How to Write IT Job Ads That Attract Top Performers

For IT companies, it can be challenging to attract the most talented candidates. You have to identify an effective strategy to help consistently replenish your recruiting pipeline. On top of that, you have to be sure that you market the position correctly so that you attract the right candidates with the necessary skills and experience needed to thrive in your IT staffing roles. The way you do this is by posting a job ad for each position. This is a critical component in the recruiting process, and it all comes down to the information you capture within the ad itself. 

The information you include within your job ad is going to be the difference between identifying the right candidates and the wrong ones. By providing a detailed overview, you increase the likelihood you end up with a match in terms of skills, certifications, and knowledge. 

Here are a few best practices on how to write IT job ads that get the best results, and attract top performers. 

Be as Specific as Possible With Your Job Description

IT is a diverse and varied field. There are numerous types of positions with highly variant roles and responsibilities. The best method for finding the right people for each role is to create a list of all the job’s expected duties and include them in your job ad. 

Before you’ve even hired the candidate, you’re showing them that your company places a premium on crystal clear communication. You’re outlining the scope of the position prior to it starting. 

For your prospective candidates, this helps them know exactly what they’ll be doing. They can then gauge whether they possess the needed skill set or if there are skill gaps. Once you’ve identified the right candidate and are looking to move forward, the job description serves as your candidate’s roadmap for success in the role. 

Don’t forget other critical aspects of the job such as where the work is performed (is it an on-site or remote role?).

Include the Necessary Skills 

Beyond just describing the responsibilities of the role, you’ll also want to be clear on what skills are needed. For example, if you’re looking to hire a programmer, you’ll list the coding languages the candidate will need to know. This sets the appropriate expectations. 

It also allows candidates with the needed skills to find your job when searching job boards and search engines. You’re more likely to identify a skill fit if you’ve got a comprehensive list of the IT skills needed to function in the role. 

What happens if there are skills that would be great for your candidate to have, but aren’t required from day one? There is a strategy for addressing this: compile a list of skills you envision a high performer having in this role. Break this list into two separate lists: “Must Have” and “Nice to Have.” If there are skills the candidate absolutely must possess to function within the role, include those on that list. If there are skills the candidate doesn’t necessarily require but would help separate them from the other candidates, include those in that second list. Then identify the candidates who have all the “Must Haves” and as many of the “Nice to Haves” as possible. 

The advantage of separating your IT skills this way is that you can attract candidates who are high performers and intelligent but who may not have all the skills you’d love to see in an ideal employee. By considering other elements (like attitude, background, and coachability), you can allow the individual to upskill in the role. Remember, you’re hiring a person, not a list of skills. 

Include the Necessary Certifications

For many IT positions, certifications are an absolute requirement. Let’s take a cybersecurity analyst, for example. They have specific certifications that showcase their ability to detect and respond to various cyber threats. 

If these are needed for the role, include them in the job ad. That increases the likelihood you’ll get candidates with the certifications they need to perform the role. 

Some example certifications for various IT roles include: 

  • Certified information security manager (CISM)
  • Certified information systems security professional (CISSP)
  • CompTIA
  • Certified ethical hacker (CEH)

Additionally, there are other certifications that aren’t limited to the IT sector but can often prove useful in an IT-focused role. For example, if you’re hiring a project manager for an IT helpdesk support team, you may want to hire a candidate with a Project Management Professional certification (PMP). 

Include the Systems and Tools They’ll Need to Know

What kinds of software will the candidate use in this role? What is your company’s tool stack? Make sure to include them in the listing as well. 

Remember your “Must Have” and “Nice to Have” list? Map your tool stack over these lists as well. If you have a software platform that requires proficiency from day one, include this as a must-have. If you have software tools that can be more easily learned (i.e. project management or communication tools like Asana or Slack), then consider including them in the “Nice to Have” portion. 

By identifying the tools you use, you’ll attract the candidates you have experience with them. This decreases the amount of time it will take you to ramp up new hires after they join your organization. 

Sell Yourself 

Job ads are so role-focused that often companies can forget they’re trying to impress the candidate just as much as the candidate is trying to impress them. 

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts that IT jobs will grow by a whopping 13% between 2020 and 2030. That means that talented performers in IT roles are likely to have a wide variety of positions and companies to choose from. You’ll want to highlight your company’s unique value proposition. When you’re writing your job ad, highlight the benefits to the candidate. 

What differentiates you from your competitors? What elements of the employee experience do your current employees value the most? How competitive are your salary and benefits offerings? Do you offer additional compensation such as bonuses or stock options? 

Whatever advantages you have, include them in your job descriptions. This will stand out to IT professionals who want to know why they should work for you. Remember that the recruiting process is a two-way street, and when it comes to top talent, they’re vetting you as much as you’re vetting them. 

If you’re looking for guidance on IT staffing, recruitment, or any other general IT support best practices, look no further. The Provato Group can help. For more on how we can partner with you, contact us today

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