Job post face-off Higher Education
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Job post face-off: New York vs. London

Today we take a look at the data anatomy of two job listings in higher education to see what makes them effective … or not. The first one comes from New York City’s prestigious Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), for the role of Director of Career and Internship Services. The second job listing is for the position of Associate Dean of Academic Development and Enhancement at University of the Arts London (UAL), also a prominent and highly-ranked international college for art and design.

I found both of these active listings on Indeed yesterday and scored them into Textio to find out how effective they will be at recruiting.

Textio analysis of job post for Director of Career and Internship Services at Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), featuring highlighted terms, strengths, problems, and Textio Score

Textio scores job ads from New York’s FIT

Textio analysis of job listing for the position of Associate Dean of Academic Development and Enhancement at University of the Arts London (UAL), featuring highlighted terms, strengths, problems, and Textio Score

London’s University of the Arts

Right away you can see the Textio Scores of these two job posts have a wide spread: UAL’s post rates as “Fair” with a score of 60, but FIT’s role comes in “Very Weak” at just 10. If you’ve used Textio, you know what that means: statistically, FIT’s job post will perform better than only 10% of comparable job listings in attracting a strong, diverse talent pool quickly.

However, the UAL listing does have a potential weakness in its gender bias: Textio has identified a number of phrases in their listing that will attract a higher proportion of women than men to the role, whereas the FIT job strikes a perfect balance in gender tone.

University of the Arts London

The UAL Associate Dean position gets a lot of the basics right: it uses positive language, hits the sweet spot in terms of overall length, and mostly avoids the kind of corporate jargon that tends to depress applications.

You can see in the screen shot above that UAL uses a lot of “green” language, like creative, new ideas, and dynamic. These are key words that Textio has identified as being statistically better at attracting highly qualified, diverse candidates to roles of this type.

Textio product screen featuring "Problem: Needs more 'we' statement" with explanation of why 'we' statements are important and image of ratio of 2.2 for 'you' to 'we' statements on scale of 0.0 to 2.4 and suggestions for fixing

The University of the Arts London needs to say “we” more often

But a Textio Score of 60 is not great—and it would be easy to get this document up to 90+ to make it top of class. For starters, it repeats many phrases, which the data tells us is a no-no. Taking a look at all the gray highlights in the document, most of the repeated phrases are things like “University of the Arts” and “the College.” That makes sense, of course, but is there a more effective way to write the same thing? Definitely! And it’s closely linked to another problem with this post: not enough we statements…

Textio points out that the ratio of you statements to we statements is too high in this job post. (Read Allie Hall’s great explanation of this phenomenon here.) That means the role needs more we statements. So by replacing some of the instances of “University of the Arts” or “the College” with “we,” you can solve both problems at once. It took me all of about 5 seconds to swap out two of those phrases with the words “our” and “we,” and my Textio Score on this listing shot up from 60 to 82!

Fashion Institute of Technology

The job posting from FIT, on the other hand, is destined to perform poorly for many reasons. The only two things it has going for it are a strong equal opportunity statement (which the data shows will improve job ad performance across all demographics) and a good proportion of bulleted content (which can affect both time-to-fill and the gender balance of your applicant pool.)

Textio product screen featuring "Problem: Listing is too long" with explanation of ideal job listing length, number of words at 1275 on scale of 70 to 1336, and recommendations for fixing

At 1275 words, FIT’s job listing is just way too long

The FIT role does nicely balance the number of phrases that will skew the gender balance of their applicant pool. But with a Textio Score this low, having a neutral gender tone is the least of their concerns.

At 1,275 words, this listing is really testing every reader’s patience. It’s just way too long. It also suffers from repetitive wording and corporate clichés: stakeholders, comply with, and successful candidate are all phrases that the hiring data shows will turn people off, so it’ll get fewer applications.

However, unlike the UAL job listing, the FIT job description actually needs to include more you statements in order to balance out the high number of we statements. Textio’s data clearly shows that listings with strong you phrases have a higher level of candidate engagement.

This time, London wins

In the end, there’s no real contest here. Despite its gender bias problem, the London arts college job post clearly bests the New York fashion college listing and is likely to draw a higher number qualified candidates quickly.

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