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Think Like a Candidate and a Search Engine When You Write a Job Posting Title

Posted by Rob Riggins

senior web designerWhen you’re crafting the heading for a job posting, it helps to think like a candidate. After all, that’s who you’re trying to entice to read your job posting. And if they’re qualified, to apply for the position.

But it also helps to think like a search engine. Career sites and aggregators use search relevance when presenting results to a candidate’s search query. We scan the job title and body of the job descriptions to match the keywords the candidate has used for their search. The more relevant the job posting is to the candidate’s search query, the more likely that it will appear at the top of the candidate’s search results.

We’ve worked with our vendors and gathered data from our own experience to provide guidance on how to craft your job titles. Follow these guidelines and your job posting has a greater chance of seeing increased candidate traffic.

Firstly be concise. Job titles that are 80 characters or less1 receive the most clicks. Over 40% of the candidates searching on ClearedJobs.Net and CyberSecJobs.com do so from a mobile device. That means brevity is king, and you need to put the most important words at the beginning of the job title. Starting your job title with FS Polygraph Required buries the gist of the job title, and will lead to less traffic for the posting.

The fastest way to kill your job posting is to use special characters in the job title. Use only alpha-numeric characters. Special characters such as (, /, or don’t play well with search algorithms and are viewed as code or Boolean characters vs text. When we view our job search reports job descriptions with these types of characters usually get no views.

Targeted job titles are more effective than generic ones, so be precise and use keywords that accurately describe the role. Java Developer vs Software Developer gives the candidate more detail, as does Unix/Linux Systems Administrator vs Systems Administrator.

Avoid internal numbers that may confuse the candidate and stick to standard experience levels like Senior rather than VI or other terms people are less likely to look for or understand. Senior Web Designer is much more meaningful to a candidate than Web Designer II.

Include common abbreviations, but be sure to spell out those abbreviations in the body of the job description. Otherwise you’ll lose some potential applicants, such as those searching on GIS while you refer only to Geographic Information Systems in your job posting and job title.

Don’t use buzzwords such as ninja, guru or wizard. Candidates are not searching on those terms and these postings will appear lower in search relevance. If a candidate searches on Program Manager they probably will not see your Program Guru posting, as that posting is lower in search relevance. While you might think that these buzzwords help the position to stand out, they actually bury the job posting.

Avoid all caps. It’s more difficult to read all caps than upper and lower case. And many folks on the internet consider all caps to be shouting or yelling. While you may think you’re highlighting a word, you’re also turning off part of your potential audience.

Avoid vague geographic terms such as Any Location or Work from Home in the job title. These jobs are restricted by aggregators because they are click bait and attract an enormous number of unqualified applicants. Certainly do reference this flexibility in the body of the job posting, just not in the job title.

Lastly, misspellings are a killer as well for any job description.…unless candidates make the same spelling mistake!

1Indeed

This entry was posted on Monday, August 08, 2016 8:11 am

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