How do you write a job advert? Many Hiring Managers and Business Owners write job ads every single day. But how many of them are effective?
You may think poor-quality job adverts are something only a new, inexperienced business owner would make. But you’d be wrong – because we see mistakes even from global corporations.
So, the question is, how do you write an effective job ad? A advert that gives you the best possible chance of success, that gets seen and gets responses.
Though it might depend on what industry you’re in – here at occy, we’ve tried and tested over the years and found there are, in fact, a few things you need to be doing to write an effective job ad. These are things that no matter what industry, location, or seniority level, will get you results.
So where do you start?
Make sure the job title is accurate
Every job post has to start with a job title. So, before you write the ad, make sure you (and anyone else who has a say) determine exactly what that job title should be.
Make sure you decide on a universally known job title. The title is one of the first things applicants search for. As such, your job title must include relevant keywords.
So, if you’re looking to hire a ‘Video Editor’, be clear and specify the keyword ‘Video’. If you simply list your vacancy as ‘Editor’ or ‘Final Cut Pro Genius’, you’re increasing the likelihood of getting less responses.
It’s also important then to remember that you should avoid using internal job titles, and stick to universally known titles, e.g., Website Manager instead of ‘Digital Overlord’.
If you’re unsure, it’s always best to research the job market and pay attention to how competitors are wording their job ads, as well as testing what gets the more relevant responses before making any final decisions.
Make sure once you decide on a job title it’s repeated at least 3-5 times. Remember, when repeating the job title 3-5 times, it’s important to use it naturally and not force it – otherwise, the job board might penalise you.
Write Internal Job Descriptions in Your Job Ad
Even if it’s only for internal use, it’s important to have a clear and concise job description. Besides describing the position and responsibilities (and how they fit in the team), it also makes you and everyone else aware of it.
By doing this, you can define progression opportunities and measure the new employee’s performance. Without the job description, this is much harder to do.
It will also help in drawing up the employee’s contract and assigning who they’ll be answering to and who they may be responsible for.
Next time you write a job ad, try writing an internal job description. See it as a warm-up before you post the real thing, the same way you may do practice interviews before interviewing a real candidate.
Sell Yourselves…and Your Company
This is where the previous step will come in handy. Now you’re armed with a detailed job description for your own internal benefit, you can focus on converting that information into a job ad, which you can then post on advertising channels.
Candidates should know or be able to get a feel of your employer branding, perks, and benefits of working for you. From there, you can begin to sell what’s exciting about the role, and how they might be able to progress.
Look at the two images below. Which company would you rather work for?
It’s important here to be as snappy and concise as possible. On average, candidates browse job posts for less than a minute, with a study by ladders showing that most of them only look at the top of the job post.
That means you only have a short window to hook and interest them before they keep scrolling.
For that reason, our results show the best-performing job ads have a word count between 400 – 500 words.
Optimise Your Job Ad and Post Wisely
Given the fact most candidates don’t scroll past the first page, you’re going to want to get your job ad on the first page of any job board.
To do that, you need to optimise it with relevant keywords that a candidate is likely to search. You should then try and use this keyword in the title, along with related or similar terms throughout the post.
Make sure your spelling and grammar is correct and the job location and closing date are all mentioned in the ad.
It’s important to note here that in a post-pandemic world, work from home jobs increased by 300%. In the US for example, 1 in every 4 jobs is already fully remote.
Even if that might not be an option for your company, it’s important to note if it’s remote, hybrid, or fully on-site, in which case a location is important. That way you’re not getting applications from candidates who are out of commuting range.
With that in mind, you should then begin to think about what boards you would want to post to. You can of course test and research platforms individually, or start by using two or three. Or, another option would be to use a candidate-sourcing software platform.
Essential & Desirable Criteria
In recent years, statistics emerged stating that if a woman doesn’t fit 100% of the essential & desirable criteria – she won’t apply. The same wasn’t true for men – who apply after only meeting around 60% of the criteria.
So, it’s important to keep the essential & desirable section concise. We’ve found that anything more than 6 bullet points tends to reduce application numbers and more importantly reduces applications from diverse candidates.
If creating a diverse workforce is a priority (and it should be) then you’re going to want to keep these sections between 4-6 bullet points each.
At occy, our copywriting team can help go over this section, check that everything is relevant, and remove anything that isn’t.
You may think adding a DE&I section to your job ad may not make much of a difference. But it does. Adding a DE&I section can significantly increase applications.
76% of jobseekers say diversity is an important factor when deciding on whether to apply for a job. On top of that, 86% of applicants feel it’s important for a company’s values to align with their own.
Below is an example of a DE&I statement from a job ad by the Red Cross.
“At the British Red Cross, we take inclusion and diversity seriously. We know that getting this right is critical for us to live our organisation’s values: dynamic, courageous, compassionate and inclusive.
We are always trying to improve our way of working to be more inclusive and equal. Springing from our fundamental principles, this means that our organisation and the support we give to people in crisis should be impartial, neutral and universal.
We are an anti-racist organisation. Our vision is for the British Red Cross to be a place where people of all ethnicities feel welcomed to work, volunteer or seek help.”
That statement is powerful. Now a job seeker who values diversity might be torn between two very good jobs with equal pay. But let’s say one has a statement like the above, and the other doesn’t. Which one will receive an application from the job seeker?
Communicate your Hiring Process
Communicating your hiring process to applicants is a must. In one UK survey, 87.5% of applicants said they dropped out of an application because of ‘communication issues’.
To avoid that, outline what an applicant might expect after applying. You can do this with an autoresponder email that gets triggered when an application comes in.
Something simple like the below would be more than enough:
Guess what? Your CV made it! Granted, no one’s looked at it yet, this is just a quick automated message telling you that we have it!
We’ll review it as quick as we can, and if successful we’ll be contacting you in the next week to arrange an in-person interview. If you can’t meet in-person, we can accommodate via zoom. If you have any questions in the meantime, don’t hesitate to reach out.
At least here, an applicant is clear on the next steps and you won’t leave them guessing. Getting back to them quickly would still be in your interest but that’s a different topic that you can read about here.
A recruitment automation software like occy, can take care of auto-communication for you. The snippet below is an example of what occy can do. Write your message, and occy will fill in the name (to make it more personal) and send it as soon as an application triggers it.
By following all the points mentioned above, you’ll be sure to see an improvement in your application numbers.
To make things a little easier, we’ve put together a job advert writing checklist, so you can be sure not to miss any important points! Simply download right here on our website.