5 Tips for Writing a Great Job Advert
Let’s face it, writing great job adverts is not the most fun part of any recruiters job. In fact after spending 15 years working in the sector it still remains the most frequently avoided task when I quiz recruiters – even more so than business development calls. Why is this? Well it boils down to a number of factors including – time (there are of course placement targets), Admin (the bane of many a sales person’s life), and not knowing enough about the company to truly sell the opportunity.
Let’s face it, writing great job adverts is not the most fun part of any recruiters job. In fact after spending 15 years working in the sector it still remains the most frequently avoided task when I quiz recruiters – even more so than business development calls. Why is this? Well it boils down to a number of factors including – time (there are of course placement targets), Admin (the bane of many a sales person’s life), and not knowing enough about the company to truly sell the opportunity. However a well prepared and well written job advert can massively effect and improve the quality and relevance of applicants received. Spending some quality time to really think about what can attract that “ideal” candidate will reap rewards in the long run. Here are 5 tips that will help your job adverts stand out from the crowd.
1 – A Job Description / Job Specification is NOT a Job Advert
The wonderful world of copy & paste has in many circumstances taken away our creative thinking. Too often I see JDs / Specs copied into the advert and posted as if to clearly send the message – I can’t be bothered to think about the advert. In most cases a JD is an internal document written by HR to explain the duties and responsibilities of the role. It’s a functional piece of text that all too often will cause the eyes to glaze over. Although these duties are obviously of paramount importance to actually being able to fulfil the role – it’s not going to excite a potential superstar. You wouldn’t sell your car with an advert explaining that “when you turn the key the engine starts…. Or when you press the accelerator the car will move”….. I don’t know if anyone has ever sold a car by copy & pasting a Haynes manual into the advert. You’d use phrases such as “Immaculate condition, great driving experience” etc – you would actually sell the benefits of your car over the many others of a similar kind on offer.
The same goes for writing a great job advert. Look at what the competition are saying in their adverts, imagine the kind of things that would grab your attention if you had 20 seconds to read an advert.
Like all sales people will have an elevator pitch – think of a similar model for your first intro to the job. i.e. “ We are one of the fastest growing companies in our sector with a unique product offering and backed by some of the UK’s biggest investors” I guarantee you will want to read more than if you started with ” You will be required to work 40 hours a week”……….
– Sell the Opportunity
Gone are the days of dozens of candidates queuing up at your door desperate to work for you and those that do may not be the superstar you are looking for. The need to ‘sell’ the opportunity has never been more important. The best candidates are usually gainfully employed so what reason(s) are there for that person to leave where they are and join you. Therefore what are the selling points you have that will compel the candidates to take up a role with you? This won’t just be the salary as that is a given, although you do need to be competitive in a candidate short market. Work/life balance, flexible working, work place perks and career development all rank highly for candidates considering an opportunity. Things you must get right to effectively sell the opportunity to a candidate. These include understanding what you’re selling so that you can clearly communicate it. Make sure the candidate is fully clear on what THEY will gain and don’t just talk, but show.
3 – Sell the company
At a recent conference on this topic we discussed one of the most successful ad responses for a well-known tech business (which is a hugely competitive market) which started the advert with – “do you want free breakfast on a Monday and free beer on a Friday?” EVP
What sets you apart and why is it a great place to work? Ensure the candidate knows the corporate culture so you both know if it is a culture fit too. Neither party want to make a mistake on where your values and culture lie as this won’t make a successful long term relationship.
4 – Get to the point (less is often more)
Writing a War & Peace length advert is not going to work. The average attention span for the famously forgetful goldfish is nine seconds, but according to a 2015 study from Microsoft Corp., people now generally lose concentration after eight seconds which demonstrates the effect of our increasingly digital lifestyle. With the majority of job applications now being made using mobile devices the need to quickly attract and engage is crucial. Make it exciting, make it relevant and make it snappy.
5 – Include the full package details
This can sometimes be the most challenging part of a great job advert – especially when a company is hiring directly. I’ve had countless conversations over the years about “should we, shouldn’t we” when it comes to including package details. Whilst I appreciate that sometimes due to the sensitive nature of discussing salary in public it is not possible to advertise an exact figure and some companies have a policy of not advertising salaries, my recommendation if you can then do it. Although we have discussed the clear benefits of an EVP previously people will still be attracted to a comprehensive package but perhaps more importantly without any package details advertised at all you run the risks of losing a potential superstar. A lot of research and my own experiences show that job adverts with clear and comprehensive package details receive more relevant applicants than similar roles that do not.
Hopefully you have found this helpful.