Where should your “About Us” section go in a job posting? The start? The middle? The end?
If you guessed the start, you’re not alone, but you might be in for a surprise about its effectiveness.
An informal survey of job postings on Indeed, Glassdoor and Google for Jobs shows that 53.8% of employers start their postings with About Us.
The next most common placement (26.9%) of job postings have the About Us somewhere in the middle (often in the 2nd or 3rd paragraph). The rest (19.2%) put About Us at the end.
So, what’s optimal?
Why Beginning Your Job Postings with “About Us” is Often a Mistake
There are 2 reasons that you don’t want to lead with an About Us section:
1) The Candidate Cares More About Themselves Than You
Candidates care first about what’s in it for them. In psychology, this is called self-interest. It’s got economic roots too.
As Adam Smith, father of economics, once said (and I’m paraphrasing):
“Humans act rationally and in their own self-interest. Decisions are generally made based on financial prudence and intrinsic satisfaction.”
Below an example of a job posting that leads off with “WHO WE ARE” (aka About Us).
This is the sub-optimal way to start your job posting:
Do you notice how the first 240 words of their job posting are all about them?
A better way to start your job posting is to speak directly about why the candidate should work for you.
For example, something like this might work if you’re writing a job posting for a software engineer:
“How would you like a chance to build software used by millions? Want to be the first developer on your street to get your hands on the latest mobile device? Please consider joining XYZ Company as senior software developer”
As senior software developer, you report to the Director of Software on the exciting new team building XYZ widgets to save the world…”
You need to tell the candidate what’s in it for them before you talk about your own history.
I shared this “Candidate as Hero” concept in The 5 Storytelling Steps to Transform Your Career Site.
You the talent leader/recruiter should take a backseat to the candidate hero and just act more like their guide. You’re Obi-Wan Kenobi/Yoda (guide) to Luke Skywalker (hero) or Haymitch (the guide) to Katniss (the hero) or Dumbledore (guide) to Harry Potter (hero).
And if you’re not familiar with one of those 3 stories, please stop reading this blog and go out to the movies!
2) Google Gives Greater Importance to Your Opening Paragraph (Don’t repeat yourself)
If you want more free traffic to your job postings from Google.com, you might also consider this:
Most search engine optimization experts agree that Google weighs your opening paragraph more than they do the rest of your web page.
What that means is:
- If you open with an About Us statement, then you are indicating to Google that your job posting is more about your company history than the job.
- If you’re looking for a software developer, and the phrase “software developer” is not in your opening paragraph, then Google is unlikely to send candidates to your job posting.
- All other things equal, if you lead your job posting with an About Us section, and your competitor leads with a description of the role, Google will send more traffic to your competitor.
My Advice on “About Us” Placement?
I recommend you include the About Us section somewhere lower in the job posting. It should appear after you’ve talked about all the details about the job itself as well as employee benefits.
Make About Us the last, or near last, section.
Good candidates want to read about you, they just want to read about you after they’ve read what’s in it for THEM.
2 Exceptions for When You Might Start a Job Posting with “About Us”
There are only 2 exceptions for when I recommend you begin the job posting with an About Us-type section.
One is if you’re a well-known brand that is going through a massive re-brand.
Take Harley Davidson for example. They’ve recently added an electric bike line for kids. That’s a pretty cool departure that opens them up to a broader supply of talent. I’d understand if they needed to lead off their job posting with a refined About Us section like this:
“You might know Harley Davidson. We’ve been a symbol of freedom and power for cowboys and cowgirls for 115 years. Well now serving kids too, and helping the environment, with our newest line of electric bikes for kids.”
The second would be if you are a brand new brand that is mission-oriented. For example, if you’re a brand new company and you’re mission is to cloth every poor person on the planet within 10 years, then I’d understand you leading off with that in just a sentence or two.
But with these 2 edge cases, you’d still want to dive into the job particulars within the 3rd or 4th sentence.
Outside of those 2 exceptions, most of you should tuck your About Us section at the end of your job post.
For more tips on writing job descriptions, check out How to Write a Job Description — Best Practices & Examples.
Why I wrote this?
Ongig’s mission is to transform your job descriptions. We do this through A.I. search, video, writing tools and more. Check out our Text Analyzer which analyzes every word in your job descriptions to help you attract top-tier, diverse talent. Please click our demo request button if you’d like to see it in action. Thanks for reading!