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A Social Job Posting |

A Social Job Posting

By Peter Weddle,

Not much has changed with job postings since they first appeared in the early 1990's. Today, they are, as they have always been, information-based ads that are shaped by their ancestors in the classified section of newspapers. What has changed, however, is the people who read job postings. They want a different experience, one that is social as well as informative.

Unfortunately, the Web is filled with poorly written job postings. These recruitment ads are nothing more than position descriptions or print classified ads repurposed online. They may work with the most desperate of job seekers, but for talented candidates with choices, they have all of the appeal of a wet blanket on a cold day.

The social job posting, therefore, has two ambitious goals. First, it transforms the traditional posting into an electronic sales brochure - an ad with the persuasive power to convince even the most passive candidate to pay attention. And second, it transforms the employer-centric feel of a traditional posting into a more balanced experience - an ad with a social dimension that includes the job seeker.

How does it accomplish these goals?

A social job posting draws on the Socratic method to establish a "silent dialogue" between the employer or recruiter and the job seeker. It is a virtual two-way conversation once removed. In other words, the ad creates an indirect conversation between the two parties by using embedded questions from one to evoke a response from the other.

This more social experience has a number of important benefits:

  • It increases the engagement of the reader, which is likely to affect passive job seekers the most as they are normally the least captivated by conventional job postings.

  • It produces a more thoughtful response by the reader, which is likely to improve self-selection and reduce the number of unqualified applicants.

  • It differentiates the organization's employment brand, which is likely to enhance its visibility and stature among high caliber prospects.
    In effect, a social job posting has the power to increase the quality of an organization's yield from online recruitment ads and thus the return on its investment in that medium.

The Format & Content of a Social Job Posting

A social job posting is divided into five distinct sections that make up the acronym S-ABC-S. They are:

  • Summary - What are the key aspects of the vacancy's value proposition in no more than five lines?

  • Advantages - What will a new hire get to do, learn, and accomplish, with whom with they work and how will they be recognized and rewarded?

  • Benefits - What aspects of the employer's culture and values will enable the new hire to thrive at their work and make a valued contribution?

  • Capabilities - What skills, knowledge and experience will enable the new hire to excel on-the-job and continue their career success?

  • Sign-off - What courses of action are offered to the job seeker for their response to the ad?

As different as this format is, what gives the ad its power is its content. It doesn't focus on what's important to employers - requirements and responsibilities - but instead features the motivating factors for the job seeker - what's in it for them. In other words, the ad treats the job seeker as a consumer and sells them on the employer and its opening. 

That approach is then reinforced with the Socratic method. Every three paragraphs in each section of the ad, the job seeker is asked a question that focuses their attention on the content and helps them relate it to themselves. For example, after describing an employer's team-oriented approach to accomplishing work, the ad might ask; "Do you find that you perform best when working in a team?"

These questions create a unique and compelling social experience for the reader. They aren't being talked at - as is the case with traditional job postings - but instead are being talked with. They feel as if the employer is engaging them in a discussion and that the purpose of that discussion is to help them determine if the opening is right for them.

The social job posting isn't a silver bullet. It won't change a dog of a position into a dream job. It will, however, add the "R" word to what a job posting does. For a brief but impactful moment, it creates a relationship with the reader, and as a consequence, it dramatically increases their propensity to apply for the opening.