Most tech job postings not only look alike, they fail to attract the perfect candidate. Where are recruiters going wrong?
“If your promise is too generic, it won’t resonate with the ideal tech professional and it won’t encourage them to take action,” said Barb Agostini, partner for Recruiting Social, a social recruitment company with offices in Vancouver, London and Los Angeles.
Employer branding statements tend to offer broad, overarching benefits that are designed to appeal to everyone. The truth is, if you're trying to appeal to everyone, you're appealing to no one.
To attract tech professionals for specific projects and teams, each subgroup needs its own value proposition, an employment brand that’s tailored specifically toward them. In order to grab the attention of inundated tech professionals, try weaving custom-fit brands into your job postings.
Go to the Source
In a competitive market, you have to inspire tech professionals to find out more about your company and job opportunity. And who knows better what will resonate than current team members? Soliciting employees’ favorite environmental features and benefits creates a mini focus group.
“Find out what the current employees like about a particular project or department and what motivates them,” Agostini said. “Your branding statement has to be detailed and specific to be effective.”
What will draw in a software developer, for instance?
Is it the opportunity to work with cutting edge technology? If so, mention specific tools and programs. Is it the lack of red tape or the freedom to take on side projects?
Is it the opportunity to save lives by building surgical robots or power systems for developing countries? If so, tantalize prospects by describing their ability to impact the big picture.
Pay close attention to not only what your employees say but how they say it, because mimicking their language and tone will help you attract like-minded professionals. “If your employees don’t care that the company was founded in 1923, omit it from your branding statement,” Agostini advised. “You have limited space in a job positing and your message is not about you, it’s about them.”
“We use verbiage that helps candidates see themselves in the role,” explained Leslie Roundy, senior marketing and employer branding specialist for Esri. “Our employment brand has a common philosophy or theme, but we insert specific buzzwords and messages into each posting based on what will appeal to a particular group of candidates.”
Keep Their Attention
Once you come up with a few keyword-rich branding statements, run them past your focus group. Most companies don't test their value propositions: They simply launch them and wait to see what happens. But test marketing and fine-tuning your brand before you go live will ultimately save time and help you connect with your target audience.
Highlight your brand at the very top of a job posting, to grab the attention of busy tech professionals who are window shopping for an exciting new opportunity. Once you have their attention, keep it and extend your brand by linking to your career site or social media profiles.
Or take a page from Esri’s playbook by embedding a video message from the hiring manager describing the role and the environment. After all, once you have them, there’s no point in letting them get away.
Finally, conclude with a call-to-action. Make it visible and easy for them to apply. “Inserting your promise into your advertisement should motivate an IT professional to take action,” Agostini said. “Lead them along the path through consistent messaging; then go for the close.”
Leslie Stevens-Huffman is a business and careers writer based in Southern California. She has more than 20 years’ experience in the staffing industry and has been writing blog posts, sample resumes and providing sage career advice to the IT professionals in our Dice Community since 2006. Leslie has a bachelor’s degree in English and Journalism from the University of Southern California.