How effective are your job ads?

If you’ve ever written more than a few job ads for your business, you may find that after awhile they can start to sound the same and you could fall into the trap of developing a template that you continually roll out without thinking about the content. Once that happens you lose engagement from your audience and if you want to attract the kind of talent your business needs, your ads need to be punchy, detailed and stand out from the competition.

The key thing to include in a winning job ad is detail. Anyone can write a generic, run of the mill advert that talks about being a team player, entrepreneurial and hitting the ground running but who is that really appealing to? If you operate in a candidate lead market space where there’s fierce competition for talent, you need to sell the opportunity and business in three-dimensional way so candidates can already start to imagine themselves in the role when reading the ad.

Run through the checklist below and see how your current adverts stack up.

Job advert checklist

1. Job title

This is very important to get right and should be given sufficient consideration. I get clients in startups calling and asking for things like a CTO, when in fact, once we drill down on the requirements, it’s really a Head of Engineering they’re looking for. However, if you advertise a CTO role, guess what? You’ll get CTO’s applying looking for the associated salary and responsibilities that go along with that title. If in doubt, always downgrade the title as it then leaves you somewhere to go when you get to promotions and salary reviews and will attract ambitious individuals if you get the responsibilities right.

2. The role

Include as much detail as you can about what’s required and what the post-holder will be doing on a day-to-day basis. People need to be able to picture themselves in a role to know if it’s something they want to do. Also, take a moment to think of all the variety the role offers and make sure you include that. You may be recruiting a Head of Sales but if they’re going to get involved with the marketing guys and feeding back to the product team, include those details and suddenly you’ve got a lot fuller, and more interesting, representation of the role that will set it apart from all the generic ads out there.

3. The environment/culture

What’s it really like to work for your business? Is it a collaborative environment, small team, large office spread over a few floors, do you have a remote workforce? Paint a picture of who their colleagues will be and how they work to really get engagement from candidates. Some things may seem small to you like Friday beers and pizza in the office or the annual works trip, but these are things that help build a culture, team spirit and bonds between your team, and new employees want to know about that.

What’s it really like to work for your business? Is it a collaborative environment, small team, large office spread over a few floors, do you have a remote workforce? Paint a picture of who their colleagues will be and how they work to really get engagement from candidates. Some things may seem small to you like Friday beers and pizza in the office or the annual works trip, but these are things that help build a culture, team spirit and bonds between your team, and new employees want to know about that.

4. Future opportunities

Whilst the focus should be on the role you need someone to do in the here and now, where will that role lead to in 1-3-5 years’ time? Include a sentence or two on future prospects or even what a previous post-holder has gone on to do within your business so candidates can see that the role also offers future development for them.

5. The reward

Personally, I don’t believe in including the full remuneration package in detail as it could put off that star candidate you’ve been searching for. How often have you recruited someone where you needed to negotiate on the final package in some way to get them across the line? This could be anything from an extra few thousand in the basic salary or equity options, to extra holiday or flexible working arrangements that cost you nothing and maybe even realise savings for the business in resources. However, prospective candidates won’t assume you’re open you are to negotiation and may pass your role by for another that promises those extras they’re looking for. Simply stating a competitive basic salary and extra benefits should be enough if you’ve truly engaged people with the rest of your content.