You might think (or hope?) that job seekers take the time to attentively read your vacancies. However, results of a recent eye tracking study by The Ladders prove differently. On average a job seeker spends 63 seconds checking a vacancy until he/she decides if the job is interesting.
Scanning is the new reading
It is important to take online reading behaviour into consideration when writing content. Users will rapidly look at the content and only scan for the interesting parts of the text. We don’t read, but we scan the page sprinting from item to item. This happens super fast! The truth is that job seekers don’t read all the beautiful content you have written. They scan it. They are looking for something that gets their attention, a keyword or a (sub) heading perhaps?
Every second counts
So now that we know we have our job seekers’ attention only for a small moment. It is essential to grab that attention and hold it, in order to achieve the ultimate goal: an application. Knowing this, I think it’s time that we write our job ads with more attention. How do we write the perfect vacancy text that is clear and attractive? Let’s start with these 5 tips (out of a series of 10)
Here we go.
Writing better vacancy descriptions - part 1
Tip 1. Take online reading behaviour into account
If you think that the online visitor reads your vacancy word for word: forget it. Just take a look at the heat map below. It shows us which part of a (random) web page gets the most attention. The red parts get the most attention, and there is less attention for the yellow and blue parts. The familiar pattern F (for Fast) teaches us that there is lots of attention for the upper information. Also we can see a clear vertical scan on the left side of the page. It shows us how online pages are being scanned. We can conclude these guidelines for online writing:
- Put the most important information at the top
- Be to the point and as brief as possible (long texts are killing)
- Make your page easy to scan for the reader by including:
– an informative header and sub headings;
– paragraphs and structure;
– lists with bullet points;
– bold important key words.
Tip 2. Efficient structure
The AIDA marketing model is perfect to use for composing vacancies. Attention, Interest, Desire & Action are the steps your candidate walks through to the conversion.
First you seek attention with a title and intro. Then you arouse interest with information about the position and the profile. You convince your readers by summarising what you can offer as an employer. And finally you encourage them to take action (apply!) in a final paragraph with a CTA.
What that structure looks like eventually?
- Function title
- Intro / pitch (summary of who, what, where and how)
- 'About the job' (tasks, responsibilities, challenge)
- 'Profile' (experience, job requirements, character)
- 'What we offer’ (working conditions, salary)
- 'About us’ (company information)
- Final paragraph with call to action (how to apply and contact details)
Always think carefully about what information you give first, since most of the attention is for that part. This also explains why it’s wise to place the company’s information towards the bottom. You better pull your readers attention with interesting information about the position. Besides, most often the potential candidate is already familiar with your company.
Don’t forget to end with a clear, activating call to action (often an apply-button) and be clear: do you want to receive a motivational letter with a cv or do you also expect a portfolio? Mentioning a closing date (deadline) is worth trying. This is a great trigger to move your potential candidates and has a positive influence on the number of applications.
Tip 3. Empathise with your target audience
A student likes to get paid a lot per hour and to have flexible working hours. But a starting sales consultant is more likely to be interested in a bonus structure and career opportunities. It’s important to examine what the target audience of your vacancy wants. Empathise with them, for example by contacting someone in that position. Who can better give advice than the employees themselves? They are the best example of the target audience you want to attract. Find out what they find really important and interesting about the job. With this valuable input you can start writing for your target audience. Let it come to life for the reader. This time skip your list of tasks but describe what a working day will look like. Write a personal text for the ideal candidate that you are looking for.For example like the above piece of storytelling in a vacancy for NS (Dutch railroad company). The reader immediately gets an idea of this job as a shop assistant.
Tip 4. Unique Selling Points
What have you got to offer? The so-called USP's of the position can convince the applicant (Desire). Think of attractive working conditions like a permanent contract, education and career opportunities but also: salary!
Don’t forget about nice office facilities or interesting (international?) projects. Check what the full factors for this position are. How to activate someone and make sure he/she applies?
Tip 5. Title and intro are king
At the top in the bright red area of a page, the upper line of the F-pattern is where it should happen. Starting with a job title that covers it all and gives all basic information. Mention important key words like ‘vacancy’, the location and company name (hello SEO!). Also be specific in your job title. Are you just looking for ‘a project manager’ of for ‘an experienced project manager with Scrum knowledge’? If you would like to use more key words in your job title, you can also design it like this:
Vacancy | Online Corporate Recruiter | Endouble | Amsterdam | full time
For SEO it is highly recommended to mention your key words in the job title and intro. The intro your chance to attract and hold the attention of your ideal candidate. It’s like an elevator pitch. You only have a few seconds to get someone’s attention and invite him/her for further reading (scanning). For example open or close with a question here. And mention the unique selling points to make the best first impression. This first paragraph is the summary of your vacancy where you can succeed or fail.
Are you eager to learn more about vacancy writing? In the next blog I will share tip 6 to 10 with you. I will tell you more about:
- Variation of text and bulleted lists
- How to write to the point and as brief as possible
- The right information (and transparency)
- Writing styles
Could you use some vacancy optimisation?
Do you find it difficult to re-write your vacancies and are you wondering what a specialist would do with your text? Just contact us! We also provide on-site training on this subject. Our content, SEO and Analytics specialist are willing to help you with the next step.