Effective job postings: 4 DOs and 4 DON’Ts

Written by: Chelle Shell
Published on: Jan 1, 2024

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(Image: Jacob Lund)

In the competition for mission-driven talent, an effective job posting is critical for attracting quality applicants. To help you improve your postings, we've compiled a list of DOs and DON'Ts for creating a compelling description of your opening, your organization, and your employer value proposition – all based in what we’ve seen work, time and again, for our Work for Good clients.

DO:

  • Use a structured format. One big, run-on paragraph is never recommended. Organize your job posting with clear headings and bullet points for easy readability.
  • List exact qualifications and responsibilities. Be specific about the qualifications and responsibilities required for the position. The only way to get candidates who meet your needs is to make sure they know precisely what is expected of them.
  • Include salary and benefits. Transparency in compensation is the number one demand from Work for Good jobseekers over the past two years. Salary and all benefits should be clearly listed in order to attract candidates, establish your value as an employer, and demonstrate a commitment to equity.
  • Clarify work arrangements. Specify whether the job is in-office, hybrid, or remote. If significant travel is required, make that clear to potential candidates. In addressing office culture, provide concrete examples or details to explain generalized terms like “a nurturing work environment” or “a commitment to developing talent.”

DON'T:

  • Use vague language. Ambiguity in qualifications, responsibilities, work environment, and other details can lead to unqualified or mismatched applicants. Be clear and specific in every aspect of your job description.
  • Skip the organization introduction. Without information about your nonprofit, your posting may seem impersonal, uninspiring, and even confusing – especially given the importance of mission alignment in the purpose-driven sector. Include at least one paragraph telling the candidate about your organization, highlighting your mission, values, and the impact you aim to achieve.
  • Overlook training information. Candidates value opportunities for growth. If your organization provides training, make sure to mention it – including the duration, location and whether it is paid.
  • Leave hiring timelines unclear. Failing to communicate the hiring process timeline can create frustration and anxiety for candidates. Be as transparent as possible about your timing expectations; at the very least, you should indicate when you expect to have the role filled.

In short: Job postings that work are those that are structured, specific, informative, and transparent. Remember, it’s not only about finding the right fit but also about creating a positive impression of your nonprofit in the eyes of potential employees.

Want to see these DOs and DON'Ts in action? Check out these sample job descriptions for examples of effective and ineffective job postings.

Ready to find top talent? Post a job now!

Chelle Shell is senior client development manager at Work for Good.