Why Some Job Posts Work… and Others Don’t.

December 16, 2014

You’ve been dangling the hook in the water for weeks now, and you’ve got the sunburn to prove it. Unfortunately, all you’ve managed to net are a handful of nibbles, a small fish or two, a tin can, and a rubber boot. You’re frustrated- not to mention you’re pretty hungry right now. Of course, you understand that this takes patience, but your patience has worn thin as you’ve watched the fish you’ve been trying to reach swim just beyond your hook.

Have you considered your bait?

We’ve had countless conversations with employers about the reasons why they simply aren’t attracting the applicants that they were hoping for, and we’re here to tell you that we might know why.

Let’s say you’ve posted all of your site-relevant jobs to the site, increasing interest and exposure. You probably know that engineers enjoy a crazy-low unemployment rate, so finding the right one can take time. And let’s also suppose you’ve made it easy for candidates to apply with your company by providing them with multiple ways to submit an application.

But what about the bait?

In times past, classified advertising meant you had to be concise, succinct, and really work at selling — be it a used car, a litter of kittens, or a position with your company. With the advent of the information superhighway, we suddenly didn’t have to be quite as succinct. We’re now flush with opportunity to provide an abundance of information. Unfortunately, too much of a good thing ends up being just too much.

It is not unusual to see a job description in place of a job advertisement. In fact, that¬†tends to be the norm. However, while a job description is often an internal document that outlines an employee’s duties and responsibilities, it can do a poor job at selling the candidate on why the opportunity offered is precisely what they’ve been looking for — in other words, you’re using the wrong kind of bait.

Is Your Title Too Catchy?

No matter the type of engineer you’re looking for, the job title should be clear, simple, and articulate — otherwise you run the risk of it sounding like a spammy, noisy ad, which does a serious disservice to your hard work, your company, and the opportunity itself.

For example:

Good: Senior Software Engineer

Bad: Sr. SW Eng w/C, C+, Python, Perl, Bash, 15+ yrs exp

Good: Entry-Level Electrical Engineer


Concise, effective job titles communicate exactly the type of position that the engineer is seeking — promising that the clicks your job posting garners is due directly to the type of successful advertising that will attract the attention of the right candidates.

Did You Sell Your Opportunity?

Give the highlights…

The engineer you want to hire, statistically, is employed right now. Why should they leave the security of their current position to move to the one you have available? Highlight exactly what this opportunity represents. Entice the engineer! The role may be what the job-seeker has been waiting for, so do not hide your offering under a bushel of corporate HR speak.

Did You Sell Your Company?

Have you managed to inject the personality of your company into the ad?

Your ad should convey the company culture. You don’t want to waste your time, nor the engineer’s time, especially if your candidate prefers suits and ties and your company has Hawaiian Shirt Hump-Day and Flip-Flop Fridays.

Have you identified the benefits and perks that come with being an employee of XYZ Company?

Phenomenal health plan? Gym memberships? Catered lunches on Fridays? This is the opportunity for you to reel them in with the bennies — along with anything else that makes working for your company unique.

In Praise of Proofreading.

Here at, we review every job posting that goes on our site. We’ve told you why this is an important part of our philosophy, and it boils down to you looking good. We very well may be the only job board on the internet that does this as part of our offering, so it would surely behoove you to proofread your ad several times before hitting “publish”. In fact, we’d even suggest that you have someone else on your team read it — perhaps even passing it to an engineer familiar with the scope of the advertised position. Why? It’ll make you look good.

One Final Note of Advice:

Do yourself a favor and take the time to understand the role your applicant will play.

We totally understand that the engineer you’re looking to recruit may come with an extraordinarily high level of expertise, and you aren’t entirely sure whether the widgets go in the gadgets or the gadgets are for the widgets. But trust us: you’ll avoid embarrassing yourself and frustrating your candidate if you can communicate about the role with at least a small measure of knowledge.

By educating yourself a little, you’ll get a whole lot further when trying to establish the rapport with that coveted engineering candidate you’ve successfully managed to hook and reel in.


Photo credit: nist6dh via Compfight cc