Heatmap reveals what candidates look for first in your job posting (and what they skim over)

Are you putting your focus where it matters most in your job ads? Studies have shown that most job seekers look at an online job posting for less than one minute before deciding whether to hit the ‘apply’ button or move on.

That information is easily obtained through time-spent data available to websites. What is more difficult to ascertain is what candidates are focusing on in those crucial seconds. With only that short amount of time to convince the talented workers you need to send you their resumes, it is important to get the details right.

A new heat map study of job descriptions reveals that there are whole sections of an ad that candidates ignore and others that they gravitate to first. The team at LinkedIn analyzed the interests of 450 candidates as they interacted with a job posting.

The results are somewhat surprising. With all the talk about the importance of company culture, work-life balance, and work environment, when it came down to the first look at a job description, candidates are much more focused on the practical details.

They want to know what the responsibilities of the job are, whether they have the qualifications to get hired for it, and most importantly: how much it pays.

The study revealed that candidates are much less interested in reading about the company, culture, or mission statement. While that information is eventually important to job seekers, the job description isn’t necessarily where they go looking for it. When looking for new opportunities, candidates want to find jobs that they can land, that they can do, and that will compensate them fairly for their work.

It’s only after they have found the position that ticks those boxes that they start to research the company brand and culture. (The logic being that the working environment and company mission are irrelevant to job seekers if an organization doesn’t have any open positions matching their goals.)

The bottom line is that in order to attract more applicants to your jobs, you should make sure your job posting focuses on the role, not the company. Let candidates know what the job entails and what’s in it for them so that they know that it is worth their time to apply.

Then include links to your corporate employment site and social media profiles. Once they have decided to submit an application, candidates will be looking up your company and researching your brand. A positive employer value proposition will be crucial to their accepting a job offer and joining your team.

But first you need them to apply – and that comes down to clearly presenting the job details and compensation.

You can read the full study results and view the heat map from LinkedIn here.

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