If we really stop to think about it, job ads are actually marketing tools. You have a product (the job), and you need to find the right people to express interest in it (top candidates). This means your ad needs to be focused and effective.
Consider which is in your best interest: Spending 30 minutes crafting a high-quality job ad that will attract quality talent and weed out the unqualified and unmotivated? Or spending hours combing through hundreds of generic applications from candidates who are unsuitable for your specific needs?
To create this highly-effective, results-oriented job ad, there are a few things you should keep in mind:
- Research postings in your field or for similar positions. Would you want to apply? What attracts you or turns you off about the ads? What could you do differently to make your ad stand out?
- Identify your target audience. Clearly define the scope of the position and the skills and traits you require. Then decide who might best fill these needs: Recent graduates who need to gain experience? Stay-at-home parents who want to work part time? Someone with over 10 years’ experience and a master’s degree? Gear your ad to the group(s) you’ve identified, and post where they are likely to see it.
- Pay attention to tone. The tone of your ad should reflect the tone of your organization. If you’re a creative agency, your ad should contain creative elements. If you’re business casual, your ad should have a conversational tone. If you’re highly formal, your ad should contain professional language and a crisp, no-nonsense writing style.
- Consider the persona you’re presenting. This is the first impression potential employees will have of your organization. Will they think you’re organized or a hot mess? Will they think you care about the details or just go through the motions? Will they see you as person-oriented or simply interested in getting the most out of employees for the least commitment on your part? Remember, they’re trying to decide if they’d like to work for you – and top candidates can afford to be more selective.
- Use “you”, not “the ideal candidate”. Addressing your ad directly to the reader automatically gives them a sense of investment and engagement. They begin to envision themselves in the role as they read. Try phrases such as “You will be responsible for…”, “You will find…”, “…during the course of your day”, “You possess…”.
- Explain the purpose behind the job. No one likes to do things just because they have to. Interest is engaged and ultimate productivity is higher when candidates and employees understand the why behind what they’re doing. Explain why this position is important to your organization. Describe the contribution your new hire will be able to make. Indicate what’s in it for the candidate, not just the company.
- Highlight challenges, not rewards. Using language that emphasizes challenges in the position and the impact of meeting those challenges will help attract candidates who are internally motivated and driven to succeed.
Tomorrow, we’ll finish up with final thoughts on what it takes to make a stellar job ad that brings the best candidates to your attention.