Job post creation: one of the most important yet least invested-in steps of the hiring process. We’ve all experienced situations where hiring managers churn out rushed job posts (or blatantly rip off ones they find on the web). They often do so not because they don’t care, but because they don’t know how to do any better. In this post, we’ll show you, and your hiring managers, how to better position yourself to hire your desired candidates more efficiently.
Successful job ads quickly and cheaply attract sizable, diverse pools of highly qualified candidates. They set accurate expectations up front to minimize candidate drop-off from application to offer, and they enable you to consistently fill open roles fast with talented new hires. Yet fewer than half of employers think their job posts are effective.
Here at Datapeople, we’ve analyzed over 65 million job listings and millions of hiring outcomes from around the globe to understand exactly what makes the best jobs work. And in this series, Good Job!, we dissect stellar (according to hard data and proven results) excerpts from real job posts so you can learn ways to instantly improve your own jobs – and improve your overall hiring process and performance.
Max efficiency: a warehouse manager post with winning qualifications
Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, Datapeople customer Conagra manufactures iconic food brands including Duncan Hines, Orville Redenbacher’s, and Chef Boyardee. Their recent job listing for a warehouse manager scored highly. Datapeople’s Smart Editor combines everything hiring teams need to know about job content into a single predictive score. In our review, our experts (and platform) were particularly impressed with Conagra’s qualifications, shown below.
Why this list of qualifications works
If you’re used to laundry lists of requirements, four pithy bullet points may strike you as counterproductive. Though it may feel counterintuitive, limiting qualifications to just the true non-negotiables actually raises the quality bar of your candidate pool. (Which in turn increases the efficiency and success of your hiring process.) The trick is to be extra intentional about what requirements you include and how you express them, as Conagra has done masterfully in this example.
It only contains must-have (not nice-to-have) qualifications
One way Conagra keeps their list of qualifications so concise is by leaving out “preferred” ones like a master’s degree, Lean Six Sigma certification, or prior experience in the food industry. Again, it wouldn’t be foolish to think that asking more of job seekers would result in more educated, day one-ready applicants. But the data tells us that’s not the case. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.
One reason nice-to-haves don’t belong in job posts is simply because they unnecessarily add length – and savvy job seekers detest long job posts. (This is especially true for entry- and mid-level positions, like this warehouse manager role.) The more scrolling your listing demands, the more likely it is that qualified talent will move on to other openings and unqualified candidates will apply to your job without reading it in full. Which means your recruiters are in for an inefficient, frustrating, possibly fruitless screening process.
Furthermore, Datapeople research on the phenomenon known as the confidence gap shows that job ads that include preferred qualifications actually see 40% smaller qualified candidate pools and 40% smaller female applicant pools than job posts with only must-have requirements. (To measure this, we looked at candidates who made it to the phone screen stage.) While you might think that separating minimum from preferred qualifications is helpful to job seekers, in reality, listing preferred qualifications can be harmful to those from historically underrepresented backgrounds, who may not apply if they don’t feel they check every single box. Thus reducing the diversity of your talent pipeline (and ultimately hires).
It doesn’t leave room for interpretation
How often do you see “analytical skills” or “problem-solving ability” listed as qualifications in job ads? Now, how often do you see, “Performed a formal root cause analysis to resolve downtime/inefficient operational issues?” The former may be more common, but the latter is far more effective at attracting qualified candidates. It also keeps your team on the same page when looking at talent, reducing bias.
Sure, Conagra needs an analytical problem solver to fill this warehouse manager role. But since potential candidates use your requirements as a checklist to quickly match their skillset to your job and decide whether to apply, including subjective, difficult-to-calibrate soft skills makes them more likely to pass. Steer clear of vague, generic soft skills like ‘problem solving,’ ‘communication,’ and ‘attention to detail’ by replacing them with specific experiences applicants should have under their belt.
For instance, Conagra forgoes “leadership skills,” instead clearly describing “experience leading high-performance teams” through “employee hiring and retention, development, performance reviews and discipline.” While it may be difficult for a job seeker to self-assess how strong of a leader they are, they should be able to almost instantly determine whether or not they’ve hired staff or conducted evaluations.
Alternatively, you can turn ambiguous soft skills into explicit responsibilities of the job in order to manage candidate expectations from the start. If a hiring manager is looking for someone with attention to detail, do a little digging to find out why. If their open role ensures safety in the warehouse, add something to the job responsibilities section like, “Oversee the training program for forklift operators and monitor safety within the department.” (Yes, we took that from Conagra’s excellent post, too.) Reserve your requirements section for qualifications that can easily be measured or verified.
It clearly states years of experience (but not a range)
Conagra is looking for a people leader with “3+ years” of experience managing teams. As mentioned, years are super simple to measure. A job seeker knows whether or not they’ve led teams for at least three years, and therefore whether or not they’re qualified.
It’s perfectly reasonable to wonder whether including years of experience (YOE) in a job post could be ageist or just unnecessarily limiting. But after analyzing millions of job posts and their hiring outcomes, our view is that YOE helps job seekers better understand the seniority of a role and whether they qualify. The saying “clear is kind” applies here. It’s kind to discourage unqualified candidates from wasting their time on submissions that won’t be seriously considered, and it’s kind to protect your recruiters’ bandwidth so they can focus on the talent that might get hired.
The best part of Conagra’s YOE bullet? The small but mighty plus sign (+), which signals that everyone with at least three years of management experience, regardless of their age, is welcome to apply.
Our research shows that while clearly stating the minimum experience required attracts a more qualified candidate pool, a “maximum” may deter qualified job seekers. A range, such as 3-5 years, not only artificially hampers your ability to attract a healthy number of qualified candidates, but may also suggest bias against older workers. If you’re concerned about receiving applications from highly experienced candidates beyond your budget, consider adding a pay range, regardless of whether you’re recruiting in a location that requires pay transparency by law.
Good jobs need clear, concise qualifications (and so much more)
An inclusive, effective, data-driven job post is often the difference between a successful hire and no hire at all. At Datapeople, we’re here to help your hiring teams write the next chapter in your talent acquisition journey, one successful post at a time.
Ready to achieve your desired hiring outcomes and unleash the power of scientifically optimized jobs? Click to learn more about Datapeople’s Smart Editor and see how you can unlock the world of context- and market-driven job posts that propel hiring goals forward!