Top Tips for Writing a Winning Job Ad



Professional-Guides

Have you stopped to look at the sheer number of job ads being posted online?

Our recruitment industry is experiencing a high point – which is fantastic for us as recruiters – but it does mean that competition is heating up.

One way you can overcome the competition is by thinking strategically about your job ads. When I worked in recruitment, sometimes once you’re briefed on a role you want to get started straight away, which can result in flinging out a lazy job ad without really thinking about what you’re writing.

BUT – do we consider that a job ad is the first interaction we have with a potential candidate?

Sometimes that pressure and competition is there because you’re not the only recruiter working on a role. But instead of rushing, it’s worth taking time to work on your job ad. If yours is different and more appealing to a potential star candidate than your competitors is, the candidate is coming to you.

We’ve put together our top tips for writing a winning job ad to attract star candidates:

  • Step into the shoes of your candidate. If you want to attract them, you need to think like them. This process means you can tailor your ad to include what’s of most significance to your candidate, while making sure you’re posting it where they will be looking online.
  • Don’t just re-post the job spec. A job spec is generic and only tells half the story of your role. You’ve been briefed by your client and should have more captivating information to include to sell your role to a potential candidate.
  • Break your ad down into easy to read sections. Your candidate will be scanning many job ads quickly for key phrases, which is hard when presented with a wordy paragraph. They may also be using their smartphone or tablet to job search on the move, so if that first sentence doesn’t grab them, they’re moving on.
  • Structure is key. Your end goal is to get a candidate to apply for your job. Identify the content that is going to engage with them and highlight that. Make sure to keep it short, sharp and use bullet points:
  1. Overview of position and company. Try and give a taste of company culture
  2. What’s different about this role?
  3. List key responsibilities, in priority order. Follow with specific experience and skills needed
  4. Include details of location, type of contract, salary and any benefits
  5. Create a call to action
  • Think about where your candidate will be looking. If it’s a more junior position, they may more likely be looking on social media rather than an industry magazine website or job board. Mix up where you post your ads depending on the candidate you need.
  • Don’t forget about Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). You need to make sure your ad is found online! Think about what your ideal candidate is typing into a search engine when looking for your ad, and include those keywords. However, be careful not to overuse keywords, as this will have a negative effect on searchability.
  • Make sure you use a standard job title. Some companies have increasingly creative titles for roles, but the problem is that your candidate will be searching for the titles they understand. Don’t make it harder for your ad to be found. In fact, in a recent monster.co.uk survey, 64% of people said they wouldn’t apply for a job if they didn’t understand the title.
  • Avoid ‘buzzwords’. Try to be as specific as possible. If you’re throwing in a lot of generic terms your candidate is less likely to keep reading and will quickly become disengaged.

Always keep in mind that your job ad is the first interaction you have with a potential candidate, so make sure you take the time to start their experience with you on the right track.

Click here to read our latest IRP Professional Guide, ‘How to write a winning job advert’.

What are your top tips for writing a winning job ad? Let us know in the comments below!

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