An Engineer's Guide to Active Job Board Management

Hack your job board and get 10x the qualified candidates. 🧑‍💻

Trying to get qualified engineering candidates in your hiring pipeline without a recruiter is brutal, but it doesn't have to be.

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What's the Biggest Lie Your ATS Told You?

That you can post your open roles and forget about them.

You’re an engineering leader without a full time technical recruiter. You’re not a job board expert, but you need candidates. This is your no-fluff guide. No cold outbound. No 3% improvements. Just the 80/20 for hacking job boards.

After working with hundreds of companies hiring developers, we’ve noticed something surprising. There’s often a 5x to 10x volume difference in qualified candidates between seemingly identical companies.

And there’s one practice companies aren’t doing that’s slashing their candidate flow: active job board managementInstead of relying on your Applicant Tracking System to do everything, you can 10x your results by running the system yourself.

 

💡Emplify was growing fast and needed to expand their product team. After 90 days of working with recruiters and sources to find candidates, they had less than 10 in their pipeline. That’s when they decided to implement this technique and within 30 days they had 110 qualified candidates. They made their first hire on day 40.

✅ What active job board management is:

• 80/20 job post optimization for search and activation
• Knowing when and how to refresh stale ads
• Remote-specific optimizations now that everyone is remote

❌ What active job board management is not:

• Increasing compensation
• Lowering the bar
• Something your Applicant Tracking System or HR team are already doing

HOW IT WORKS

The market for developer candidates is heavily consolidated on LinkedIn and Indeed. These job boards have to strike a balance between extracting money from companies and being the place candidates know they can go to find a job.

As a result of that, LinkedIn and Indeed prioritize new roles to keep candidates engaged – and ask you to spend more so that your old roles behave like new ones.

Generally, you’ll see your inbound candidate flow drop off between 10 to 14 days after posting an open role.

Ready to get started? Follow the below steps to stop candidate drop off and keep your pipeline full. ⬇️

🪝 Create the hook

Your job post is an ad – not a job description. Instead of making the first few sentences a boilerplate for your company, try to mix in all the things that are good about the role

Skip making the first few sentences a boilerplate for your company and try to mix in all the things that are good about the role. Are you async? Are you remote first? Do you use the best tools? Do you have team dinners? Lean into what makes you special and avoid jargon.

💬  Create different role title variations

Because different candidates respond to different job titles, you should have more than one ad. Think of your job post title like the headline of your ad – not just the title that HR uses.

Multiple variations allows you to rotate your ads and test what message is being received the best. You want to be constantly A/B testing different job titles, descriptions, locations, and levels to find what works.

👉 We talked to an engineer who skipped over a Frontend Engineer role and jumped on an ad for a React Engineer. They were the same job! 

If you’re open to different seniority levels (e.g. junior vs mid-level vs senior), splitting out a new job post for each level will give you more candidates.

🔍 Optimize search by adding common candidate search terms

If your job ad doesn’t show up in their search, it doesn’t exist.

The number 1 search term candidates use is their desired tech stack. The insight is that if you are open to folks coming from e.g. Java, even if you use C#, you want to include the keyword “Java” in your job post. That gives you a chance to win that candidate.

👉 A customer was hiring for a C# Software Developer, but they were open to great candidates with a background in Java or C++:

“You will be working on significant architecture and code updates / enhancements to a large-scale Windows WPF application running in a controlled hardware / software environment together with a team of skilled designers and developers.”

💵 Add a salary range

Including compensation info ~doubles your candidate volume. It’s OK to have a very wide range!

The only reason to leave this off is if you know your comp is well below market.

 

 

↻ Rotate your ads

Every 10 to 14 days, take down your role variations and post others in the queue. This maximizes your candidate flow and tells the job board that your role is new, which will give it a signal to boost the post.

🏙️ Rotate your cities

We’ve noticed an increase in candidate volume when rotating through cities on job boards. Instead of posting your roles as remote, pick a set of ~3 cities and post the ad in each one for 2 weeks at a time.

Example: Post in San Francisco, New York, and Boston for 2 weeks, then repost in Houston, Dallas, and Atlanta.

💰 Change your bidding strategy

You can expect to get 3x the number of applicants when you promote your ad on paid boards like LinkedIn vs when you post for free. But you’ll want to make sure you’re allocating your budget effectively. LinkedIn recommends starting at $30/day, however we’ve seen $6/day work well. You can always increase your budget for better results.

👉 Let’s say you start at $6/day. If your role has been up for 2 weeks you’re not getting enough candidates, try increasing your budget to $10 or $15/day.

No Time to Manage Your Job Boards?

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