How to optimize your job postings

How to optimize job postings

What are job seekers really looking for?

To find out, Workopolis’ data team analyzed over 450 thousand job descriptions, 150 million job searches, 49 million job views, and eight million job applications. The result has identified the best time to post a job; the effect job titles have on conversion; what job seekers are looking at first; and what benefits they find most attractive.

The best time to post a job

The 12-month analysis determined that job seekers were most active on Mondays and in the month of January, making these the most effective time periods for increased job views and applications. Employers, however, most frequently post jobs on Thursday and in the month of September.

By posting jobs in January instead of September, employers can expect up to 33 per cent more job views and 22 per cent more applications. The same kind of improvement can be expected by posting on Mondays, with up to 15 per cent more job views and 20 per cent more applications

The data also revealed that job seekers are more likely to apply to new job postings. In fact, after a job has been posted for three days, the overall amount of job seeker engagement drops by 45 per cent.

job seekers like new jobs

Job postings with standard job titles and industry-specific keywords performed better

The analysis also found that the recent trend involving creative job titles in job postings – terms like “ninja,” “guru,” and “genius” are sometimes used to make job descriptions more playful – can be detrimental to recruitment.

Job postings with standard, industry-specific job titles were easier to find and more likely to have higher job views and applications. Here are some examples:

  • Administrative Assistant performed 36 per cent better than Administrative Guru
  • Data Analyst performed 14 per cent better than Data Ninja
  • Human Resource Adviser performed 25 per cent better than Advisor, Employee Experience and Recognition

However, if a creative job title had the basic keyword in it (E.G. Data Analyst vs. Ninja Data Analyst), job posting performance was not affected.

Beyond standard job titles, job seekers are also searching by keyword, which varies by industry.

  • In the tech industry, for example, job seekers search for skills and technologies that they want to work with (E.G. Java, Oracle, Sharepoint, etc). Including these in tech-related job postings will improve your searchability and click-through rate.
  • In the finance industry, job seekers are more likely to search by education and certification. Including CPA, CA, PMP, CGA, or MBA, among others, in the qualifications of your job posting will improve your ranking in search results.
  • In the healthcare industry, seekers often search by common abbreviations, like RN, RMT, PSW, HSE, and LPN, among others.

Job seekers look at qualifications first  

On average, job seekers spend 10 seconds reading a job description. That’s an extremely brief window to make an impact. So how do you get their attention? By giving them what they want, right from the start.

Based on our data, the most effective job postings of the last year all had qualifications listed first, which indicates that job seekers are keen to know if they’re capable of doing the job. Duties, company background, salary information, and benefits were all next in line, however this varied depending on the industry.

job seekers search by keywords

In finance, for example, job postings that lead with salary information tended to perform better. In tech and admin roles, job postings got the most attention when they featured duties first.

Despite these findings, job postings tend to follow a similar pattern, with company backgrounds taking up about 40 per cent of the job description. A description of duties most typically takes up the next largest chunk of real estate, at 39 per cent.

Qualifications and benefits come in third and fourth, at 17 and 4 per cent of average job postings, respectively.

breakdown of a job posting

Less qualifications and duties means more applications

The study found that the less qualifications a job posting had, the more applications it generated. Job postings for bilingual customer service representatives, for example, received 20 per cent less applications than those without that requirement.

The takeaway for employers is to clearly state what is mandatory and what is nice to have. Too many mandatory skills will scare people away.

Listing salary does not make much of a difference

Salary information appeared in roughly 36 per cent of Workopolis job postings in 2016. The majority of these, however, were hourly positions and hourly rates.

Overall, listing salary attracts less applicants, unless you are offering highly competitive compensation. The exact impact of salary in a job posting, however, varies depending on the salary range of the position:

  • In jobs where the median salary is under $40,000, not listing salary can bring in more applicants.
  • In jobs where the median salary is in the $40,000 to $75,000 range, not listing salary, or listing a salary that is highly competitive, will bring in more applicants.
  • In jobs where the median salary is above $75,000, listing salary can have a minimal, but positive, impact on the number of applicants.

However, directional data suggests that while listing salary information attracts less applicants, it can attract up to five per cent more qualified applicants.

Most attractive benefits depend on salary bracket

The benefits job seekers found most attractive also varied depending on the salary ranges listed above.

  • Job postings for positions that paid under $40,000 performed best when they included training opportunities, corporate discounts. flexible schedules, location, and bonuses.
  • Jobs postings for positions that paid between $40,000 to $75,000 performed best when they offered flex schedules, dental/health coverage, rewards, RSPs, and career progression.
  • And for the over $75,000 jobs, seekers were most interested in salary, training, benefits, bonuses, and vacation time.

what benefits are most attractive to job seekers?

Job seekers are looking for flexibility

Searches for “part-time” almost tripled in the last 5 years, and has become the most searched term on Workopolis.

Searches for “work from home” and virtual jobs – including virtual assistance, project manager, bookkeeper, and call centre are some prime examples – also gained momentum, doubling year over year.

There are multiple factors contributing to these trends, including: a changing job landscape, and a new generation looking for flexible schedules and side gigs, among other things.

Based on these findings, employers can get more applicants for a hard-to-fill position by splitting it up into part-time positions, and by offering flex work options.


See also:
How to write targeted job postings that save you time (and money)
Job posting basics: what is an intake meeting?
The do’s and don’ts of writing job postings for small businesses


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