How to Attract Candidate Attention

Recruiting Problem: You’re preparing your job posting designed to capture an engineering candidate’s attention. Now, how will you get their attention? You get to thinking. There are so many reasons they would love to join your firm. In fact, your firm has a one or two page litany of company benefits, along with paragraphs on all your firm’s headlines in the news. Should you squeeze them all into your posting? What should you focus on? What will really attract candidate attention?

What seems hot in today’s job postings is lead off with paragraphs on how great your firm is in its industry. Then there are so many benefits that come to mind, like a break room complete with a ping pong table, bean bag seating, free soft drinks and (of course) all natural organic snacks. Why not include both? But do you readily want to blend in with your completion?  Alternatively, you could set your firm apart from your rivals and dig into what real, valued gems you can offer highly sought after candidates in short supply.

What Do Candidates Really Want?

Hint: Start focusing on what really will enrich their work life & career

Avoid the temptations many recruiters use; skip the hyperbola used to describe your company, your team and your benefits. Instead, return to your discussion you had with your hiring manager that went into detail what kind a person they were seeking, complete with soft skill sets and achievements. Your intake session would have addressed (among other things) the significance of their work, the visibility it would offer and why they will be happier working in your environment. This would not have been a collection of superficial platitudes. You would have challenged them to explain and justify in far greater detail their reasoning.

Now, having dissected the intake session, provide three compelling reasons why they would entertain the notion of working for your firm.

Remember, their collective profile that you have targeted is in short supply. They already likely work in a high tech industry with an industry leader. They already have satisfactory compensation. They already are moving mountains in their firm.  So, why should they leave? If you can’t answer this question, you haven’t dug deep enough & it’s best that you meet again with the hiring manager. Ferret out benefits they can offer that your competitors are less inclined to provide. You do not want your talent pool comprised only of active candidates seeking a new position. You want the best available, inclusive of passive candidates.

What is the Real Value of a Job Posting?

The most obvious answer is not the right answer. No, it’s not to attract active candidates pursuing opportunities, having visited your job posting page. We’ve found two vastly superior benefits from preparing the posting.

  1. You as a recruiter will have an attractive set of reasons to share with passive prospective candidates after initial contact, to move them to wanting to speak with the hiring manager and learn more of the opportunity.
  2. We’ve codified the principal reasons the hiring manager and their recruiting team will consistently convey to a qualified candidate, through to hire.

Note prior to the job posting copy being ready for active use, we have the hiring manager review our copy, making any corrections, or modifications to render an accurate representation of their open position.

What Also Not to Include in a Posting

Do you really think that 30 bullet point requirements will attract the candidate that can best fill the open position? This was more likely designed to provide your sourcer with keywords to assess resumes. You’ve also handed prospective candidates with 30 different reasons where they could be shot down, not sharing how those requirements will be weighed, or if they are even vital to the position.

Pare down technical requirements and hone in exclusively on those most essential. This offers as you–the hiring manager a greater breadth of potential candidates.

It’s tempting to also have tests as part of the application process. Unfortunately, your targeted technical candidates are even less compelled to apply, as their valuable time is invested into a sinkhole–they don’t know how carefully you’ll assess their performance. Save any test, if necessary, for a later encounter, after you have your targeted candidate interested in the opportunity.

Best wishes re-structuring your postings!

Alfredo Hannenberg


Alfredo Hannenberg

Co-founder & President, Informative People, Inc.