26 May 2022

How to write a good job advert

Take a quick look online and you will find plenty of guides on how to write the perfect cv or covering letter, to help candidates land that dream job. But what about employers? We might think that young grads and job movers are so excited to find a new job that we don’t need to really think through our job ads, but this isn’t the case. In fact, in our experience, good job ads result in great hires.

The better your job advert is the more applications you will get, increasing your chances of finding that ideal candidate. Send out a poorly thought-out ad and you decrease the size of the talent pool from which you can draw it’s that simple.

So, what exactly does a good job ad need to have?

Give an outline of the organisation and how it relates to the role

Candidates can be instantly turned off from applying for the role if they can’t find out much information about the actual organisation. It just seems a little… shady, like you’re trying to hide something. So, give lots of details about the company, what you do as well as its history.

Candidates don’t want to apply for a job they don’t think will ultimately fit them, and you don’t want to employ anyone who isn’t a fit for you. So, giving this detail is mutually beneficial.

Give lots of detail about how the job relates to the overall structure of what the company does as a whole. Becka Edwards at Hunter adds “Where does the role sit within the organisation? Putting key information like this into a job spec is very beneficial for a lot of candidates – team size, who the role reports to, and departments they’ll be working in. This can make all the difference.”

Be concise and to the point

While you might think an important role requires a weighty job description this isn’t always true. Hunter’s Alex MacDermott, says “Make sure you don’t waffle. 40% of candidates view job adverts on a mobile device. One line of text on a desktop equals 6 lines of text on a mobile!”

The secret is to get all of the relevant information on the page and to avoid everything else, busy people looking for jobs don’t have time to read reams and reams before they apply.

Provide an honest job description

Be 100% truthful about what a typical day in the job will be like. Many employers often jazz up how exciting a role will be: overestimating how much time will be spent doing the so-called fun jobs and downplaying the amount of time doing more run of the mill things.

The trouble is if a candidate feels the job was miss-sold to them they probably won’t give their tasks their all, and will soon look for another role, leading to high staff turnover. Remember that recruitment costs far more than retention.

Talk about pay and details

Another bugbear of most job hunters is employers posting job adverts without any indication of their remuneration. Salary information is vitally important and jobs that include it get far more applications.

Matt Hayes reiterates this “Most importantly you should always display the salary and mention all the perks you can think of.”

This can be hard, especially if you’re recruiting for a role with a salary which will vary a lot depending on experience, but Emma Hardman says “If writing the advert to attract all level ranges, put a wide salary bracket on the advert to attract junior & more experienced applications” This way you don’t preclude anyone while still providing the necessary info.

Don’t forget your key requirements

Lastly and most importantly, don’t forget to include your key requirements. If you’re looking for someone with a master’s degree then make sure you include this information. Failing to do so will result in you having to trawl through hundreds of applications of people without the right experience for the job, which is a waste of everyone’s time.

Some employers avoid revealing their key requirements in case it prevents an exceptional candidate lacking one core requirement from applying, who would actually get the role if they did apply. However, in these cases what’s more likely to happen is an exceptional candidate who lacks one requirement will still apply if they think they’re truly the best person for the job.

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