Collie King, Kwantek

Years ago, when the recession was at its peak, it was easy to write a job posting and get dozens of applicants.

Our applicant data shows the average job posting for a Security Guard received 30.3 applicants per job in 2012. In 2017, the average job posting for the same Security Guard position receives just 15.9 applicants.

Simply put, there are more jobs available than job seekers in today’s economy. It’s vital that you stand out from your competition (hint: this is NOT just other Security Guard jobs) and write job postings that appeal to the individual.

Kwantek’s Applicant Tracking Software has generated over one million applications for Security Guards, and our onboarding tools give us the data to help us understand how long those applicants stay in the job.

We have found the commonalities in job postings that not only get lots of applicants, but produce long-lasting employees. Here is what we’ve found:

Part One – The Preview: What Gets Them to Read the Next Line?

According to the Pew Research Center, 77% of all adults own a smartphone, up from just 35% in 2011.

And according to Indeed, over 80% of building, grounds cleaning and maintenance job searches originated from a mobile device. It’s safe to say security guards aren’t far behind.

The first step is to get people to click your job listing as they are scrolling through the job board.

If they’re on a phone (and more often than not they are), you have about one sentence to get them to take that action.

So what gets them to read that next line? The first step is understanding how to craft your title and description.

Tip #1) Include specific locations in the title, but NOT just ‘City, State’

Most job boards actually have an algorithm to lower job postings that just say ‘City, State’ in the title. It’s important to be extremely specific about the location.

For example, if your client is in the downtown area of Louisville, KY, make your title say “Downtown Louisville, KY” and not just “Louisville, KY.” Or if your client is in the Highlands Neighborhood, include that in the title such as “Highlands/Louisville, KY”

Tip #2) If you have competitive rates, add it to the title

Competitive rates displayed in the job title are more likely to attract applicants. This may seem obvious, but including the pay (if it’s a good rate) provides a huge boost to your job posting’s click rate.

Tip #3) Post new jobs consistently for better results

The final thing the user sees is the day the posting was created. If you have an evergreen job posting, it’s vital to continuously refresh it. Otherwise, the user perceives the job as being either filled or undesirable, and the click rate will decrease.

Here is a handy graphic to share the differences with you:

Part Two: What’s in it for them?

Retention starts with the job posting.

Let that sink in. It’s vital to get the job posting right, especially with Security Guards. Think about the best qualities of a good Security Guard: they crave structure and a plan and they thrive on facts.

To understand what’s in it for the person applying for the job, ask yourself why somebody would like this job. Also ask yourself why somebody would not like this job.

You must include all the details of the job within the posting itself. Will it require the Guard to work in the middle of the night? Will the Guard be surrounded by lots of people? Will the Guard be sitting or standing? Make sure every possible detail involving essential functions of the job are communicated clearly.

Beyond the essential job functions, why is somebody going to really enjoy the job?

If the Guard is doing their job correctly, they could go weeks or months without ever seeing their boss. Is that the case with your available positions? If so, mention it! Autonomy is something most humans crave.

Will they have access to food and drink? Will they get any kind of equipment? Will they receive ongoing training? Think about all the good things the Guard will receive upon accepting the offer, and be sure to include them in your posting.

Lastly, one of the biggest reasons for not applying to a job is perceived job requirements the applicant may not have. If you require a guard card, feel free to mention that, but also mention that you could help someone easily apply for their guard card. Help them envision an easy path to success.

Remember, you have two goals with your job posting:

Make sure plenty of qualified candidates apply and make sure those candidates have a high likelihood of retention.

In summary, the best thing to do before posting your job is to simply know exactly what you are looking for before you post it. That way, you can create job descriptions that are:

  • Highly specific
  • Focused on them (not you)
  • Descriptive of ‘how’ they will do a job
  • Void of the unknown

To learn more about best practices in hiring security guards, click here to download Kwantek’s free eBook, “The 3-Step Hiring Guide for Growing Security Companies.”