The do’s and don’ts of writing job postings for small businesses

A bad hire can be costly, and small businesses can rarely afford to make that mistake. How do you hire right the first time (when you don’t even have an HR department)? The answer may be in your job postings. Well-written job postings are the first step in an efficient, successful hiring process.

Here are the do’s and don’ts of writing job postings for small businesses.


Be specific
To avoid being inundated by resumes when you’re the defacto HR director, be specific. Clearly state required qualifications and skills, including certifications, experience, and education. Confusion can encourage unqualified candidates to apply, and top talent to look elsewhere.

Use relevant job titles
Using creative job titles or internal terminology can keep your ad out of online search results. Stick to industry-specific job titles – these are the keywords candidates will use in a job search.

Use simple language
To make things easier to read, use subheadings and bullet points to break up blocks of text. Steering clear of industry jargon or organization-specific terminology can also help make sure your post is easily understandable.

Think like a marketer
Top candidates are often already employed. Your job posting, therefore, needs to also function as a marketing tool for your small business. Make sure your job posting provides basic information about your company, your industry, the role, and its incentives.

Without overdoing it, emphasize the positives of working at a smaller business, including office location (are you in a trendy neighborhood?), hours (do you offer flex time?), vacation time (can you provide unlimited vacations?), and stock options (can they put a deposit down on a Tuscan villa?).


Overload credentials
A posting stacked with preferred credentials is enough to scare away even the most qualified candidates. As a small business owner, you often have to work harder to attract the best and brightest, so steer clear of a long list of requirements.

Be vague about the role
Your job post should paint an accurate portrait of the role. If you don’t know a position’s exact nature, ask your colleagues for more information. The posting should be detailed and informative.

Avoid salary
Candidates often complain about job postings that do not provide information on compensation. Be honest and transparent, and remember that if you aren’t willing to be straightforward with potential employees, you may experience the same lack of trust in return.

Try too hard
You may want to look cool to attract young talent, but your job post isn’t always the best place to start. Trying too hard to be hip can deter more experienced job seekers. It can also turn off the younger crowd.

Forget the spell check
You expect typo-free resumes? Your job postings should be held to the same standard. Double check for spelling, grammar, and inconsistencies, as mistakes can make your company look bad.

For more job posting tips and templates, download our free eGuide, A Practical Guide to Writing Job Postings. Here’s a sneak peek:

See also:
Job posting basics: what is an intake meeting?


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