A job advert is a reflection of who you are as a business person and a company. A great one says that you know what you’re doing, you understand the type of people you want to hire, and you’re willing to make a real effort to make the right hire. A bad one says that you just want the position filled with as little fuss as possible. It’s not hard to see why top talent are very selective when it comes to picking which adverts they want to respond to.
So, let’s start with the basics. A good job advert should include:
- A brief, general paragraph about the job and the company
- A brief description of what the job specifically entails
- A brief description of what experience or personality traits you’re looking for in an applicant
- A description of any benefits included with the job.
- No obvious spelling, formatting or grammatical mistakes
- The pay range for the job
That last one can be a little contentious but it’s one of the primary complaints that most applicants have about bad ads. Most see job ads without at least a broad pay range as thinly veiled attempts to pay them as little as possible, not the impression you want to leave with a potential employee.
Every job application spins the truth a little bit, just like every CV tends to somewhat aggrandise the person it's written about. That’s fine, but it’s vital to still be realistic about the role and what it entails. Misrepresenting what life will be like working for you is just going to lead to disgruntled employees down the road, and will likely lead to them leaving or becoming disruptive. The cost of a bad hire is estimated to be in the tens of thousands. Being upfront about the reality of the job won’t just save you time, it’ll save you money.
Your company is (hopefully) a place where people feel appreciated and don’t dread coming into work every day. You likely have an aspect of your company that makes it special, so let that shine in your ad. If you have a strong team dynamic and socialise together, let people know. Give your employees relatively flexible hours? Great. work-life balance is a huge priority to 42% of applicants. If you have amazing benefits, shout all about them. Even a nice bowl of free fruit in the break room can help you stand out.
Match the tone of your ad to the tone of your company. If you’re very serious, professional and earnest, let it reflect in your copy. Likewise, if you’re more laidback and a bit more creative. This helps give candidates an impression of who you are and how you operate, making it more likely that you’ll get someone that’s a fit for your workplace culture. A quick note on creative job ads, an interesting job ad does not have to be wacky. You don’t have to call your employees “code ninjas” or “laundry wizards”. In fact, almost everyone would prefer if you didn’t.
If you’re using an integrated sifting program or other hiring software, it’s vital to choose something that’s very user-friendly. There’s an odd sentiment that truly dedicated applicants will happily retype their entire CV into 30 boxes but in reality it tends to cull the amount of top talent that will actually apply for the role. It’s nothing to do with dedication and everything to do with irritation: if you’re going to be a nuisance to them before they’ve even applied, it doesn’t bode well for your demands once they’re employed.