Getting your job advert right from the word go will speed up the recruitment process, save you time and money in the long run and could make the difference between attracting the right quality of candidates or being bombarded with a load of irrelevant applications.
Here are our top tips about everything you should consider when it comes to writing your job adverts. We share advice on structure and the type of information you should be including in your job adverts - and explain why this is all so important to ensure a high-quality recruitment process.
Structuring a job advert
While you may think being creative with a job advert will produce better results, that’s not the best approach to take. It’s better to follow a clear format and remember that most job seekers will be reading job adverts on their mobile devices, so keep it succinct and clearly laid out.
Think very carefully about the information you want to include in the advert. Don’t be tempted to include every last bit of detail from the job description. You can add that information to the application pack but the advert itself only needs to focus on the absolutely essential duties and requirements. It needs to bring the opportunity to life and give the job seeker enough information to encourage them to want to know more.
Help potential applicants make informed decisions when reading your job advert by including the following information:
A short enticing company biography
Your employee value proposition (EVP)
An outline of the role and responsibilities
The essential requirements (experience, qualifications, skills)
Salary and benefits
Choosing the most effective job title for your job advert
If a job seeker doesn’t understand the job title, the chances are they are not going to read your advert or ultimately apply for your job.
So while the job title might not seem to be one of the most important considerations, it’s actually one of the most vital. Think of it as the gateway to ensuring the right people are uncovering your job advert.
Even if you plan to call it something different within your organisation, you do need to consider the job titles your target audience are likely to be searching for on the job boards, and whether there could be a mismatch. Generic job titles will get you better results. If your job title contains common phrases and keywords associated with the type of work, your advert is far more likely to be found in searches amongst the many other jobs listed, and gain interest from relevant candidates.
Always ask yourself these very important questions: “Will job seekers be typing the job title I'm using into a search box? And what might their current job title be?”
To rank well in search results, the job title needs to be no more than three or four words and ideally laid out in the way a candidate is likely to search i.e. if you are looking for customer service skills, use ‘Customer Service Advisor’ rather than ‘Call Handler.’
Showcasing your company and what makes you an employer of choice…
This is your opportunity to really shout about your company and what makes it such a great place to work.
Spend time identifying your company’s employee value proposition and encourage candidates to apply by emphasising all the positives about becoming part of your organisation. Employees want to feel engaged and valued in the workplace, so make sure you’re showcasing the ways in which your organisation does this. Your culture and purpose might be the very things that make a candidate apply for your organisation over one of your competitors.
Which duties and requirements should be listed in a job advert?
We’ve said it earlier but we will say it again because it is so important - do not include every duty and responsibility of the role!
Focus only on the key ones. And take the same approach when it comes to listing the requirements you are looking for from an individual. Think about the essential experience you require, and include only that, highlighting the core skills they need to do the job. If a certain qualification is only desirable, does really it need to be in the advert? It may deter people from applying who otherwise have an abundance of relevant experience.
So carefully consider the experience, qualifications and skills you’re looking for and always question whether they are absolutely essential to the role from the outset before including them in the job advert. Changes to the advert content part way through an advertising campaign are unlikely to be seen by job seekers who have already dismissed it.
Should you include a salary in a job advert?
Some organisations decide against including a salary in their job adverts. But only do this if you really have no choice because it could potentially eliminate a lot of candidates – it’s a fundamental piece of information they’ll want to know before applying for the role. Recent research from Gartner found that 68% of candidates expect to see salary information in job postings. 64% of candidates are more likely to apply for a job that lists a salary – and 44% of candidates would not apply for a job specifically because the advert didn’t include salary information.
Do your research, have a look at salaries for similar roles within your location and industry and make sure your salary is competitive to attract the right people – your competitor’s job advert is only one click away! And once you have caught their eye with the headline salary, build on that by listing the range of benefits and what’s in it for them. Remember to include pension scheme details, annual leave entitlement, whether they will receive any bonuses and any other appealing points such as career progression opportunities and training available.
Optimise your job advert
SEO is so important when it comes to writing your job advert. You don’t need to be an SEO expert to get it right – take the same approach that you did when thinking about the job title and consider what are the keywords the jobseekers who you want to see your advert are likely to be using.
For example, if you are looking for a Business Development Manager, check how many times you have included not only the phrase ‘Business Development Manager’ but related words like ‘Sales’ in the body of the job advert. This will ensure job seekers who are searching the job boards using the keyword ‘Sales’ see your advert too, as well as those using the keywords ‘Business Development Manager’.
Aim to include keywords in the body of the advert around four to eight times. But be careful not to overdo it, as the job boards may see it as spamming which can negatively impact your job advert.
Effective recruitment starts with your job advert
Investing the time and energy into getting your job advert right from the outset will improve the quality of response you get – and that will greatly increase the likelihood of the advert resulting in a positive outcome.