Job Advertisement: Best Practices

Anja Zojceska | 6/26/2018 | Recruitment Marketing

In this blog post, we compiled all the best practices for writing great job advertisements. Learn how to optimize your job advertisement to capture the attention of the best candidates and convince them to apply. 

Job Advertisement: Best Practices

Classic job advertisements are dead

Classic job advertisements are dead. They simply don’t work anymore.
And you know it!
This is probably why you are reading this blog post. 

You’ve tried posting your job descriptions online, but it didn’t work: 

  • You didn't get any applications.  
  • Or you got a ton of unqualified applications.
  • Even if you received a few applications from high-quality candidates, they turned out to be a bad fit for your company.

Don’t worry - you are not alone.
Many employers are struggling with similar problems.
This is because they still use the classic, old-fashioned approach to the job advertisement. 
But recruiting has changed.  

Candidates are now in charge. 
These days, it is not enough to inform your potential candidates about your job opening.
If you want to hire the best people for your company, you need to do much more.  

You need to sell the job!

A job advertisement is exactly what its name says - an advertisement.
The goal of every advertisement is to sell something
In the case of a job advertisement, you are trying to sell a job.  

It is not enough just to state that you have a job opening.
Here is where most employers make mistakes
They focus on the needs of their company.  

In their job advertisement, they state what they are looking for.
They also present a whole list of duties and responsibilities.  

This is what it sounds like:

Here is what we need. Here is what you can do for us… (insert a whole list of duties and responsibilities).
In return, you’ll get paid. Be we won’t tell you how much.

Does that sound like a great advertisement to you?
Would you buy what they’re selling

I didn’t think so.
This is why we need to change the way we write job advertisements.  

How to write a great job advertisement?

To write a great job advertisement, you need to think like a marketer.
You need to shift the focus away from your company and your needs. 

Instead, you should focus on your potential candidates.
You need to capture their attention.
You need to convince them to apply.  

To do that, you need to clearly present your major selling points:

  • You need to explain to the candidates why this job is a great opportunity for them.
  • You need to show them how this job will improve their life and career.
  • You need to demonstrate why your company is the best place to work.

In short, you need to tell them what will they get in return if they “buy into” the job you are offering.

Remember, you are selling an opportunity that could change or at least improve their life!

Job advertisement structure

What should your job advertisement contain?

  • The classic, old-fashioned job advertisements were focused on the employer’s needs.
  • The new approach based on empirically proven best practices suggest a slightly different job advertisement structure - the one dictated by candidates interests.

Let’s compare the structure of these 2 types of job advertisements:

Job-advertisement-structure

Classic job advertisement structure

Classic job advertisement structure follows the interests and needs of employers.

This is how it looks like: 

  1. Job title
  2. About the company
  3. Duties and responsibilities
  4. Job requirements
  5. Benefits
  6. Applying instructions.

According to LinkedIn research:

There seems to be an unwritten rule that every job description must begin with at least one long paragraph about the company, what it does, and how it’s changing the world.

However, when asked which parts of job advertisement were most important for their decision to apply, candidates rated information about the company least important - with mission and culture close behind.

It’s not that candidates don’t care about your company, culture, or mission - it’s just that they can get that info elsewhere after they learn about the role.

To learn about your company, they go to your career site and check out how you present your Employer Brand on social media.

There are many places to learn more about your company, but there’s only one place where they can find details about this particular role: your job advertisement.

When reading job advertisements, candidates really want to know what’s in it for them:

  • Is your job the next step on their career path?
  • Which benefits will working at your company bring to them?
  • Are they a good fit for your company culture?

This is why we suggest you try out a new approach and structure your job advertisements a bit differently.

Best practice job advertisement structure

The new approach based on empirically proven best practices suggest a slightly different job advertisement structure - the one dictated by candidates’ interests.

This is how it looks like:

  1. Job title
  2. Location
  3. Salary
  4. What’s In It for the Candidate (WIIFC)
  5. About the candidate
  6. Applying instructions

First, you should clearly state the 3 most important information for any potential candidate:

  1. Role
  2. Level of the role
  3. Location.

If they don’t fit all of these conditions, most candidates will turn away from your job advertisement.
Save their (and your!) time by clearly stating this information right in the beginning. 

Of course, what candidates want to know next is the salary
If they can’t make a living out of their job, they can’t consider it - no matter how great your job or company is.
So be considerate and fair - try to at least present a hiring range.  

Except for the money they need to make a living, candidates want to know what is in it for them:

  • Is your job the next step on their career path?
  • Which benefits will working at your company bring to them?
  • Are they a good fit for your company culture?

Candidates don’t want to read a laundry list of duties and responsibilities.
They want to be able to picture themselves in the role you are offering. 
They are looking for a role that can fit their personal traits and interests.  

Finally, candidates want a clear call to action
If you did a good job writing your job advertisement, by the time they come to the end of it, your potential job candidates will have only one question: How can I apply for this role?  

Best practices for optimizing your job advertisements

Once you have the basic job advertisement structure ready, it is time to optimize it!

Here are the 6 best practices for optimizing your job advertisements:

Best-practice-optimize-job-advertisement

Title

Your job title is the most important part of your whole job advertisement.

The title of your job advertisement is the first thing that most of the job seekers will see.

It is up to the title of your job advertisement to allure the right type of candidates to click on your job advertisement and actually read the whole thing.

The best way to ensure that is to call out your relevant candidates.

You will do that by clearly stating 3 main things in the title of your job advertisement:

  1. Job role
    The job role should be clear and precise
    Use the standardized, most commonly used job titles in your industry for the specific job position you are looking to fill.  
  2. Level of the role
    Be sure to mention the level of your role. 
    Is it a junior, mid-level or a senior position?
    This will help you target candidates with the right amount of experience.
  3. Job location
    Most candidates aren’t ready to move for the job. 
    This is why all the job boards have the location filter
    Besides job title, this is the most popular filter among job candidates.  

First paragraph

Your job title’s role is to attract the attention of your perfect candidates.

Once they click on it to see your whole job advertisement, it is your first paragraph that will welcome them.

This paragraph is your best selling point.

It is your unique chance to hook candidates and lure them into reading the rest of your job advertisement.

How will you do that?

Answer the most pressing question buzzing around their head: What’s in for me?

  • Why should I read your job advertisement?
  • What can you offer me?
  • How is your job offering different from all the rest?

You will answer their questions by concisely presenting the highlights of your Employee Value Proposition.

Length

Indeed’s research shows there is an optimal length for job content to attract the best candidates.  

Roles with descriptions between 700 and 2,000 characters get on average 30% more applications.

In short: Write an ad, not a book!

According to Indeed, you should try to:

Strike a balance between providing enough detail in your job advertisements and being concise.

You don’t want to overwhelm job seekers with pages of content if a single page is all that’s needed.

Format

Format your job advertisement for easy reading.

To make your job advertisement is readable, follow this tricks:

  • Write shorter sentences.
  • Use simpler phrases.
  • Avoid big blocks of text.
  • Use paragraphs.
  • Use titles and subtitles.
  • Bold the most important information.
  • Add the rhythm to your advertisement by using a few longer sentences.
    Followed by shorter ones.  
  • Use lists. People love lists! 😊

Writing style

Most of the job advertisements are too formal.

Remember, your job advertisement is not your internal document. It is an ad that should sell your job to your perfect candidate! 

So don’t write it like a boring business document. Make it come alive by talking to your candidates

Avoid commonly used phrases such as “the successful candidate” or “the ideal applicant”.

Write in the second person - use the word “you” to directly address your candidates.

A good practice is to write your job advertisement like you’d say it - to a friend!

Imagine you have a friend who would be perfect for the job position you are looking to fill.

How would you casually inform him/her about your job opening?

Write it down - it’s a great starting point!

Tone of voice

When it comes to the tone of the voice in which your job advertisements should be written, the best practice is to apply your Employer Brand’s tone of voice.

You Employer Brand’s tone of voice should be based on your company culture:

  • If your company culture is formal, you should stick with classical, formal tone of voice when writing your job advertisement.
  • However, if your company culture is less formal and more casual, you should show that in your job advertisement too.

Using your authentical tone of voice in your job advertisement will help you attract candidates that will be a perfect fit for your company culture.

It will also save you a lot of time you would otherwise be spent processing the applications of the candidates who fit your role perfectly but are totally wrong for your team and working environment.

Thus, you should think carefully about the tone of voice you use in your job advertisement.

It is the most important aspect of your job advertisement that can help you hire the best talent by finding the perfect fit.

Need help with your job advertisements?

Our TalentLyft recruiting software can help you with all phases of job advertising, form writing to publishing and promoting your job advertisements.  🙂

With TalentLyft you can:

  • Access free job description templates
  • Build beautiful career sites (no coding needed!)
  • Publish your job postings on multiple job boards with just one click!
  • Set up employee referral programs
  • Create engaging email campaigns
  • Easily share your job postings on social media - all from one easy to use platform!  

Sounds interesting? 🤔

Try our services for free (for 14 days, no credit card required to sign up, cancel anytime)!
Once you are in the free trial, you can let our team know about your needs in the live chat.
During the free trial, we will help you ace your job advertisements! 💪 

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