How to write the perfect job ad
There are few things more annoying than pulling a job, taking a detailed spec and writing a job ad, only to receive either hundreds of unsuitable applications or none at all.
Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) have helped with the sifting process, but when it comes to writing the perfect job ad, where do you start?
“Hiring the right people takes time, the right questions, and a healthy dose of curiosity.”
Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group
Time is of the essence when it comes to recruitment. You want to get the role filled as quickly as possible. However, to get the best possible results, it’s key to spend time crafting the ad so that you ask the right questions and attract the interest of the right people.
So, how do you create the perfect job ad?
A perfect job ad should:
- Engage the best applicants
- Clearly share the job responsibilities and requirements
- Make them want to be part of the company
- Give a clear call to action for how they apply
Let’s walk through how to bring the perfect job ad to life.
Get Noticed – Make sure your job ad stands out from the crowd.
- Think about what search terms an applicant will use, and include these in your advert accordingly.
Most search engines pull up an advert based on the keyword in the title. Therefore, a keyword in your title can be worth up to four times as much it would be in the copy.
- Avoid plural job titles, e.g. candidates will enter ‘auditor’, not ‘auditors’.
- Don’t just add in a salary for £1 to satisfy the job board criteria – it makes your ad seem a lot less credible. The same goes for writing “highly competitive” and salaries with huge variances, e.g. £40-70k. At the end of the day, a potential applicant wants to know what they will be paid.
- This may seem obvious, but ensure that your job is posted within the relevant sector on the job site. The reality is that jobs have been put in different sectors, which makes them very hard to find.
Tip: Look at how similar jobs are written. You’ll be able to tell which are the most attractive and can use this to influence how you write.
With Google launching their own jobs platform, getting the right keywords into your ad has never been more important. You can read more about it here.
Sell, Sell, Sell
Write a job ad worth reading.
Consider the “Sell me this pen” sequence from The Wolf of Wall Street. The idea is to sell a seemingly standard item in an exciting way. With your job ad, don’t just explain what the position your advertising entails. Show why this job will influence them on a professional and personal level.
Sell the business. Introduce the team, the office atmosphere, the work ethic and the perks. Share how rewarding it is to work there. By the end of the advert the applicant should already be excited at the prospect of working for the company.
Tip: Don’t write an impossible skill wishlist. If an individual has all the essential skills to successfully perform in the role, but is lacking the nitty gritty, you might lose a potentially brilliant applicant.
Communication is key.
- There is zero point using internal lingo in a job ad. You should use recognised terminology to avoid any confusion.
- Be direct in your copy. Don’t give them options that may deter them from applying for the role, e.g. “if you feel this is for you”, and don’t say “please”.
- Use positive language. Instead of “could”, “would” or “may”, say “will”. It’s much more forthcoming and makes your words pack more of a punch.
- Make it personal. Say “you” and “your”, instead of phrases like “the successful candidate”. This makes the applicant feel as though the ad is directed at them.
- Make the application process clear. If it seems complicated, applicants may be put off. So make it obvious how they apply for the role, e.g. “Email me your CV to ensure a faster response”.
Tip: Make sure you proofread, or ask a colleague to do this. Your advert doesn’t just sell the role, it represents the business. And it’s a first impression. Any mistakes big or small can affect whether someone applies for the role.
Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Post the Job
Follow this checklist before your job ad goes live, to ensure you’ve covered all bases and the ad is the best it can possibly be:
- Does the job title accurately represent the role?
- Does the title match the job description?
- Have I included enough relevant keywords?
- Would I want to apply for this?
- Is the job spec crystal clear?
- Is it easy to apply for?
- Has the copy been proofed?
According to Officevibe, the best candidates are off the market in ten days. So creating a killer job advert is essential to making sure they pick you. Dedicate the time and effort to create the perfect job ad, and you’ll reap the rewards.
“Hiring the best is your most important task.”
Steve Jobs, Co-Founder of Apple