Have we reached a historic tipping point? For centuries, employees have been easier to find than jobs. But mounting data suggests the labor shortages we’ve seen recently aren’t going away anytime soon.
According to a June 2023 report from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, job vacancies are high, while unemployment rates have been trending down since 2009 (apart from a temporary spike due to Covid-19).
Between broadscale migration trends, aging baby boomers, and the explosion of new technologies, it’s a watershed moment: Employees have more bargaining power than they did in the 1900s, the 1800s, and even further back.
For employers, it’s a challenging time. Newer industries like tech can typically adapt: companies are introducing flex work options, offering higher wages, and placing an emphasis on workplace culture. As a general rule, the longer your industry has been around, the harder it is to offer perks like these and remain competitive.
Not all businesses can afford to raise salaries, let alone entice employees with lunch break trips to the company spa or fitness center. But some tactics for attracting talent are available to every employer. One of the best? Optimizing your job posts.
At northforce.org, we accept job listings from all employers (regardless of size or industry) within the 10 counties of northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin that we define as the Northland. Over the last 10 years, we’ve seen a lot of job posts, and we’ve identified some common missteps employers make when posting an opening. Here are the top five job listing mistakes we see, along with ways to avoid them:
1) Missing wage information. Candidates are more likely to apply when the job post includes a pay range. Being transparent about the numbers can also help avoid wage disparity and discrimination issues.
2) Bad titles. Stay away from vague or generic titles like “Marketing Guru” and stick to straightforward titles that make sense based on job scope.
3) Overwhelming level of detail. Effective job posts introduce employees to an organization and provide an overview of job duties so candidates can decide whether the position might be a good fit for them. Save in-depth details for the formal job description, which you can share with prospective hires during the hiring and interview process.
4) Blurry requirements. Does the candidate really need 15 years of experience or a certain degree? For every requirement you add, you narrow your pool of applicants. Separate preferred qualifications into their own section, and if possible, mention options for training, education, and advancement.
5) No sense of company culture. Or worse, the listing comes across as bland, stale—even toxic or hostile. Keep the tone professional as you share a little about what makes your business unique. Highlight why candidates would enjoy working for you, as opposed to your competition.
The job post is your chance to capture the attention of candidates and make a great first impression. Follow best practices and put yourself in the job seeker’s shoes to craft listings that will perform in today’s competitive labor market.
Ali Bilden Camps is a Northspan consultant and NORTHFORCE program manager. Northspan is a nonprofit consulting firm based in Duluth that powers the region’s NORTHFORCE program.
A version of this article originally appeared in the Duluth News Tribune on July 19. You can view the column here.