Job advertising is only part of the puzzle to attracting candidates, it must go hand in hand with your employer marketing, reputation and networking but it’s a good place to start.

The first thing to point out is you’re writing a job advert here, not a job description, so you need to understand the difference between the two. This is a common misunderstanding, so take note.

A job description, is just that, a description of all the tasks, duties and responsibilities the job entails. It’s the detail of the job, rather than the overview. Normally it would be accompanied by a person specification which would outline the qualifications, skills, experience and competencies that are needed to do the job. However, the job description is rarely given out at advert stage – perhaps a link to obtain the full job description if it’s important can be embedded into your careers site. Or the option to request it, but it’s not always necessary. You don’t want to make it too complicated for the candidate.

A job advert should largely be based on you as a company and what you can offer the candidate – it is after all an advertisement, something to entice the person to find out more.

Of course you need to give an overview of what the role is but you don’t need to list every single task here. You should summarise the crucial elements of the role and make it attractive enough for the candidate to want to apply and perhaps request the job description or download it if they want more detail.

Why should the candidate apply to you over the tens of other roles on the job board? Most candidates (not all but a large percentage) are passive candidates. That means they won’t be actively looking for roles. Therefore, your advert must stand out and for the right reasons. And I don’t mean by throwing in the word “Ninja” or “Rockstar” – that’s not the way to do it and frankly that approach is a bit naff (and from a diversity point of view, proven research has found this to be a turn off if you’re looking to diversify your workforce or candidate applications). So think differently. Highlight all the amazing benefits or your approach to learning and development or flexible working or open plan offices, or use employee quotes, awards won – whatever it is that makes your company one that people want to work at, highlight it.

The structure of a good advert should look something like this

About the role

Summary overview of the job tasks, not all of them. Avoid internal jargon. Perhaps a typical day. And choose the title carefully.

About the company/who you are

Interesting key facts here, clients (international, local), industry, culture, where you’re based.

Who you’re looking for

A summary of essential skills, qualifications, experience and personality. Really question what is essential here.

What you’ll offer in return/benefits

Holiday, pension, training, not just monetary benefits (tip…don’t put free tea & coffee, that’s not a benefit)

How they should apply

Make it easy for them to apply, don’t ask them to submit a PowerPoint presentation for example! Be relevant.

And lastly...

Don’t forget to get back to every single candidate that applied to you. Even if they were unsuccessful. Be the employer that considers the candidate experience, not just employee and customer experience. Stand out for the right reasons, it all links back to your brand which will help you when you recruit in the future.

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