Unemployment rates may be at an all-time low, but millions of job seekers are still actively looking for positions– and most start their search through online job boards. As a hiring manager tasked with sourcing new talent, your initial challenge is two-fold: connect with qualified job seekers and convince these job seekers to apply to your company. You need to optimize online job posts to ensure they stand out in a sea of other postings and attract the right talent.

Google for Jobs is making this task a bit less daunting. Google’s meta job search engine centralizes all of the postings from partnered third-party job posting boards, like LinkedIn. The Google for Jobs meta-engine has eliminated two common hurdles to finding qualified talent:

  1. Hiring managers do not need to post on several job boards; one posting on an affiliated board is now sufficient.
  2. Candidates do not need to sort through multiple job boards; searching Google for Jobs gives candidates access to all job postings on affiliated boards.

Google for Jobs aggregates job posts in a central location and makes these posts sortable and searchable. However, even though Google has made Artificial Intelligence (AI) advances within its text-based searching functionality, the capability is not yet robust. For this reason, metadata entries are extremely important.

Writing Effective Job Posts for Meta-Engines and Job Seekers

When writing an online job post, this content must cater to two very different audiences at the same time. First, your job description must be indexable, sortable, and full of precise metadata in order to to be compiled and sorted by job boards and filters. Secondly, your post needs to catch the attention of a qualified candidate. To do both, it helps to keep the basics of online job searching in mind. Job seekers use specific sets of keywords, titles, duties, and metadata to search and sort jobs. Job seekers generally refine their search results using the following: geographic radius (e.g., city), distance from home (e.g., no more than 10 miles), salary range (e.g., $75-100K), job title (e.g., Product Manager).

Here’s how you can reverse-engineer your posting to pass through the machine filters and land in front of the right candidates:


Location is the first search criteria most job seekers use when refining search results. While some candidates are slightly more flexible on geography, most still filter their search results based on office location and commute time. Failure to include precise location information means your job posting won’t show up when a candidate sorts results based on geographic radius.

Do this: If your company has multiple branch offices across the country, list the city where the role will be based. If the job location is flexible – you could be in Houston, TX or Seattle, WA, for example – consider posting two separate job listings, one for each location. If your company has multiple branch locations within a single city, list the specific branch address where the role will be based.

Salary Range.

Including a salary range maximizes your visibility in search results to the right candidates. Serious job seekers filter by salary, especially in cities with a high cost of living. By including a realistic salary range, you save yourself time by eliminating job seekers who simply won’t consider a salary in the range you offer no matter how appealing the position. Sure, you risk eliminating some job seekers who may find your starting salary too low, but these are likely folks who would never have have said yes even if you made an offer, wasting your time in the process.

Do this: Deciding what salary range to list can be tricky. You don’t want to low-ball promising candidates and you don’t want to over commit, either. Study the market, look at what your competitors are offering, and put values on various skill sets, qualifications, and experience levels. Armed with this information, you can proactively set a compensation bracket. This is a range, so allow wiggle room on either end, depending on the candidate.

Job Title.

What’s in a name? For online job seekers, quite a bit! When sorting job postings by position, job seekers must make an educated guess about what they think the position they want will be called. This is not the place to get creative. A ‘Chief Ninja’ or ‘Resident Visionary’ position may sound fun, but it’s unlikely that a job seeker will be using “ninja” or “visionary” in their search terms.

Additionally, keep in mind that some titles may be incorrectly interpreted by candidates based on their industry background, so you’ll need to be very specific in the job description overview to avoid confusion. A “Development Director” at a small non-profit requires a vastly different skill set than a “Development Director” at a large financial institution. Likewise, a “Strategy Director” for a defense contractor will be very different from a “Strategy Director” at a digital marketing agency.

Do this: Keep the title simple, logical and relevant. Before publishing your job description, do a quick Google keyword search for the title you plan to use. Did you match with other jobs in your industry? You may also wish to check LinkedIn for competitor descriptions and posts.