How to write a good vacancy

Sergio Bertijn - 17 February 2023
DIQQ staff walking towards camera in Amsterdam with a tram in the background.

IT recruiters sometimes wonder if it makes sense to post a vacancy. They often assume that most IT professionals aren't looking for a new job. Moreover, the current job market for IT specialists is "extremely" tight resulting in them being approached daily. This means attracting the right talent is necessary to have a head start in the competitive "war for talent." In this blog, I'll tell you about my experience as Head of Operations, explain the importance of good job postings, and give tips to get the most out of your vacancies.

My experience as Head of Operations

When I started at DIQQ, we had access to x-number of "job slots" on LinkedIn. Before then, we’d never successfully recruited a developer who applied for jobs on their own. According to Intelligence Group, 85% of recruiters dread writing vacancies. That's why it didn't surprise me that many paid little attention to writing great job postings. This had to change, which is why I took the initiative. In recent years I have written about over 1000 IT vacancies. Hence, I understand what's important and what a good vacancy text should include.

The importance of good vacancy

It's important for a job posting to be complete. Changing jobs is a major event that significantly affects a developer's life and, to some extent, can bring uncertainty. According to Werf&, 80% of the population understands simple vacancy texts at language level B1. The research by Textmetrics confirms that many job postings are too complicated due to a high language level. Thus, a vacancy should be clear. Make sure your language is comprehensible to the target audience.

Is your job posting written in the correct language level? This tool allows you to check if the words you use fit B1. Besides the language, the structure should contribute to the readability of a vacancy. The use of bullet points can help with this. Many vacancies are still incomplete. Werf& indicates that the salary or salary indication is often missing, and as a result, many potential candidates (78%) apply less quickly, and 26% drop out immediately. It's also important that your job posting contains the following points to make Google index it higher:

  • Posting date
  • Clear description
  • Organization
  • Location
  • Clear job title
  • Salary (indication)
  • Type of employment (Full-time, part-time, permanent or temporary contract)
  • Closing date  

How to convince applicants with your vacancy

Finally, I want to discuss how you can ensure that candidates are more likely to apply for your job posting. A blog by UMC Utrecht explains that we make 95% of our decisions with the unconscious brain and merely 5% with our conscious brain. You can make clever use of this when writing a job ad because the unconscious brain is relatively easy to influence. Therefore, I often use the "Six Principles of Persuasion" by Robert Cialdini, a former psychology professor. This theory describes six principles of influence that you can apply to your target audience:

  1. Reciprocity
    If you give something, you’re more likely to gain something back.  

  1. Scarcity
    When you think something is scarce, you want it even more, so always include a closing date in your job posting.
  1. Authority
    Show that you’re an authority in IT, and people should come to you if they want a new job as an IT professional.

  1. Commitment/Consistency
    Once people have publicly committed to something or someone, they’re more likely to stick to that commitment.  
  1. Social proof power
    Make sure reviews are visible from people who’ve used your services and people who work at the company.

  1. Sympathy
    The more you like someone, the easier it is for them to convince you. We call this the favor factor.

By applying the above as much as possible in the job postings I have written, the percentage of views-to-click and click-to-apply has dramatically improved. This has led to several successful placements both internally and with our clients. Paying more attention to writing good job postings increases the likelihood of the candidate you're looking for applying themselves.

Do you have tips or tricks for writing better job postings? Let us know!

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