Writing Longform Job Posts Can Save You Time and Money

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Jessica Malnik has been working full-time behind the scenes here at the TMBA for years now, helping to strengthen our community, organize our events, and build products that help entrepreneurs grow. Lately she’s been the lead in building our new hiring service / jobs board Dynamite Jobs, a site designed to be a matchmaker between companies growing distributed or remote teams, and talented professionals who would like to join them.

So far we’ve learned a key lesson: when it comes to remote internet companies, where traditional markers of location, salary, and industry prestige can be upended, we’re seeing a massive change in quality and quantity of applicants based on the quality of the job posts.

I asked Jessica to share a bit more and how we can put this insight to work.
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Over the past few months, we’ve been connecting Internet businesses with remote workers.  

I want to share a lesson learned about how Internet businesses can improve the quality of applications they receive, and ultimately save time and money.

We’ve analyzed dozens of job posts on our site and have been able to spot some trends on what jobs are more likely to lead to better applications than others.

For example, we looked at 10 of the top performing job ads. These job posts were longer on average than others on the site, clocking in at an average of 1,014 words. And, two of the job posts were over 2,000 words.  

Writing a longer job ad for the sake of it being longer isn’t better. The quality of the post matters a lot too.

For the first 20 jobs on the site, we let founders and hiring managers post their jobs on the site with little to no editing on our side. The quality of job posts was all over the map.

We saw many founders and hiring managers focus the majority of the job post highlighting benefits and compensation packages.

Most companies write remote job ads the same way as location-based corporate office jobs. They depend on standard HR jargon and culturally loaded terms such as,

“Denver HQ with views of downtown skyline. Entry level telesales. 1 year of relevant work experience required.”

While this tells you about a location-based role, these descriptions don’t work for remote ads. For remote job ads, the best ones describe what the job is like, the team dynamic and company culture in detail.  

The best remote hires are drawn to different things in a role including:

  • The company’s vision and goals.
  • The origin story of the company
  • The opportunities for growth in their role. For example: Will this new hire have flexibility and autonomy in their role? Will they have opportunities to make key business decisions?

These are the applicants that will listen to the 30 minute podcast episode where your founder is talking about the company’s growth projections or watch that 5 minute video on your career page to learn more about the company’s culture. For example, this podcast talking about hiring A-players.

Since these job posts take more time to write, we’re seeking ways to make it easier to apply these lessons we learned.  We created a questionnaire that takes less than 15 minutes for a founder or hiring manager to fill out. Then, we use their replies to create a polished job post.

One of our favorite examples of a compelling job post is this one from Bean Ninjas. It should come as no surprise that this was one of the most viewed, shared and applied to jobs on the site to date.

This post does a lot of things right including:

  • The post starts off by talking about how Bean Ninjas was founded a few years ago, how the team has grown to 10 people and their company vision for the next 2 years. There’s even several links to podcasts – including one here on this site – where the founder, Meryl Johnston, talked about the company’s journey.
  • Ensures the job is presented as timely and provides the context for why they are hiring.
  • Shares the opportunities for the role, and walks through what a typical week might look like for the operations manager.
  • Links to photos, relevant blog posts and podcasts gives would-be applicants even more insights into the company and team culture.  

We’ve found that many entrepreneurs underestimate how engaged their prospects are. If they’re willing to uproot their professional lives to join your team, they’re certainly willing to invest some time to get to know your company.

Another example of a great post is this one from The Movement Athlete, a new startup.

Aga, the founder, starts by talking about the company’s mission. She starts the job post focusing on the big picture and how they’ve gotten to this point.

“As a company, we are on the mission to REDEFINE how we exercise. Our goal is to become a global brand that stands for a new approach to fitness and lead that shift. We are only starting with building a mobile app as our core product and soon will be adding retreats, festival, trainers certifications, e-commerce, online courses and more.”

She hooks would-be applicants in from the get-go. If they are already sold on the mission within the first few paragraphs, would-be applicants are going to be much more likely to not only read through the rest of the post, but also invest more time on their application.  

We also love this post from The Property Hub. They make a very bold claim in their post talking about how this is the best marketing job in all of the U.K.  Now if they made this claim and proceeded to go straight into the responsibilities of the role, we’d roll our eyes. But, they didn’t do that. Instead, they told a story about how they got to this point.

“Here’s the story so far.

Back in 2014, we decided to record a weekly podcast – The Property Podcast – just for fun. That podcast now has more reviews than any other business podcast in the UK, and it’s downloaded over 150,000 times a month.

Our podcast listeners wanted a community where they could interact with like-minded investors, so we created one – The Property Hub – and today it has over 25,000 members.

We then decided to publish a quarterly print magazine – The Property Hub Magazine – which is written by the country’s most prominent property journalists. It currently has more than 3,000 subscribers.

We’ve also published four bestselling books with over 1,000 five-star reviews between them –one of which out-sold every other book on the whole of Amazon in its week of release.

AND, we’ve created a network of 40+ free in-person monthly events across the UK and beyond.”

What I’d like even more about this post is that they didn’t stop there. They started talking about what’s next and specifically talked about the opportunities that their head of marketing would have in front of them.

“Your mission (should you choose to accept) as our Head of Marketing is to help us do even more, by putting a rocket under the growth of our existing marketing channels while helping us to dominate new ones (and quickly!). You’ll build and lead a team, and be a critical player in a forward-thinking, marketing-driven organization”

Whether you are looking for your first marketing hire or your 20th customer support team member, this longform job post strategy will help you attract better quality applications.   

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Published on 05.01.18

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