Writing job adverts is like writing anything; it takes practice. Careful thought and time is needed to craft your words into something that accurately reflects the role and draws candidates in.
There’s nothing worse than publishing a job ad and then either not receiving any response at all, or worse still, being inundated with applications from unsuitable candidates. Do either of these situations sound familiar? Read on to find out what to include (and what not to!), in order to improve your adverts and ultimately attract those rare, premium candidates.
1. Be Specific
Candidates read hundreds of job ads before choosing which to apply for; being specific will ensure that you funnel more relevant candidates to apply for the role.
Provide details about day-to-day tasks, responsibilities, and qualifications required for the role, avoid ambiguity as this tends to result in an unmanageable volume of applications. It’s important to incorporate information about the salary range that the role offers for the same reason.
2. Stand Out from the Competition
Perceptions of perks and incentives differ; some candidates may be looking for locations accessible by public transport, the ability to work from home, or early finishes on Fridays. Listing a few details that are specific to your working environment can really add personality to your advertisement.
This could be something tongue in cheek like ‘secret dart board for when the boss is out’, or something a little more relevant such as ‘modern office, team lunch provided every Friday’. These phrases add character and they ensure that you find someone who fits in well with your existing employees.
3. Include Contact Details for Enquiries
This can help to reduce the amount of unsuitable candidates early on in the process.
You can learn a lot about potential candidates with a 5-minute phone call, saving you the time and effort of working through a pile of applications later.
4. Tell Them About You
Primarily you want to get candidates to buy into the job you’re advertising, but describing the company, working environment, and team is part of that too. Include clear goals and any objectives you have for the company – this gives the role context and will allow readers to see how their responsibilities and achievements fit into the future of the business as a whole.
As a recruiter this applies for your clients too; you need to accurately reflect the values of the company you’re hiring on behalf of, whilst remaining somewhat anonymous when necessary.
5. Don’t Exaggerate
Exaggeration on your part will come back to bite you. Hyping up a job title can reduce the amount of views your job ad receives. Think about it – less people will find your listing for a ‘wet leisure assistant’ than if you simply advertise for a Lifeguard.
Exaggerating basic things like salary, benefits packages, and opportunities will result in disappointed candidates. Ultimately this increases the likelihood of fee refunds, awkward conversations, and frustrated clients too.
All done? Edit, Edit, and Edit Again
Once you’ve written a first draft, read it through multiple times. Put yourself in the shoes of a potential candidate and tweak, re-write, and edit your words. Get input from someone outside the world of recruitment, and don’t be precious about your words – sometimes less is more.
Job ads are tricky things to get right. Ensure you give clear and honest details about the role, and add in some personality with facts about the working environment and characteristics of the team the role fits into.
End your job ad with something short and sweet such as, ‘applicants meeting the job specs will be contacted as part of the shortlisting process within 7 days of application’. This helps to manage expectations in terms of response rate. Publish ads on online job boards and through your social media channels, and keep them up to date to ensure you get a good response.
Heidi is PhD student at the University of Aberdeen. Her research focuses on the issues surrounding the recruitment of patients into clinical trials.