A Guide for Recruiters
8 Things Every Job Ad Should Have
In today’s battle for top talent, it’s harder than ever to reach and engage quality candidates. To attract the best of the best, your job ads must be catchy, easy to digest and sell not only the role but your organisation too.
Here are the 9 things every job ad should have, plus some effective real-life examples.
1. A straightforward title
Search algorithms pick up significant keywords, so keep them relevant; weak or meaningless descriptions — ‘Hero’ or ‘Ninja’ get passed over. Search tools don’t like shortenings or abbreviations, so write out ‘Senior’, not ‘Sr.’, ‘Vice President’ not ‘VP’, for the best search results. An internal job title may not be what the market calls it or how candidates search for it, so think more widely. And targeted titles are more effective than generic ones: spot the difference between ‘Marketing Manager’ and ‘Marketing Events Manager’.
2. A specific role description
If your description is too broad, everyone in the market will apply and you’ll be sifting through hundreds of the wrong kinds of CVs. However, a description that’s too prescriptive may deter great candidates from applying.
It’s a fact that men apply for jobs when they meet 60% of the criteria, but women apply only if they meet 100%.1 Clearly differentiate ‘must-have’ (minimum) and ‘nice-to-have’ (preferred) skills and qualifications and keep them short and simple.
3. An attention-grabbing intro
Want to land your company’s next star employee? Open the role description with an attention-grabbing first paragraph that speaks directly to the job seeker. What’s in it for them? This is your sales pitch to potential candidates; don’t fall into the trap of putting the ‘about us’ description first. Your opener should include three to five things that applicants will find exciting about the role (team, culture, challenges, goals) to hook them in, make them want to read the whole ad — then apply! Your company story can sit neatly on the end.
4. A clear offer
Job seekers take these five considerations into account:2
- salary and remuneration
- location and commute
- work-life balance
- career advancement opportunities
5. Your company story
Are you an established company with a long history and tradition? Or are you a young start-up with unicorn ambitions? A company story markets your brand and injects personality into the ad. In your ‘about us’ section, fly the flag for your organisation: who you are, where you’ve come from, and what makes you special. Brand really matters to job applicants: as review sites transformed how we choose restaurants and holidays, employer reviews really impact on how job seekers select companies. 83% of employees research company reviews and ratings when deciding on where to apply for a job4 — smart employers recognise this and engage accordingly.
6. Effective language and formatting
Although search engines love text, dense and lengthy paragraphs are off-putting to read. Break up the text and make it scannable using subheads and bullet points. Less is more, so make every word count. Keep language plain and simple; address ‘the ideal applicant’ as ‘you’ and avoid internal jargon and acronyms. When you copy and paste text, avoid formatting errors. Finally, get someone else to proofread it before you post it.
7. A simple application process
Great candidates don’t have time for complicated processes. Make applying simple and convenient via mobile, including a clear call-to-action button to your careers page, an applicant tracking system (ATS) or email. Don’t leave candidates wondering if their application reached you — direct them to a ‘thank you for your application’ screen or send them a confirmation email.
8. A strong evidence base
Are you an evidence-based recruiter? When you use comprehensive data analytics to understand the demographics of people engaging with your profile, see how you perform against competitors, track changes and watch improvements over time, you’ll be able to focus resources on what drives the most ideal candidates. With Glassdoor, you can monitor which of your jobs generate the most interest and which need more help to get noticed, who you’re attracting and how well these job searchers meet your hiring criteria.
- Harvard Business Review, Why Women Don’t Apply for Jobs Unless They’re 100% Qualified, August 2014
- Glassdoor Site Survey, August 2017
- Bersin by Deloitte, HR Technology in 2017: A Disruptive Year Ahead, October 2016
- Glassdoor, Harris Poll, April 2017
- Google Analytics, CQ1’19
- Glassdoor.co.uk U.K. Site Survey, August 2018
- Demographic information by Facebook and Google for those users who registered with Glassdoor using their Facebook or Google account