healthcare job postingWhen we’re pressed for time, it’s tempting to cut and paste sections from a job description when writing healthcare job postings. Resist that temptation — job descriptions and job postings are not one in the same!

“The purpose of a job description is to communicate — in detail — the responsibilities, qualifications, and scope of the job. It’s a compliance document,” says Ian Johnson, Director of Talent at Virginia Mason, a healthcare system and research center in Seattle.

A job posting, on the other hand, is a key component of recruitment marketing.

“A posting is a way of broadcasting,” he continues. “It creates context – why you’d want to do the role, whether it’s a shift or FTE position, the location, and a clear call to action. This is how to create a clear value proposition establishing why someone would want this position at this organization, and it can change someone from looking to applying.”

When producing job postings, it’s important to think like a marketer. Here are five tips to write better healthcare job postings, without copying and pasting the job description:

  1. Design for Mobile. According to a Glassdoor survey, 45% of job seekers research positions on mobile devices at least once a day, so it’s crucial to make the posting easy to consume on a tablet or phone. “Make it engaging, brief, and descriptive — people will abandon it if it’s too long,” cautions Lisa Frank, Senior Product Marketing Manager for HealthcareSource. Include employer branding elements and hyperlinks to the company blog or career site, or a special landing page with highlights of the organization, such as awards, patient stories, Glassdoor ranking, etc.
  2. Anticipate Candidates’ Needs. “Recruiters and leaders need to give each posting the ‘so-what’ test,” Johnson says, to make sure it’s written from the job seeker’s perspective. “Include enough information to keep people engaged. It’s not about filling up the page; it’s about communicating in a way that adds value.” The goal is to give candidates the ability to opt into your talent network and to assess quickly whether they’re qualified or not.
  3. Use the Right Words & Voice. “The title should be engaging but not so over the top that people don’t know what you’re looking for,” Frank counsels. Skip the internal acronyms, too. “Write with a conversational tone. If there’s no personality in the posting, people will wonder, ‘Is this really where I want to spend my days?’”
  4. Showcase Differentiators. Help candidates decide if your organization or position is the right fit. Include specific aspects of your culture or insights into what it’s like to work at the company. It’s also helpful to highlight differentiators between similar positions in various disciplines. Virginia Mason produces “Day in the Life” videos to accompany postings, such as a typical day of a medical assistant in dermatology versus primary care.
  5. Leverage Search Engine Optimization. Adding keywords and SEO tags to your healthcare job postings helps open positions show up better in search results, making it easier for candidates to find you, Frank adds.

This may seem like a lot of work for a job posting, but the costs of getting it wrong are high. A poorly written job posting can keep great candidates from applying and require additional effort to identify prospects, or it can attract too many unqualified people.

“You can get a lot of people applying for jobs they shouldn’t be,” Johnson notes. “More is not better. More of the right candidates is better. When job postings aren’t clear about what people will be actually doing on-the-job, they waste everyone’s time.”


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Healthcare Job Postings - Recruitment Marketing

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Margot Carmichael Lester

About Margot Carmichael Lester

Margot Carmichael Lester is a North Carolina-based freelance business journalist who has been covering healthcare and staffing for more than 20 years. She also writes about moviemaking for the International Cinematographers Guild, specializing in action cinema. Margot co-authored the award-winning teen writing book Be a Better Writer with her husband, Steve Peha. She earned her BA in journalism from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and is a rabid Tar Heel basketball fan.