3 Reasons Your Job Listing Isn’t Attracting Top Talent (and How to Fix It)

By Addison Burke - Apr. 23, 2019
Improve Your Company Branding With Zippia

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Addison Burke. Her opinions are her own.

Job listings play a crucial role in the hiring process by communicating your company culture, value, and benefits.

The problem?

They’re dead boring to create. You know the pain.

In turn, they are dead boring to read, often resulting in a dry and stale listing that puts prospects to sleep faster than your Grandpa’s “back in the day” stories.

And if your listing sucks, your applicant pool is going to suck, too.


Company culture is still one of the biggest factors in why top-tier applicants apply in the first place.

Boring listings will attract boring applicants to your boring company, creating a vicious cycle.

Here are three reasons this could be happening to you and how to fix it ASAP.

1. Your Writing / Copy / Hook Reads Like a College Thesis

College writing sets us up for failure in the real world.

Unless you’re a nuclear engineer, you don’t need to be writing a thesis citing eleven studies with footnotes and an annotated bibliography.

Stop the madness. Nobody wants to read that.  

Instead, you should be writing for real people. People that have likely browsed a dozen different job listings before yours, looking, hoping, and praying for that diamond in the rough company that they’ll enjoy working for.

Company culture is more important than ever. People want to be excited about their job, their brand, etc.

No matter how serious your position is, there is always room for personality.

As an example, check out this job listing from Codeless:

Take a moment and read the short, yet informative listing.

Now that’s a job listing that doesn’t suck. One that likely is going to weed out the underachievers and hook the outgoing, productive workers.

It’s funny and witty, yet serious at the same time:

“This position is virtual. You can be sitting on a beach for all we care. You could stay up all night and write after some rave (crazy kids). But your writing better be on time. And attention to detail better be spot on.”

This is a critical aspect of writing better copy for your job listing.

While being snarky and bringing out laughs from your readers is great, it needs to be paired with an element of hard work that the position demands.

You want to appear fun, but not so fun that the job becomes a joke or attracts the underachiever.

Another stellar example in a different space is from Freshdesk. Here’s there job listing:

Again, Freshdesk shines here by including humor, a common theme, and a wonderful call to action.

A listing like this is sure to outperform a boring bulleted list of points that people gloss over.

In your next job listing, add some flair and personality to the copy. If you struggle to do so, there are tools to help you. Grammar tools like Grammarly even offer tone, style, and audience measures to help you craft copy from witty to satirical and everything in between:

Source: Grammarly Review

Work on developing a writing hook that prospects can’t shake.

Ditch the thesaurus and write from the heart.

Inject life into your listing and you’ll notice the difference in both applicant quantity and quality.

2. You Are Including TOO MUCH Detail

Yep, you read that right.

There is such a thing as too much detail in a job listing. In fact, it’s overly common.

If your job listing takes more than 1-2 minutes to read, understand, and fully digest the potential tasks, enjoyment, and benefits, you’re overdoing it.

People skim when they read online. More than 50% stop reading after just 15 seconds. Fifteen. Seconds.

That’s all you’ve got.

If your job listing looks like this…

…You can bet people are skimming, leaving, and subsequently forgetting about you.

This is far too much information up front.

You should rarely be showing items like:

  • Pay / compensation
  • Detailed benefits beyond generalizations
  • Complex details of what is required

Touching on these on the surface level is great, but too much can drive potentially great candidates away.

Instead, you’ll want to communicate this information on the phone with them where you can understand their personality and potential value.

For instance, if you upfront state the job pays $XX,XXX amount, you immediately disqualify potentially amazing candidates who feel they need more but are willing to negotiate on benefits.

These decisions shouldn’t be made before you even connect with potential hires. They should be made after copious amounts of back and forth and building trust.

In your next job listing, including the following points in 1-2 sentences maximum, in this order:

  • Your company background and culture
  • What the job is and entails
  • What you expect from applicants
  • Next steps and a call to action

Examine your competition to see what keywords they are targeting and what listings they are publishing to compare:

Want to attract top talent? Withhold enough information that builds curiosity. Don’t show your cards too quick and don’t eliminate a huge pool of candidates by doing too much.  

3. Your Not Promoting In The Right Locations

Facebook is the third most visited website in the world. But that doesn’t mean it’s the best place to advertise your listing. Not by a long-shot.

The popularity of a platform doesn’t always equal success, especially when it comes to listings.

On busy, generic job sites, you can list for cheap, but you’re going to acquire tons of irrelevant candidates and likely force yourself to sift through the weeds.

Instead, look for more targeted job boards.

For example, ProBlogger job boards are all about blogging and writing jobs:

That’s a niche market where the best of the best are going to look first, not on generic sites.

Similarly, GitHub’s job board is your best best for finding top coding prospects:

When it comes to job boards, niche down. Attack platforms that are industry focused.

Where else can you promote your job listing?

Do you have a company podcast? If so, promote your new job there. Why? Loyal listeners are likely itching to learn more about your company, and chances are, one of those listeners would do anything to work for your company.

Does your company have a LinkedIn page? Post it there and consider advertising it to eligible audiences.

The options are limitless, but the point remains the same: target the right audience when promoting your job listing and you’ll spend less money to acquire better candidates.

Wrapping Up

Job listings are the bread to your company’s butter. They are critical to attracting new talent and delighting them with the prospect of working at your company.

But just as they can be helpful, poor listings can sabotage your efforts.

Work on your copywriting heavily and create a listing that is both fun to read, yet informative.

Avoid bombarding prospects with too much information. This can be overwhelming and diminish your pool of top-level candidates.

Lastly, make sure you are promoting your job listing in the right locations.

Better listings aren’t easy. But they are required for attracting more and better talent.

Addison Burke is a freelance marketer that teaches businesses how to grow through better digital marketing and content. Connect with her on LinkedIn!


Addison Burke

Addison Burke is a freelance marketer that teaches businesses how to grow through better digital marketing and content. Connect with her on LinkedIn!

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Find Your Next Hire Out Of Over 5 Million Candidates

Get connected with quality candidates whose resumes on Zippia best fit your job description.