Your recruitment advertisement is a public statement on your organisation. It should reflect or help you create your employer brand – so it should be as much about why people would want to work for you as much as what you are looking for from them.
The vast majority of job adverts displayed on job boards, in newspapers and in social media detail only the duties of the job and the skills and experience required. You want your ideal candidate to be inspired and excited to choose your job to apply to, above all the hundreds of other jobs on offer.
The following guide will help you get the best from your advertising.
Use a common job title and avoid internalisms that no-one outside of your company will understand. To you they may be a ‘Customer Experience Executive’ but to most people, that’s an Account Manager.
99% of jobs are online, which means they can be found using search tools. An account manager is going to search for ‘Account Manager Jobs’ and never see the one entitled ‘Customer Experience Executive’.
Every advertisement tells a story of some sort, whether it is informing, educating or entertaining.
This challenge sounds more difficult than it is. All you are doing is selling your company and the opportunity you are proposing. Inform the candidates of the background to your company and its success, how they will add to that success and what they will get from the job. You will have told a great story without even realising it.
When you write ‘you’, the reader thinks ‘me’. This simple linguistic device creates engagement at first contact.
Consider which has more appeal:
The successful candidate will be working in a state of the art facility with their own plush office.
You will be working in a state of the art facility with your own plush office.
By picturing themselves in the job, there is a much better chance of the jobseeker applying.
It’s commonly believed that by using less popular words and long, complicated sentences you are implying a level of intelligence, formality or status. Not in the world of communication.
The golden rule of advertising writing is to keep it simple. Your main goal is to get your message across to the reader as quickly and easily as possible, they won’t afford you a second read. Simple words are easy to understand. Short sentences are easy to digest. Some add impact.
There are some details of the job specification that will be useful for selecting the right candidates for interview, but not necessary for the job ad. For example, you should have detailed every aspect of the job role in your specification, so the applicants have a solid understanding of what the job will entail. However, the minor duties and unessential skills are not necessary for the advertisement. Yes, you want to let them know what’s involved in the job and what you require of them, but that’s only part of the whole picture.
Your aim is to produce an ad as short as possible, but with all the crucial information in it. Mentioning you’d like a ‘good communicator’ or someone who is a ‘team player’ will not help you shortlist candidates; you can analyse these attributes at the screening process. Review and omit any skills or requirements that are obvious for that role, such as excel experience for a finance professional. They are just making your ad longer than it needs to be. However, include the skills, qualifications and experience that are absolutely essential, as well as the ones that are unusual.
You want to attract the right candidates and dissuade the unsuitable ones. Use the first paragraph to tell the reader what’s the most important thing you want your successful hire to do in the job.
“Increase turnover by 60% in the first two years”
“Implement a cutting edge system in six months”
“Manage the overall operations of the manufacturing plant”
In our SME report, Resourcing For Growth, we asked 563 small and medium enterprises what would attract someone to their company.
We didn’t get a definitive answer for all SMEs, that’s not possible. However we did get a full range of reasons from ‘family friendly atmosphere’, through ‘lean processes’ to ‘fast paced meritocracy’, to name but a few. Click here for the full range and choose what fits your company culture.
Telling candidates what their day-to-day job duties will be, will not sell the job. And not selling the job will make it very difficult, if not impossible, to attract the discerning, skilled candidates that are sought after by other companies. Talk about the interesting aspects of the job, the big projects, the team they will work in and the opportunities for development.
We’ve advised you not to list every single job duty on your ad because you need to keep it as concise as possible. However, if there are any benefits to doing this job, we would recommend listing the whole lot. Remember you are selling the job so you need to tell the best candidates what they are going to get in return for working at your company.
As we mentioned in the job specification section you don’t need to worry if you don’t offer tangible benefits like the large companies, you are wanting to attract the individuals that would flourish in a smaller environment so you should sell the benefits of working in a SME.
As we mentioned previously, you are trying to persuade someone to apply for your job, to do that you need to sell it to them. You draw them in with a compelling introduction, you sell the company, you sell the job and you promote the benefits. You shouldn’t ignore the opportunity of one last sales pitch in the final paragraph or sentence where you have your call to action:
If you think you have the tenacity to take this company to the next level, send me your CV now.
Now you’ve finished your ad, put yourself in the shoes of your ideal candidate and ask “Why would they apply for this job?” “Why would someone leave their current role to work in this role?” If it doesn’t appeal to you, it won’t appeal to jobseekers.
It might seem like both these documents are the same. However, even if you take the time to produce an excellent job specification, it won’t be as persuasive as a job ad. Firstly, it will most likely be longer, as it should include all the details of the job. Secondly, it will read more like a list than compelling reasons to join your company.
It is very easy to make a mistake when writing a document. Your recruitment ad represents the person who is the point of contact for the ad and the company as a whole. Any mistakes can reflect badly on both and deter potential candidates. As well as using spell check on your PC, print the document to review and get one of your colleagues to proof it for you. The extra diligence could avoid embarrassment.
Head of Finance €75,000
Your job will be easier to find if it has a commonly searched job title. So use a popular job title and avoid ‘internalisms’.
By stating the salary you stand a much better chance of a response
Are you a senior finance professional who could increase a business’ turnover by 200% in three years? If that challenge excites you, we should talk. You want to try and draw people into the ad from the job title
Craftey is a tech start-up which provides an app for consumers to learn about, source and track beer. We are one of the fastest growing start-ups in Ireland and we want you to make a major contribution to our growth objective. This gives a brief description of the company and makes it sound exciting
Managing a team of five Detailing the team is useful for the candidate , you will inspire and lead by example by bringing strong commercial acumen to the table and supporting the growth of business income. Note how the use of second person ‘you’ makes the ad more appealing. Again use adjectives to describe the type of person you want You’ll play a key role on the management board, providing support to the Managing Director and motivating the whole team.
Experience in the drinks trade or tech start-ups would be a key asset. You’ll be responsible for the budgeting and forecasting, reviewing performance against targets and analysing various trends whilst also seeking and presenting potential solutions where appropriate. Consider how to detail the job duties without bullet points
What we offer in return is a fantastic, supportive working environment that’s been awarded ‘Best Workplace’ by the Great Place to Work institution for two years in a row. Working environment is very important so mention it first You will have a key role in growing the company through your strategic input. This might not seem like a benefit but an ambitious individual would be thrilled by this challenge You will also receive a company pension, healthcare, 25 days holiday, life assurance, travel discounts, gym membership, discounted beer and beer tasting Fridays. Listing all the benefits looks impressive
If you’d relish the opportunity to drive Craftey to be one of the most successful indigenous Irish tech companies in the history of the state, please send your CV to One final sales push in the call to action firstname.lastname@example.org or call me on 01 847 4191 to discuss this brilliant role in more detail.