My first remote job was a demotion. In 2012 I think that’s how most people looked at remote work – if you left the office, you couldn’t possibly still work full time or be as present and productive as anyone sitting at the office. I was working as a full-time marketing director, and despite my full workload, because I needed to be 100% remote, they suggested I go to part-time.
I started my second remote gig with all the best intentions. “I won’t accept this role if I’m not remote,” I confidently said when they offered me an interim CMO position. They agreed. Slowly but surely, the executive team applied pressure until I understood what they were saying. I needed to be there. I was commuting over 1000 miles to be in the office four days a week.
Eight years later, that’s probably not shocking to you. I still hear so many corporate horror stories about going remote only to have it rescinded at the last minute or the company’s convenience. Companies treat remote work like a gift or sugary candy. You can’t have too much remote work, or you’ll ruin your appetite.
But what for?
That diminishing appetite for going into the office has been the only significant change around remote work policies in the last five years. With every long commute, climate report, and missed kiddo event, the list of reasons people look for remote work grows longer. One in three said they would leave their job for remote work.
That means that companies who are going remote have a significant advantage they should talk about in their job postings.
But here’s the catch: Most ATS systems aren’t even configured to post remote jobs. Zip codes only accept numerical entries. State fields are required. City auto-populates. Oh, and the job boards won’t publish your job without required fields. I’ve come against so many data headaches I have to help you avoid when it comes to writing a remote job posting.
Want to Post A remote job?
First of all, people who want remote jobs: stop scanning and read this part. You can enter the word remote into the title or location field of any job board. There are also job boards that only feature remote jobs out there. Go. Apply. Wear sweatpants every day if you want to. (It’s glorious. #SweatpantCEO )
For those of you recruiting remote workers, here’s your remote job posting how-to.
- I dug into the search volume for synonyms of “remote work,” and the word “remote” by far gets the most search traffic. Use the keyword remote in three places to show up first in results. I’m going to list them in order of search engine importance, aka what makes you show up first: Job title (i.e. [Remote] Marketing Manager), location field, or you can add it to the copy (“This is a remote role”).
- Use “remote” as your location. It’s that simple. If the system is rejecting the word “remote” in the location field, use the address of your headquarters. Don’t have one? Use the city and state of wherever someone will have to go when you decide to fly everyone in for an all-hands meeting. In this scenario, be sure to use the keyword remote in the job title or make it bold in the job post content. Make sure candidates can’t miss it.
- When writing the job posting, spend time talking about how remote employees will stay in touch. The human connection is essential for retention, even when we’re not on site. Use language like, “We’re a remote team that stays in touch using Slack and Messenger…” or “We meet once a quarter in-person to build our quarterly strategy and volunteer…” You have to tell the culture story, even if it’s happening at their house on a Zoom call.
- Post on remote job boards. If a candidate wants a remote gig, they’ll be searching on these websites. Consider using boards like FlexJobs, WeWorkRemotely, or Remote.co.
- If you partner with a programmatic job ad vendor, they can do a location expansion to create duplicate sponsored postings on Indeed for additional locations. All apply clicks for those multiple ads will drive back to the same original job posting on your career site/ATS.
- Set the right expectations. If this role is only remote part-time, say so. Tell people what days of the week they will have to be on-site. Be explicit about how remote work works and don’t wait until the last minute. I had a friend pull out of an offer the day before her first day simply because they switched the schedule.
That’s the real trick to writing useful and impactful remote job postings.
It’s more about transparency than any tactic. Tell people the real story about remote work at your organization when you post a remote job. We know that people are increasingly searching for remote jobs, so use that to your advantage and post in a way that helps candidates find your role in the first place.
Want help writing your job posting? We should talk. I wrote the book on job postings, and I can help your company write better job postings in 3 ways. I offer 1-1 job post writing sessions, team training, and outsourced job post writing services for companies of all sizes. I’d love to help your company, too.
Check out more of our Coronavirus and remote work resources:
- How To Write a Job Post: Coronavirus Edition
- Remote Company Culture Building In A Crisis
- Free Nurse Job Post Template
- How To Post A Remote Job
Katrina Kibben is the Founder and Principal Consultant of Three Ears Media. For most of Katrina’s career, she has been a marketer living in a recruiter’s world – listening to both sides of the talent equation to understand the real issues and find solutions for engaging and hiring better people. Today, she uses her technical marketing know-how and way with words to help both established and emerging brands develop and deliver content that fuels smart recruitment marketing that makes the right people apply.
Katrina has written for Monster.com, HR.com, RecruitingDaily and many other digital publications. She is a recognized leader in recruiting and employer branding who speaks regularly at conferences around the world.