Developing a job posting

You can think of the job posting as an advertisement. You want to attract the right type of candidate to your organization and provide an accurate and honest view of the position. The job posting draws a candidate’s attention and interest to the role. It should also encourage a candidate to self-assess whether they have the required qualifications and are the right fit for the position.

When thinking about features of the job or your organization that will attract candidates, it's useful to consider the following:

  • How does this position offer meaningful work? What contribution does this position make to the organization and society?
  • What opportunities are there for someone to grow and develop new skills?
  • What is the career path for this position? Consider the timeline to help manage candidate expectations.
  • Is there an opportunity to work with experts? Flexible work? Social events? It may be helpful to ask current employees what they enjoy most about working for your organization.

While you want to paint an attractive picture of your organization and the position, overselling the role can lead to problems, including candidates not accepting an offer, or worse, leaving after only a few months in the position. It's important to be realistic in your job posting.

The difference between a job posting and job description

Job description Job posting
Lists duties, responsibilities, and qualifications required of the job Highlights the key responsibilities and qualifications of the job
Internal document used for job evaluation, workflow and performance management Use to recruit externally, promote your employer brand, and explain why applicants should choose to work at your nonprofit over another employer

Key components of a job posting

Information about the organization

This is a key part of attracting the candidate to the position and is where you help the candidate understand your organization’s mission, values, culture, and what it’s like to work there. It should include:

  • A brief description of the organization.
  • Why your organization is a good place to work (such as its impact).
  • Opportunities for development and career progression.
  • The benefits of working with your organization. For instance, a comprehensive compensation package including benefits and pension, the ability to work from home, a pet-friendly workplace, and/or a casual dress code.

Information about the role

Here you want to give a sense of what the role entails and provide enough information about the minimum qualifications to allow readers to self-assess whether they meet the position requirements, which will help reduce the number of unsuitable applications.

This section should include:

  • The job title.
  • The purpose of the position.
  • A high-level overview of responsibilities.
  • Whether the role will be leading or part of a team or working independently.
  • The primary work location and travel requirements (if any).
  • Reporting arrangements, including who the role reports into and any direct reports.
  • Minimum requirements including experience, qualifications, and skills.
  • The salary and benefits associated with the position.

Making pay transparent in job postings is considered a leading equity practice. Visit our section on decent work to learn more about equitable HR practices.

Information about the application process

This section advises candidates:

  • How to submit their application and who to address it to.
  • Whether the selected candidate will need to meet any special requirements, such as a clear criminal records check and/or driver’s abstract.
  • When applications are due (the deadline).
  • Where to get more information about the role and/or the organization.
  • Your organization’s policy about contacting applicants. For example, you may want to advise that only those selected for an interview will be contacted.
  • Your organization’s accessibility and equity statement.

It's important to develop a job posting that does not create barriers or deter potential applicants. Encourage applicant diversity by welcoming candidates from diverse backgrounds, including those that extend beyond race, ethnicity, religion, culture, or newcomer status to include gender identity, gender expression, beliefs, sexual orientation, economic status, geography, language, politics, abilities, age, skills, and interests.

Inform candidates that they have the ability to request accommodation in confidence during all parts of the application/selection process, and ensure multiple contact options are provided.

How to make your online job postings stand out

Most candidates will search for positions online, whether through your website, job boards, or social media. Ensure your job posting considers the following points, which can help strengthen the candidate response:

  • Pay careful attention to the job title: The job title is often the first thing a job seeker will see and, in many cases, the only thing they see unless they are interested enough to click through for further information. Use familiar job titles and ensure they give a sense of what the job entails. For example, use "Manager of Financial Services" instead of "Manager". A job title will also affect candidate search results, as many searches are based strictly on position name.
  • Use keywords: Job boards and candidates will use keywords to pull your position up in a search, so describe the position using words and phrases commonly associated with this type of role. Two of the most common search terms are job title and location.
  • Write for the web: When viewing job postings online, readers typically scan rather than review each word. Use proper headings and bulleted lists.
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