Job adverts are like any advert: you want results. With a job advert, you’re looking to gain a serious response that leads to applications from good, suitable candidates who ultimately go on to spend a long and productive time in their placed role. You want to choose among suitable applicants; a person who fits into the company culture, or at least complements it. You want a candidate who ticks all the boxes, and for whom the day-to-day reality of the job is not a mismatch with the expectations created by the job advert. Your job advert should therefore accurately detail the job and the company, and sell both. And it should be pitched so the response is valid, genuine, and appropriate, gaining interest from a wide pool of potential candidates. Whether you’re a recruiter or direct hirer, there are three overriding tenets: be concise, be accurate, and ensure the advert can be found.
Remember that job titles will be used in the job’s page title, and as such carry a lot of weight in the ability of the page to be found. Your job will be listed on a job board like Zoek and be found via a search, but it will also be a stand-alone page somewhere on the Interweb. Give it every chance to be found. In addition to being listed and searched on this field, candidates who have set up job searches with criteria matching the job title will be notified by email or through the app when your job is listed – so our advice would be keep it simple, stupid. While it’s tempting to stuff the Job Title it with what you might think is ‘relevant’ information like salary and location, it needs to be concise – there are other fields that are for that purpose. What’s the job title? Giraffe Milker? Good, leave it at that; the Job Description will elaborate.
If you need to refer to Location in the main job description, use a synonym, region or county. For example, if the job location is defined as Winter-fell, it would make sense to work the region, Westeros, into the Job Description.
Specify a Salary
‘Salary commensurate with experience’, ‘salary negotiable’ or ‘competitive salary’ is not useful. You want to attract suitable candidates, and weed out unsuitable ones – and suitability goes to pay. If you don’t specify it, expect a lot of candidates who will apply but aren’t a good match for salary – and it’s going to be your time it takes to discover this. Or you can expect to miss out on other candidates who are rightfully wary of a job that doesn’t at least carry a salary range. In fact, on Zoek we see a minimum uplift of 12.5% in application rates for jobs where the salary is published.
Sell the company
What benefits are there in working for the company? Is it the company size, the office facilities, the social life? What does the company offer a candidate on top of the base salary? And what are good candidates looking for to close the deal?
Sell the job
A detailed job spec is necessary, but it’s a balancing act – you certainly don’t need to detail every aspect of the job, and you should certainly omit the generic such as ‘any other duties’. Again, keep it simple: summarize the job description, don’t put in all in (especially if it’s a long one). It’s an advert – aimed at tempting applications from suitable candidates. Save the whole works for the next phase – the initial or telephone interview.
You might have internal job title but does the rest of the world know exactly what the job is? Does the job have alternative titles? Name and describe the job the way the outside world does. Think like a candidate would – what would they search for? Work synonyms into the job description, and spell out abbreviations.
Think like a candidate
It’s worth labouring this point. Write the ad that engages with the candidate in terms they would understand. Know your audience!
Research the role
Sounds strange, but let’s face it, you are competing with other employers or agencies for the best candidates. What does a job advert for a comparable candidate and company look like? You’re up against that company and that candidate; give yourself a competitive edge by doing a little bit of ‘espionage’.
Check and re-check the advert. Then let someone else read it. Candidates get slated for sloppy spelling, clichés and poor grammar; make sure you don’t fail that test too. All the reasons that would put you off a candidate are things you should avoid too. While there’s no doubt using a smart job search board like Zoek will greatly increase your chances of finding a better candidate, you can help the process with a well-crafted advert.