (CTA).

Take a tip from digital advertising and include a strong CTA at the finish of your job posting. You want your target candidates to fully understand who to send their resume to. Make this call to action friendly and conversational (or in whatever tone works best for your company). It’s also helpful to direct candidates to social media platforms or pages on your website that can tell them more about your company and/or the position.

Bring It All Together

The above job posting guidelines make sure you cover the important elements of your external job advertisement. Don’t forget that this job post is often the first impression a potential employee has of your startup.

If you need help looking for the next great star to propel your B2B technology startup forward, consider the benefits of having an experienced recruiter on your side. Learn more about Growthwright’s recruiting services.

Dorie Dunhill is the Corporate Recruiter at Growthwright.

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