The Nitty Gritty Guide to Writing the Best Job Ads

June 21, 2016

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Building better job ads for mobile

31% of midsize businesses devote more than a third of their recruitment budget to job boards. That means, the companies with some of the greatest hiring challenges are turning to these avenues to find their next great hire. Midsize or not, chances are your company is allocating at least some of your hiring dollars to online job boards and career site postings.

If you’re hoping to make the most of every cent, you will need to understand what it takes to create an amazing job advertisement. Luckily for you, we’ve dissected the how to write the perfect one so you can rest assured that your heard-earned recruitment marketing spend is working for you.

Choose an Obvious Title

Be clear and concise with the job you are hiring for. Don’t worry, you will have a place to spread your creative wings, but the title isn’t the place to do it. It’s important your dream candidate can find your posting and in order for that to happen the title will need to reflect a position they might type within a search bar. Your off-the-wall, one-of-a-kind title that only your team has heard before will never be it. Even if your titles are boring “Security Analyst II” you need to figure out if that makes any sense for the jobseeker. If not, adjust to simply “Experienced Security Analyst” or “Mid-Level Security Analyst”. This is important for SEO and for any aggregators who may scoop up your jobs.  

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How to create titles for your job ads that candidates will actually search:


Read more on recruiting high performers.

Get to the Point in the Description

That’s right, after the title and location (a must), get to the point. There’s no reason to be confused: job seekers are looking for jobs and you’re looking for applicants, and both parties are aware of the other’s motive.

On average, most companies use the job advertisement to talk up their company and accomplishments which leads to long, drawn-out descriptions with too much information. One survey found that 80% of job seekers actively use career sites to find information on a potential employer and 32% turn to social media. That means your applicants are doing just fine researching company reputation and history without you spelling it out.

CC-Click-ToTweetBird-01.png 80% of job seekers use career sites to find info about potential employers and only 32% use social. 

Stick to one or two sentences about your company: one that explains your work and one that touches on why you make an amazing employer. Either use links to your career site to offer more information about the company OR use anchor text to keep the JOB advertisement at the top. Think about it. A car dealer doesn’t talk as much about the dealership as much as promote the specific make and model of a car or financial details of a certain lease. Do the same with your jobs. You’re selling a lifestyle change just as the dealer is.

Move on to what the position entails.

Again, don’t get too long winded, but this should be the main focus of your description so go into some detail. You can see below that we described the person we think would work best within our Marketing Specialist position, including the environment they will need to be able to adapt to working within (outlined in orange). Notice also how we only talked about ourselves for the first two sentences. We then turned the mirror back around on who would be a great fit before moving toward the actual position looks like. This is important to a jobseeker so don’t skip it!

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Is your application process killing you? Check out common hiring mistakes.

Breakdown the Job in Bullets

Transparency is very important to today’s workforce and to the success of your hires. Candidates are interested in what your company stands for as well as what they will be expected to do if they should take a position with your team. If they accept a position and realize the everyday tasks aren’t aligning with their initial impression, they could very well be on their way out. To counter that risk, point blank explain the job duties and expectations. Because this is often an overwhelming list, stick to highlighting 4 to 6 of the main/daily tasks and placing them in a bulleted list for ease of reading. For example, here are ours:

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Leave the percentages of standing, sitting and regular stuff that every job needs (who DOESN’T have to type in an office these days) off unless required by law. The goal is to show your prospects what their days will look like. You can’t do that with a laundry list of to-do’s. But you can’t do it by avoiding what their tasks will be either.

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Include 4-6 daily tasks in your job ads like this to maintain transparency:

 

Streamline the Qualifications

By this point, the job seeker has an idea of who you are and what it is the job you are hiring for entails. If they are still reading, they have begun to envision themselves within the role. They probably have checked out your social pages and clicked around your website to get a feel for the culture. The next part of your job ad will solidify their feelings: the desired candidate. After seeing the title, some candidates scroll immediately to the qualifications section, so be sure to take time in crafting what it is the job actually requires and what would be a “nice-to-have” so as not to turn away a great fit. In fact, we make two sections, giving our qualifications (What We Want You To Be) it’s own list, so our “nice-to-haves” (What Would Be Even Better) are clearly separated.

Tip: Don’t go too far on your additional desired experience/skills. It’s okay to point out the tools you use or industry you’re in with hopes of finding candidates who have built in knowledge, but the more you add, the more likely you are to scare away amazing applicants.

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 Don't include too much in your job ads and scare off all the amazing candidates. Try this instead:


Did you know revamping your job ads could help better align organizational goals?


A staggering 61% of employees say new job realities differ from expectations set during the interview process, which means companies are making communication errors in the hiring process. The job ad, when given ample time and energy, can be the window into your company new hires need to be successful, engaged employees. There are other reasons to make sure your qualifications are streamlined. For one, women (in general) don’t apply to jobs they don’t feel 100% qualified for, so by reducing the number of qualifications you list as “must-have” you could be opening the doors for a slew of qualified candidates who might have otherwise passed. Another key reason to give a lengthy qualification list the boot is because many people are bypassing the degree requirement altogether (and they find it’s working).

Tip: Run your job ad througha tool like Text.io to see if you are unwittingly shooting yourself in the foot with phrases like ambitious or “hit the ground running”.

Don’t forget the CTA

We spend so much time crafting a job ad, sometimes we forget the AD part. For every advertisement, you need a call to action. Sometimes it’s subtle, occasionally it’s tough (think Google puzzles) but most often it’s somewhere in the middle. A clear, obvious set of directions for the job seeker to follow. You tell them what to do, you tell them where to do it and you tell them the time frame required.

Do you have a recipe for building the perfect job ad? What did we forget?

Of course, if you write the perfect job ad, you’ll need a powerful applicant tracking system to keep all your applicants organized while you recruit. Don’t have one that’s meeting your needs? Learn more about how you can get two months of free sourcing in addition to an award-winning applicant tracking system!

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Sara Pollock
Sara Pollock
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As the head of the Marketing department, Sara drives revenue by increasing demand for ClearCompany's Talent Management Software. Sara drives the strategic direction of all inbound & outbound activities; managing lead generation efforts, messaging and branding tactics, and agency & vendor relationships.

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