In today’s hyperconnected world, with endless notifications, larger screens, and the continuous innovation of smart devices, it’s clear that we are living in an era of constant distraction. Every service, every company, and every subscription is vying for consumer’s attention. Notwithstanding this, much of the recruiting industry hasn’t quite caught up yet. The standard process of creating an online job posting continues to include job descriptions and generic templates that fail to differentiate from the competition or catch the attention of top talent. 

So while competitors fall behind regarding how they treat their job listings, perhaps it’s time to explore how your recruiting efforts can be kicked into high gear using visual job postings. 

The Basics of a Visual Job Posting

So what exactly is a visual job posting? Simply stated, it’s a method of formatting your job descriptions to keep a potential candidate’s interest for a longer period of time than that of your competitors. Today’s sophisticated job seekers are looking for far more than their next job. They’re often searching for a working environment that suits their lifestyle as well as advances their career. But how can they tell if the position available and the company offering it is the right fit through a simple wall of text, devoid of any personality or formatting? The simple answer is they can’t. Here is where the use of a visual job posting can set you apart from your competitors and catch the attention of the candidates you’re searching for.

A visual job posting at its core should adhere to the following principles:

  • Clean layout with properly spaced elements
  • Keep it short – Shorter job posts get more applicants
  • Don’t be afraid to include images that capture your team, culture, and office space
  • Use colour, and various text formatting options such as bolding, underlining, indentation, bullet points, tables, and even ASCII characters!
  • Don’t hesitate to use creative formatting in the layout – Here’s a great example of this concept.
  • Place the most attractive or sought-after elements about working for your organization at the top of the description to ensure maximum visibility

Formatting a Visual Job Posting

To create a job posting that will catch the attention of high-quality candidates, you’ll need a listing that reflects the creativity and excellence of work you expect from high-calibre employees. 

Start with the basics: 

  • Less is more. Take a minimalist approach. Remember this is a job advertisement. Use only the most important elements you think will entice the candidate.
  • Use varying size headings to create and highlight new sections.
  • Make liberal use of bullet points.
  • Make good use of text formatting by highlighting appropriate text with bold, underlines or italics. This type of formatting can quickly emphasize a keyword or phrase that you want to stand out.

Move on to the more adventurous formatting options:

  • Use non-traditional 2 or 3 column layouts instead of the usual 1 column wall of text.
  • Don’t hesitate to include your corporate brand colours to highlight entire sections, headers, specific words, or phrases.
  • Using simple iconography to introduce or highlight new sections can make for easier reading and help potential candidates move from section to section more efficiently.

Go all out:

  • Use photos from your company’s cultural events, premises, offices, workspaces, etc. 
  • Use custom imagery and graphics to create a unique job posting for each type of position. Some companies are even going as far as creating mini-portals or entire dedicated landing pages on their career pages customized specifically to attract particular types of candidates. The web tools available to create this are becoming easier to use and often don’t require a graphic designer or web developer. 

Don’t forget that the majority of job seekers are using mobile devices to browse the web so whatever visual job description formatting you decide to develop, make sure it’s sized appropriately across a range of devices. 

Content to Include in a Visual Job Posting

With a traditional non-visual job posting, the more visually appealing and attention-grabbing variant should contain all the necessary information required for the potential candidate to understand why this is an exciting career opportunity for them to explore further. In addition to the standard information about your company, job title, salary, and culture, you should also consider including the following information:

  • Remote Work Flexibility – as we move towards a post-COVID work culture, this is a crucial item many job seekers, particularly knowledge workers, will want more details on
  • Key Benefits / Perks
  • What makes the company special
  • Speak to the company’s social and corporate responsibilities. This is becoming increasingly important for candidates as they consider new opportunities. 
  • Opportunities for career advancement/autonomy
  • Required vs preferred Skills & Education.
  • A clear call-to-action on how to apply for the position directly within the posting

Recruiters Need to Think Like Marketers

Since there are far more skilled jobs in the Canadian market than qualified candidates to fill those positions, employers are bound to the undeniable fact that we are currently in a candidate-centric market. As a result, candidates are in control. Additionally, as one of the many side-effects of a global pandemic, high-quality video chat and remote-work software tools have proven their effectiveness to handle modern business needs. Consequently, many workers now more than ever feel empowered to re-evaluate their priorities and be far more selective with potential job opportunities.

All this to say, when it comes to promoting vacant positions within an organization, recruiters and internal talent acquisition teams need to start thinking more like marketers. How do you sell your organization to the top candidate’s everyone else is competing for? How can your organization set itself apart from the competition and catch the attention of ideal candidates? A compelling visual story told authentically through a visual job posting that stands above the competition is a relatively simple but highly effective method.

 The Limitations of Third-Party Platforms and How to Work Around Them

Of course, most organizations rely on third-party job aggregators like LinkedIn, Indeed, and dozens of others to get the word out that they are hiring for a certain position. These platforms are known to be highly restrictive in regards to the types of formatting they’ll allow and often purposefully strip the fancy formatting from your carefully formatted job postings and simply transpose to regular text.

However, there are a few workarounds to overcome this problem, all of which should be used in harmony with each other to exploit visual job postings to your company’s advantage. 

Take Control of Your Job Listings on 3rd Party Platforms

Many job aggregators will allow you to create a company profile and control your job listings. In many cases, once you’ve got an account set up, you’ll be given access to a broader set of formatting tools and visual display options than you would have if you simply let their crawlers scrape the job listings from your website’s job postings. 

Don’t Discount the Basics of Text Formatting

Remember that a white space, indentation, or bolding of text can still go a long way to make your job postings look aesthetically pleasing versus a generic listing most candidates will often encounter. Go back to the basics, and take the time to learn about how simple effective text formatting can be an effective design method that makes an impactful visual difference. 

Encourage Candidates to Visit Your Website for More Information and to Apply

You’ve already spent the time to make a beautiful and cleverly crafted job posting. Why not take the simple step to encourage those candidates that discover your job listing on third-party platforms to visit your website to get the full experience of what the position entails and why they should consider working for you. Don’t be afraid to entice them with more crucial details like salary, perks, and benefits if they click-through to your website.

Experiment with Different Versions of the Visual Job Posting

Finally, don’t be afraid to experiment. You may not stumble upon the perfect job post formatting on your first foray into the wonderful world of visual job postings. In fact, it may take you a few tries before you see an improvement in the volume and quality of candidates that start to come through your virtual doors. On your way to finding that sweet spot, you’ll need to experiment with different formats to see what performs better and gains more traction. Conduct A/B testing with two versions of the same job posting and determine what’s working and what’s not to optimize your final version. 

If you’re looking to implement visual job postings within your talent acquisition strategy and want further insight or assistance, don’t hesitate to contact one of our recruitment professionals at LRO Staffing. For over 15 years, we’ve helped thousands of companies design and craft effective job postings to optimize their hiring strategies and gain access to top talent. 

Morgan Young

Author Morgan Young

A multi-faceted creative, Morgan has a passion for all things design, marketing, and content creation. Specializing in brand identity, web design, and digital marketing, Morgan works with individuals and organizations who are passionate about elevating their brand and taking their business to the next level through client focused, innovative, and effective design solutions.

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