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Craigslist Job Posting Tip: Use an Apply Now button

This is another tip on how to get the best results out of craigslist.  Craigslist is a great resource at an affordable price and I think it should be a standard step in everyone’s hiring process.  But believe it or not, as good as craigslist is in a few locations (like San Francisco and New York), most companies get a disappointing volume of applicants to their job posting.  If you’re one of those then this series of tips is for you.

So, the title pretty much says it all.  Include a nice big Apply Now button in your craigslist job posting. To illustrate the importance of this, let’s take a look at a typical job posting that does not have an Apply Now button.


This is actually a pretty good posting.  It’s easy to scan, nice use of bullet points, maybe a little light on information.  But let’s think about the process that a jobseeker goes through when reading this ad.  They read down through the page, they decide this might be a good job for them and they want to apply, then they have to scroll back up to the top of the page and click on the generic craigslist email apply link to email a copy of their resume to the employer.

Now let’s look at another craigslist job posting, this one using an Apply Now button.


In this posting the jobseeker reads down the posting, they decide this might be a good fit, then as soon as they reach the bottom they see a big bright Apply Now button that’s makes it absolutely clear what they should do next. 

Now I’m not saying that an applicant who is really interested in your job will decide not to apply because you use the standard email link instead of an Apply Now button, I’m just saying that the button is a better experience and that these little details matter.  A low friction, easy to understand application process gives the jobseeker a sense that your company is smart, that you have a high degree of competence, and as a consequence you’re probably a good place to work. 

So that’s all well and good.  But how do you do it?  How do you put a button in the middle of a craigslist job posting?  The answer is that craigslist allows you to use a limited group of HTML tags in your posting.  They won’t let you use a real button, but they will let you use an image surrounded by an anchor tag.  Here’s an example of the HTML that we generate for HireFlo customers.

<a href="" style="cursor:pointer;" >
     <img src="" border="0" />

To make this work, you first need to create an image that looks like an apply button.  Our image is at  Once you have your image you just create an anchor tag that goes to your apply form, or your job posting on your company website, wherever it is that you want the applicant to go.  The apply form is probably your best option. 

Now at this point you might be thinking that this seems like a lot of work, and if you’re doing it all on your own, creating the image, building the apply form, and bringing it all together in the HTML, then it really is a lot of work.  The good news is that there are a number of tools (Applicant Tracking Systems) that will do this work for you.  With HireFlo it’s a simple process where you just copy and paste from a worksheet we provide.  Other ATSs have similar solutions. 

New to Applicant Tracking Systems? Learn how SquareHire can help you reach more applicants and manage your hiring funnel