Woman searching for jobs online

What Do Applicants Want to See in Your Job Postings? (According to Job Seekers)

Convincing candidates to apply for your job posting depends on both what’s in the job ad and what’s missing. As you should know, there is much more to an effective job posting than describing the open position and listing desired candidate skills and qualifications.

To stand out from the crowd and attract top talent, you need to understand what those applicants are looking for. As part of iHire’s 2021 State of Online Recruiting Report, we asked 5,614 job seekers what employers and recruiters could “do better” to persuade them to apply for open positions. Use these tips – directly from real job seekers – to improve your job postings, entice the right candidates, and boost critical recruiting KPIs.


Graph of what applicants want to see in application


Specify Salary

It may come as no surprise that including the salary in a job ad topped the list of what job seekers want most. In fact, 61.9% of respondents said specifying the salary range for the position could get them to apply for online job postings.

You may be hesitant to include a salary range in your job ad; however, being upfront about what you are offering will allow candidates to determine whether your position is a good fit before an application even reaches your inbox. That will cut down on underqualified candidates applying for the position and streamline your process.


Communicate Clearly

Open communication is high on the list for job seekers’ job posting “wants,” coming in just behind salary range. According to our State of Online Recruiting survey, 60.0% of respondents said including the next steps in the process or a hiring timeline (when they should expect to hear back, when interviews will be scheduled, etc.) would increase their likelihood of applying for a job posting.

Similarly, 48.8% of survey participants said that “ghosting,” or not hearing back from an employer after applying or interviewing, is one of their biggest job search challenges. So, including details on when you’ll be in contact will go a long way toward alleviating that pain point and creating an effective job posting.

The third item on job seekers’ wish list was also communication-related: 44.2% want job postings to include contact information for the hiring manager or recruiter. Giving applicants a way to contact you can also help ease their fears of ghosting. If you do add contact info, make sure it doesn’t conflict with the instructions for submitting their application, as that could confuse applicants. Including a note that says, “For questions or concerns, contact [email and/or phone number],” should suffice.


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Highlight Your Employer Brand

Job seekers want to know what it’s like to work for a company before applying for a role – 21.7% of survey respondents said including a description of one’s company’s culture in a job ad would help convince them to apply.

Since everyone should enjoy where they work, add a short description of your organization’s atmosphere as well as your mission, values, benefits, and perks. Mention any “best workplace” awards you’ve won. Offer reasons your new hire would want to work for you instead of your competitor. These small details may be deciding factors for many candidates who are comparing multiple potential employers.

You may also want to include any incentives or sign-on bonuses you’re offering in your job posting. Of course, not every position will have a sign-on bonus, but that information could sway at least 22.3% of candidates to apply, according to our State of Online Recruiting survey.

Call out any sign-on bonuses towards the beginning of your job description, along with any significant benefits (for example, “Company XYZ is now hiring licensed CDL Truck Drivers to join our growing team. Get weekends off, medical, dental and vision insurance, and $1,000 sign-on bonus”). Mentioning these perks will not only lure on-the-fence job seekers, but also strengthen your employer brand by demonstrating you are an employee-focused company and care about your associates.


Job application on cell phone


Simplify the Application Process

Streamlining the application process will also attract top talent and can expedite your hiring process. Nearly 40% of respondents want employers to shorten the time to complete an application, and 28.3% said the application should be mobile-friendly.

In addition, 29.4% of survey participants were frustrated by job postings on job boards that redirect them to another site to complete the application. If you must direct the applicants to another site, say, to your company’s applicant tracking system (ATS), make sure that’s the first step in the flow. Submitting a resume on one site, only to have to re-enter all that information again on another, can lead to high application abandonment rates, fewer candidates in your talent pool, and a poor candidate experience with your employer brand.

Job seekers are busy; 48.5% of those surveyed said they were already employed, which means they’re looking for jobs around their current schedule. If you can simplify the steps for applying for your position, you’re more likely to find great candidates and improve your recruitment KPIs.


Knowing what job seekers want and addressing those needs right in your job posting will significantly increase the attractiveness of your ad. As a result, you’ll raise your chances of finding and hiring top talent.

For more hiring insights straight from today’s job seekers, download iHire’s 2021 State of Online Recruiting Report.

by: Doug Atkinson
September 16, 2021