How To Write Brilliant Job Adverts That Attract Fantastic Candidates Every Time

Recruitment has never been more competitive than right now.

With so much choice out there, people are spending less time at companies and a lot more time in search of their “perfect job.”

We live in a world where people want more than just a “job,” they want something they love, something they can enjoy and something that really matters to them.

So, to ensure that your job advert stands out, you need to appeal with something that makes an impression on the heart, soul and/or wallet of your ideal candidates.

And here’s how to do that…

1. Personalise the job advert.

You probably already know the kind of person you are looking to hire. So it’s important that you personalise your advert with that person in mind.

  • Use their technical language.
  • Ask questions and make statements that appeal directly to them.
  • And imagine what they would want from a new job and focus on that.

Unsure who you want to hire?

Think about people (past and present) who do a similar job to the one you’re advertising…

Who are the best? What are they like? How do they tackle things?

These are the kinds of people you want to attract with your job advert.

In fact, you could even speak to these people, ask them for their opinions and get some help writing your job adverts!

2. Use the right tone.

The issue with many job adverts is the way they are written.

This starts with the tone.

Your job description should be warm and inviting, with an added level of humour – if applicable, of course.

At the end of the day, many of the top candidates you are looking for are probably at a company already, but actively browsing. So in theory, you almost need to work even harder to sell the role to prise them away.

The most important factor in the tone is to make sure it’s on brand. For instance, if you’re writing a job advert for a marketing manager role at a quirky agency, push the boundaries and inject a bit of personality into the copy. Perhaps something as simple as including a point about being a good tea maker as a requirement may add a little character to the mix.

Another thing to consider is the way you directly address the reader.

A constant repetition of ‘we’ and ‘our’ can leave your job advert feeling passive and very self-absorbed. Talk to the candidate on their level in the second person, using ‘you’ and ‘your’.

3. Use a specific location.

Always include the location and be specific (especially if you’re located in a huge city like London).  People want to know exactly where they’re going to be working.

Give them opportunity to plan things like the commute, where they’re going to have their lunch, how easy is it to get out to buy Christmas presents, etc.  So be explicit.

The job boards are pretty clever these days and allow you to use a postcode when you’re posting your job.

Their system then allows candidates to search within a certain radius of where they live to ensure that they only see jobs that are within a comfortable commutable distance for them.

You can use the body copy of the advert to explain where your offices are and if anything sets them aside from your competition.  “Award-winning offices” will certainly get more attention than ‘ideal location’.

4. Always include the salary (or salary range).

Would YOU apply for a job if you didn’t know the potential salary?

Neither would most job seekers.

The dreaded job advert cliché ‘salary negotiable‘ will do serious damage to your job advert conversions.

It immediately breeds suspicion and in candidates’ eyes roughly translates to ‘I’ll pay you as little as possible’

Oh and “available on request” is just as suspicious and frustrating!

The truth is that withholding the salary will cause you 3 major problems…

1. You’ll lose the ability to target a large number of candidates:

The larger job boards, such as Jobsite, have a ‘Jobs-By-Email’ database.

Every morning, relevant jobs are emailed to appropriate candidates, who view them online and apply if they think they’re suitable.  This process yields nearly 50% of Jobsite’s applications.

If  you don’t include a salary on your role, then the vacancy will be eliminated from the process, as it’s considered to be giving poor user experience to their candidates.

Individuals want to know everything about the role and things don’t get much more important than salary.

2. You’ll waste time on inappropriate candidates, who haven’t reached the level of skill worthy of that salary yet.

If no one knows what the salary is  you’re bound to receive applications from under-skilled candidates…that’s just frustrating for you and them.

3. You’ll waste time on inappropriate candidates who are already well above that salary.

You don’t want to attract candidates who are over-skilled anymore than you do those who are under-skilled; they’re bound to turn down the position at a later date so its a waste of time for everyone involved.

5. Include the company name.

Whether or not you include your company name in a job advert is down to several factors:

– Does the role need to be confidential?
– Are you happy enough with the company branding to have it advertised online?
– Are you happy fielding calls from eager recruitment consultants? (I guarantee this WILL happen).

A big benefit of including your company name on an ad is that it will give potential employees a chance to thoroughly research your company before actually making an application.

Of course, if you’ve got a brand that’s particularly powerful or has a strong presence either nationally or locally, it could be worth shouting about it to boost your ad’s performance.

Not including your company name will instantly lead a candidate to think that the role is being managed by a recruitment consultancy, given that most will omit company name for fear of other agencies pitching to the Hiring Managers!

6. Talk about company culture.

Small and organically growing companies may not have the money of big business, but can offer a huge cultural advantage over massive enterprises.

Small businesses are often more dynamic, have greater role flexibility and can offer more personalised perks for individuals and teams.

You should sell this in your job advert.

If you offer flexible working, then shout about it (this is a BIG thing for families). Perhaps you all get together on a Friday night together? Maybe you take part in a lot of charity work?

Use these kinds of selling points to show how you’re different and why someone would want to work with you – bearing in mind what we discussed in point 1 – what would your ideal candidate want?

7. Shout about your values.

Morals and values are important to people.

They want to know they’re working for a kind-hearted company that cares.

So if you have any shared values, shout about them.

For example, progressive companies of all sizes are happy to highlight their green credentials.

Companies that recycle, use solar power or green lifestyle perks win serious kudos from this generation.

Whatever you care about, letting potential candidates know about it will really boost your employer brand – and therefore your wider brand.

8. Sell the lifestyle.

Many companies are limited in what they can offer when it comes to compensation and benefits – we can’t all dish out the perks like Google or Apple.

However, your job adverts can still stand out, if you advertise other advantages well.

One very simple perk could be the natural lifestyle advantages.

So for example, a coast-based company could use their location to sell surfing/diving/fishing opportunities while those near the great outdoors could promote fresh air and scenery.

Don’t leave anything positive out of your advert! It’s worth putting it in.

9. Make it easy to read.

Many job seekers will only spend a few seconds on an advert, so ensure that the post is easy to read to avoid them glossing over it and either a) ignoring it altogether or b) applying when they’re not in the slightest bit relevant to the role (I’m sure you’ve suffered this before).

You should always get a second edit of any advert, ideally by someone outside their office to check that the language is natural, easy to understand and engaging.

Doing so can mean the difference between ads that have that batch-processed, impersonal feel to them.

10. Focus on the job.

This may seem like an obvious inclusion, but it’s easy to forget.

While it’s great to sell the company you’re writing the job advert for, it’s vital to remember that candidates are often searching to see whether they can do the job first.

Going into huge detail about business growth plans and the origins of its early days is all fine and dandy, but if you want to stay under 700 words, this kind of information might have to take a back seat.

Job seekers are eager to find out about the role itself, including day-to-day tasks and what kind of experience is required.

Try limiting the company details down to no more than three lines and this will give you plenty of room to sell the position itself.

11. Don’t ask for the world. 

According to Harvard Business Review, men apply for a job when they meet 60% of the qualifications on a job ad, whereas women only do if they meet 100% of them.

That’s why it’s important to really consider the job requirements.

Distinguish the ‘must have’ skills, experiences and qualifications from the ‘nice to have’.

By establishing two clear lists, this shouldn’t put off too many candidates.

And if it’s a skill which a candidate can be taught, it might be worth leaving it off altogether.

12. Consider searchability.

Creating stellar content for your job advert might be one thing, but if you fail to consider key search terms, your hard work might not get the exposure it deserves.

Candidates will search for certain job titles on Google, so if you choose ‘Wordsmith Wizard’ instead of ‘Senior Copywriter’, you might struggle to gain the traffic you desire.

It’s about finding the balance between fun and practicality.

13. Avoid buzzwords and clichés.

Buzzwords and clichés should be banned from job adverts, for good.

These include things like:

  • Dynamic.
  • Fantastic track record.
  • Self-starter.

They just don’t really mean anything.

If you actually take a step back and write down something honest and natural, your candidates will respect and be attracted to the opportunity so much more – seriously.

14. Use an infographic job advert.

If you really want to stand out, an infographic could be the way forward.

These tend to work better via social media (they get shared a lot) but you could also post it on certain recruitment websites and your own site.

If you do it right… it can really work to get all of the information over really quickly and impressively.

Want more info?

Check out this article: The Job Advertisement Reconstructed: Infographic Style

15. Link the advert to a video.

Keep your job advert nice and brief then link to a video on the company’s website!

Video marketing is SO popular right now – and if you create something really share-worthy, then it’ll reach much more people than a normal advert. (It could even go viral…)

And you don’t just have to talk about the company, the job and the benefits.

You could offer viewers a tour of the office, a glimpse of the (happy) people they’ll be working with and even insight into the kinds of events, projects and/or team tasks you manage, if relevant.

16. Go wild and creative.

If your role is hard to fill, then you could post a really (really) creative job advert.

For example, if you’re looking for a computer coder or app developer, you could present the job advert in code.

Or if you need an engineer, you could create a job advert that includes a technical drawing.

Need a chef? Why not create a job ad that looks like a menu?

(You get the gist).

Check out this article – 26 Crazily Creative Recruitment Ads – if you’d like some inspiration.

17. Remember the 8 basics.

Ok, some of these may seem a little bit obvious. But you may be surprised what gets missed out, when people are concentrating on other things.

Include:

  • Job title.
  • Job description.
  • Location.
  • Salary.
  • Company name (or brief description, if confidential).
  • Essential skills.
  • Call to action.
  • Contact information.

18. Make your advert mobile friendly.

While this might be a slightly bigger element to consider, it’s worth implementing.

In terms of content length, mobile optimisation is another reason why we suggest keeping your job advert under 700 words. After all, a candidate doesn’t want to be scrolling for days!

In fact, only 42% of recruitment sites are optimised for mobile, despite the growing demand for ‘one-click’ buttons and 50% of candidates using their mobile devices to specifically apply for jobs.

If you can tick this box, you’ll tap into a whole world of potential job seekers who like to search on the move. This could be the difference between finding the perfect employee and not.

19. Don’t forget a call to action.

To finish off your job advert, make it clear what they need to do RIGHT NOW.

How exactly do they apply?

If you’re using a job board for your advert, the call to action is really simple – “…click on the apply button below”.  The job board will take care of the rest for you and will guide people through the process.

If you’re advertising offline (and in the current tech-savvy climate where everyone uses job boards as their first port of call, I’m not quite sure why anyone might do that (!)), then include clear actions you want someone to take, along with contact details of where to send their applications to.

20. Record your results.

The final essential in our job ad checklist is setting up the right tools to record your results.

You see, while this might not help you immediately, it will for future vacancies.

By tracking the successes and failures of this current job ad, you can then adapt it and improve it for next time.

Try to collate:

  • The number of job ad views and applications.
  • How relevant the applications were.
  • The number of interviews conducted.
  • The cost involved per hire and staff retention rates.

Summary

Hopefully at this point, you’ll be well on your way to creating the perfect job advert, but as you can see, in terms of finding a superstar staff member, there are quite a few things to think about.

So to summarise:

  • Personalise the job advert.
  • Use the right tone.
  • Use a specific location.
  • Include salary.
  • And the company name.
  • Talk about company culture.
  • Shout about your values.
  • Sell the lifestyle.
  • Make the advert easy to read.
  • Focus on the job.
  • Don’t ask for the world.
  • Consider searchability.
  • Avoid buzzwords and clichés.
  • Use an infographic job advert.
  • Link the advert to a video.
  • Go wild and creative.
  • Remember the 8 basics.
  • Make your advert mobile friendly.
  • Don’t forget a call to action.
  • Record your results.

Good luck!

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