If you’ve had a position open for a while and still haven’t found any great contenders, you may want to revisit your job posting. This is an area where you truly reap what you sow, so it pays to take the time to put together something that is thoughtful and will set you up for success. Keep in mind the following recommendations to attract high quality talent.

Include Nice-to-Haves and Need-to-Haves

As much as you may think that you do, you don’t know what the perfect candidate will look like—not until they’ve walked into the door and proven their worth. You know that there are certain criteria that you think could benefit the position, but being too stringent may mean that a qualified candidate may not even exist. 

Consider the difference between the criteria (education, experience, certifications) that someone needs in order to complete the job, and the things that are not absolutely necessary. Include both in your job posting, separately. 

Be Clear and Concise 

While a resume and cover letter will be your first opinion of applicants, the job posting will be their first impression of you. Your job posting should demonstrate that you would be a good employer to work for. This means being straightforward, organized, friendly and responsive. 

You probably don’t have time to read through pages and pages of information—especially if it is poorly written—so don’t assume that candidates do either. Remember that quality candidates will be applying to multiple positions and will have high standards for which applications they spend time on. Write a job description worthy of their time. You should also make sure to have it proofread by a colleague or third party to make sure it is polished. 

Consider Any Potential Questions, and Answer Them 

Do yourself a favor and include the information that candidates will be looking for. Otherwise one of two things will happen: Either you’ll get a bunch of applications from unqualified individuals, or you will be overwhelmed with interested parties asking a bunch of clarifying questions. You don’t have time for either of these scenarios. 

When you ask someone to proofread your job posting, ask them to also consider if there are any missing areas. Put yourself in the applicants’ shoes: What would they want to know? Daily responsibilities, required experience, salary range, and included benefits should all have a place in your job posting. 

Include a Question to Filter Responses 

You only are interested in applicants that have read the entire job posting. One way to quickly disregard individuals who are sending out mass cover letters is to include a question or some other instruction that they need to answer at the beginning of their application. This could be something fun and simple like “include this silly keyword in your first sentence” or something more complicated and specific to the position. 

Cast a Wide Net 

The perfect candidate is out there. Writing a great job posting will definitely help to attract them. The other thing that you’ll need to do is make sure that they actually see it. Consider posting your listing on a variety of sites, such as Indeed, Career Builder, Monster and LinkedIn. You may also want to work directly with a third-party hiring manager who may have more experience finding individuals with specific skillsets.