Chapter 2

Simple Craigslist Job Posting Tips that Deliver Real Candidates

Craigslist Job Posting

Posting job ads to Craigslist can be tough. 

It can be hard to get noticed by the right job seeker, even while you get a flood of the wrong ones.

But it can't be ignored. Craigslist is one of the most popular job boards in the world - for many positions it's the go-to job site to get your role in front of applicants, and it's inexpensive in most markets. 

To help you take advantage of this powerful channel for broadcasting your job openings, I'll show you how to post a job on Craigslist that gets people's attention, with step-by-step job listing instructions, and a quick tip for cutting through a flood of applications.

Craigslist Job Posting Pricing

What will it cost you to post a job listing on Craigslist? The pricing is quite different from your typical job board. 

Craigslist charges by city. In a very small number of regions and cities Craigslist job postings are totally free. From there, the price is tiered at $15, $25, $35, and $45 per posting, with listings in San Francisco the only ones at $75 per posting category. 

Is there a Difference Between Craigslist Paid and Free Ads?

This is a common question people have.

For most job boards, having a paid job ad means your you'll get more exposure, with your listing appearing above free ads. 

But things are a little different on Craigslist. In a few smaller towns and cities, you can't pay for a listing, even if you want to. In larger cities you have to pay a fee to be listed at all - there is no free option. 

The only advantage to paying is that it allows you to post job openings using HTML, which gives you some nice formatting options. We'll go into that in-depth below. 

What is the Craigslist Posting Account Limit?

Craigslist unfortunately seems to be in a never ending war with spammers and people trying to promote job scams. Because of this they have fairly strict limits on how often you can post.

If you research their posting limits on Google, you'll find lots of people in forums trying to figure out why they've crossed the posting limit for their account. 

Craigslist may have some special rules that apply if they suspect you of being a spammer, but the general rule, according to Craigslist itself, is that you can post to one category and in one city once every 48 hours.

They also note that, if you're trying to post something similar to an active post, you may get a blocked message. Craigslist says removing the similar active post should help, unless it is less than 48 hours old.

Generally, if you want to avoid being labeled as job spam, employers should include as much detail as possible about the position. If it's an online job this is especially important. Being specific about compensation is also helpful. 

How To Post A Job On Craigslist (Step-By-Step) 

Getting ready to post a job to Craigslist for the first time? 

We've got easy, step-by-step instructions for you to make this as easy as possible. 

1. Go to Craigslist.org, find the city you want to post in and click on it.

Craigslist home page.

2. Click “post to classifieds.”

Post to Craigslist classifieds.

3. Click “job offered,” then "continue."

Craiglist jog posting - select job offered. 

4. Select the type of job you’re offering. 

Craigslist select job category.

5. Fill in all the necessary fields, including email address (keep the Craigslist relay setting on to avoid spam), title, post body, compensation and employment type. Use the CL mail relay to avoid spam to your email address. Then click continue.

Craigslist job post step 5.

6. Locate your business on the map.

Locate your business on Craigslist. 

7. Craigslist will now prompt you to add more images. If you didn't already add them via HTML, you really should add some now - it helps greatly in getting your post noticed. Click "Done with Images" when you’re ready to move on. Also, if you have both a map and an image, it helps your ad stand out a little more, as you'll see below.

Craigslist add images.

8. Review your job posting, then click publish. You’ll see the total price here too.

Craigslist review price.

9. Check your email and confirm your address. It will tell you that further action is required after you hit publish.

10. Accept terms of use.

Craigslist accept terms. 

11. To pay, you can login to an existing account, or select “Pay Now.” Once you've paid, that's it! 

Now that you know how to post, continue reading to learn how to post well

How to Find the Very Best Candidates on Craigslist

I'm always surprised by what I find when I scan jobs posted to Craigslist. 

There's a key point of confusion out there, and it's causing people to miss great applicants. Everyone is confused about the difference between job ads and job descriptions. 

Let me make it very simple - a job ad sells the ad, a job description is an internal document used to outline the job parameters. This isn't just a confusion of word choice though. People are constantly posting their job descriptions to Craigslist. 

It's like a car company sending out copies of the owner's manual for a new model, and hoping people decide to buy it. 

When you post to Craigslist, be sure to post something that sells your job. Need help? Check out my article - How to Write a Job Ad. Further below we've also got info on avoiding typical Craigslist mistakes.

We've got another tip that will make your job ad look 10X better on Craigslist, and won't cost you anything or take much time.

Post your job coded in HTML.

Does that sound scary? 

Don't worry, you're not going to have to start taking night classes in HTML to figure this out. If you don't have someone on staff that can knock this out for you, stay tuned - we'll be coming out with a tool shortly that helps you create the perfect Craigslist post - no HTML knowledge required.

As we mentioned, HTML posting only works for paid Craigslist job ads. HTML isn't allowed in free ad markets (usually smaller towns and cities).

Here's what a typical, no-HTML Craigslist ad looks like:

Typical Craigslist ad with no HTML. 

Here's what Lyft does with their Craigslist ads using HTML:

Lyft Craigslist ad with HTML. 

The HTML version is much nicer, right?

It's one of several ways you can stand out from all the noise on Craigslist, and appear much less spammy. 

Even if you post in HTML and use other techniques, such as writing a good title, your ad may not get seen as much as you'd like.

In busy markets, people are constantly posting. So an ad you posted a few days ago might be buried so far under a pile of new ads that applicants don't find it. 

To ensure visibility, you'll want to repost the ad weekly, at a minimum.

Anatomy of a Bad Post - Examples of What Not to do on Craigslist

It seems one of the unavoidable side effects of internet success is spam. 

As the most popular classifieds service in the world, Craigslist is often the target of many spammers, which makes people looking at jobs on the site wary of sending their resume to just any company they come across.

Another side effect is noise. There's so much activity on Craigslist that it's hard for many companies to cut through and get noticed. 

Let's take a look at some examples of what what makes ads look spammy and uninteresting.

We'll start off with one of the most important, and easiest parts of your Craigslist post to get right, the title. Here are some sample titles I found on Chicago's Craigslist recently:

Craigslist title examples.

One of two things that Craigslist users constantly mention when they talk about spotting spam is vague postings - postings that give few details about the job. Also, sales happen to be one of the most spam-ridden areas.

I don't know if the first two jobs I highlighted are spam or not. But between the lack of specificity in the title, and the fact they're both in sales, I'd never click these, much less send personal info, like a resume. If you're using Craigslist to find sales people, definitely add your company name, the type of sales, and any additional info that will help you stand out.

The other thing people say alerts them to spam? Poor writing. 

Again, I have no idea if the third ad I highlighted is spam or not, but the fact that an insurance company misspelled "insurance" isn't... reassuring. 

Other than that, I'd say every title on this list is terrible - some of them did add images and map information to their posts, which helps them stand out a little. Otherwise, there's nothing in these titles that tells me why they're special. Remember the title from the Lyft ad we used above?

Example of a Craigslist title 

This one tells me the company's name and two great benefits of working with them right in the headline - I get to choose my schedule and make up to $35 per hour. The only thing I'd suggest they add is the job title, for people who don't know Lyft.

Ok, now let's look at the body of a post. Here's an almost laughably bad one:

Craigslist bad post example. 

You'll find literally thousands of ads like this on Craigslist. If this isn't just spam to get your information, I'd be shocked. Most people will know not to post a job opportunity this vague. 

But how about this one:

Craigslist post example 2.  

There's nothing that stands out as particularly spammy about this ad, but I'm willing to bet you didn't read more than the first couple sentences of it. 

You could replace the job title information with almost any job, and all of the qualities and skills would still apply. 

When you're getting ready to write your post, think about what sets your company, team, and job offer apart from everyone else out there, and be sure that information gets into the title and the first paragraph.

Then go through your responsibilities and qualifications, and toss out anything that isn't an absolute must, and anything that can apply to any job, anywhere. Everyone wants "self motivated" employees - so don't put it in the job ad.

An Easy Trick for Filtering the Firehose of Candidates

Ok, if you've followed our advice so far, you should be getting a lot more applicants. 

Of course, that's part of the problem - now you need to figure out which of those is the best. 

One trick I've used is replying to all applicants with a request that they call a voicemail and answer 1 question in less than 60 seconds. For example, "Tell us why you are the perfect person for this role and leave your phone number for us to call you back."

This allowed me to screen all the poor quality applicants out, as I could listen to voicemails and see if people could talk on the phone and answer the question properly. 

It's a quick and easy way to start narrowing down your list. 

Looking for another way to organize your applicants? Try our Applicant Tracking System. It'll make managing all your applications a snap.

To Craigslist - and Beyond!

Ok, we hope this made posting to Craigslist a lot easier, and helped you to write a post that let you stand out from 99 percent of what you'll see out there. 

Ready to post? Click here and Betterteam will help you post to Craigslist and 100 more job boards within minutes.