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How to Write a Job Ad That Actually Works

Recruitment Marketing featured

When you're deliberating over how to write a job ad that will appeal to your target candidate persona, take some time to consider what potential applicants actually want to see.

Most companies forget that when a candidate looks at a job ad, it's the first time that they've interacted with your company. It's perfectly possible that they've never even heard of you before!

Data from the Candidate Experience Awards shows that 48% of all applicants have no prior relationship with the company that they're applying to, they're coming in cold.

[tweetery]Job ads are often the first touchpoint a candidate has with you. Make it count.[tweetery-end]

That's a lot of people who will be hearing about your company for the FIRST time through your job ad. Better make a good first impression!

What do candidates want to see in a job ad?

Your job ad needs to be very clear about your company. Do not assume that the applicant knows:

  • Anything at all about your company
  • Anything at all about your product
  • What makes you different (or your EVP)
  • Why others work with or for you (i.e. employee motivation)

You have to weave this information in throughout your job advertisement to really capture the applicant's imagination and interest.

When applicants were asked "What is the most valuable job-related content to you?" the top answers they gave were:

i) Job Description

This is often the introduction that a candidate has to your company. It's hugely valuable to job seekers, so make sure you think carefully about how you word it.

ii) Salary Range

With compensation a key part of any candidate's decision making process, it's surprising that only 22% of employees share salary information in their job description. It's something that candidates really care about, so it could be worth including at least a salary range (if you're not already).

iii) Benefits

Job seekers want to know about what sort of benefits a potential employee could offer. This could be anything from dental care, to access to your company table tennis table!

iv) Examples of success

Many job seekers want you to describe what a great employee would look like. Only 33% of employers talk about what their ideal employee would look like, so this is another way you can make your job ad more effective.

v) Clarity on career path

Accepting a job is a huge milestone in people's lives. Applicants are looking for an understanding of the different career paths that are available if they were to accept this role.

The job must be presented as a stepping stone in their career with the potential for them to move on to other things. Only 49% of employers do this! Map out the potential career paths that an applicant could pursue from this role and people are guaranteed to show an interest.

When you tie all of this together you have the recipe for a great job ad that will provide the applicant with all of the information they feel is most important to them as a job seeker.

Let's have a closer look at building the perfect job ad now that we know the key components.

We Are Hiring

Job Specifications ≠ Job Advertisements

A job specification is for internal company use only. This is created for legal reasons and is NOT the best way to attract your ideal applicant. A job ad has one objective, to entice people to your company.

Here are 3 job ad tips that could be useful:

i) Use Images

Using real images of your office and current team give your job ad more authenticity. If you can include a video that's also great for conveying quality content that showcases your company.

ii) Structure your ad with headings

These provide structure to your job ad. Even simple techniques like bolding keywords help job seekers focus on the important content. Remember most people skim hundreds of job ads at a time so give your company the best chance to make an impression.

iii) Try not to include bullet points- they don't work!

Instead of using bullet points try creating a job ad that has detailed paragraphs to share all of your information.

So What Does The Perfect Job Ad Actually Look Like?

The road to a great job ad lies in following the "SUCCESs" mnemonic - a tried and tested guide to creating clear, compelling copy that can delight candidates.

Secret to a Great Job Ad

A great job ad features has every single one of these qualities. Use this as a checklist when you next create an ad for your team.

Let's dig into the anatomy of a top job ad. You'll see that we've highlighted instances where the "SUCCESs" framework plays a role.

Structure of a Great Job Ad

i) Summary of Why and Who?

Why are you hiring for this position? How will this position help your company hit it's goals? Share this with candidates to increase engagement.

ii) Describe the Employer

Assume they know nothing about your company or client. Describe the company mission, and explain why it's such a great place to work.

iii) About the Job

Share information about the role. Try to use words like "you", "your" and "yours" to engage readers and draw them into the job ad.

iv) About the Ideal Candidate

Research suggests a Candidate Centric description will engage higher quality candidates. Make sure you share information on what the "ideal" candidate looks like, together with the opportunities that the role has in terms of career progression.

Job Ad Example Structure

iv) Requirements

Define what is absolutely required for your role in simple language so there is no confusion from prospective candidates. Then you can add in the things that are necessarily a requirement but might be a benefit.

v) Salary Range & Benefits

If possible, touch on the salary range and benefits. Not all companies will allow you to do this in your ad. If you are restricted from posting this, you could maybe add “Contact me to discuss!” You'd be surprised how many people will actually take the time to reach out if they are seriously interested in the role.

vi) Application Process

Define the application process. Candidates want to know what happens next once they have applied. Set expectations of when they will hear from you. Giving people an idea of what the process is, reduces their risk and fear and will increase the likelihood of great talent applying to you.

vii) Call to Action

Close with a great call to action. Remember not all candidates will have an up to date resumé ready to send to you immediately.

Consider passive candidates who may not be actively searching for a new job as well as active candidates. Provide a way for passives to leave their contact information or register to hear about future opportunities.

If you enjoyed this article then take a look at the Beamery Academy. It’s stuffed full of ebooks, free courses and whitepapers that will help your team make talent their competitive advantage.