Gone are the days when you could post printed job adverts in the local newspaper and sit contently as a pile of applications land on your desk within a few days.
Ironically, despite more people in the UK using mobile phones and embracing digital advancements, it has actually become more difficult for employers to get their job adverts in front of the right people.
Especially when the average human attention span has fallen from 12 seconds to just 8 seconds, following the meteoric rise in mobile phone technology.
The frustrating aspect is, you may have written the best, most compelling job advert ever, but that won’t make a blind bit of difference if nobody sees it!
So how can you ensure your job ad is seen, consumed and acted upon?
Here are a few tips to help get you started.
1. Use a common job title.
As British novelist, Amelia Barr once said: “It is always the simple that produces the marvellous.”
While you may think that your job advert looks more impressive under the title ‘Executive Information Architectural Supervisor’ or ‘Wordsmith Wizard’, potential candidates are never going to see these job ads because they won’t be searching for the specific terms.
Would you type in “Wordsmith Wizard” if you were searching for a freelance copywriter?
Ask yourself, what would your potential candidate search for?
If you’re not sure, check out your competitors’ and/or other similar brands’ ads to see what job titles they use.
Recruiter pro tip
Understandably, we all want to stand out, but it’s all about finding a balance.
There’s no problem in getting a little creative in your job ad title, as long as it contains the necessary keyword(s).
For instance, ‘Superhero Copywriter’ is unique, but also searchable (copywriter).
2. Include a location in the title.
Again, let’s step back into the shoes of your potential candidate.
What are they likely to be searching for?
Just “accountant” or something a little more specific like “accountant in London?”
Adding a location should make it more visible to the right audience and discourage candidates not located within the catchment area.
3. Make it relevant.
Keywords are essential in the body content as well.
The more relevant your advert appears to someone’s actual search, the more often and the higher up it will be displayed.
So, if you’re looking for a copywriter, try to actually include the word in the job advert a few times.
Recruiter pro tip
If you want to go the extra mile, you can find out how many times people search for a certain phrase on Google.
To give you an example, I’ve set up the search term ‘management skills’ on Google Trends.
Now that you know which words and phrases are popular (for your kind of job advert) you should try to include them so you’ll get picked up by job boards too.
Adding an image to your job advert also gives you an extra opportunity to include keywords into the file name, title and alt text too.
However, it’s important to consider the job advert as a whole as well.
After all, you don’t want to include so many keywords that the ad simply doesn’t make sense.
In fact, according to Glassdoor, 67% of employers believe retention rates would be higher if candidates had a clearer idea of what to expect about working at the company before taking the job.
So keep it clear, relevant and searchable.
4. Find the right job boards.
Once you’ve optimised your content, it’s essential to get your job advert in front of the right audience.
There are over 2,000 job boards in the UK, each with their own particular USPs.
While bigger websites like Monster and CV Library offer the large audience and often provide good results, it’s worth remembering that you may receive a lot of irrelevant applications too.
If you’re willing to sift through quantities of CVs, go for it. Otherwise, a more niche job board might be the answer.
For example, if I were hiring an IT Manager, I would potentially look to CW Jobs or Jobserve as niche job boards that service the IT industry, to home in on the perfect specialist.
Of course, the fewer job boards you sign up to, the fewer candidates that will see your advert and the fewer applications you will receive – it’s all about striking a balance.
Recruiter pro tip
One thing to consider with these job boards is cost.
With some charging up to £400 per vacancy for a four-week listing, using multiple can really stack up.
To keep costs at a minimum, you have a few options:
- Trial a variety of job boards over time and find out which ones work best for you (see section 8 for some details on the metrics you should be measuring).
- You could use an online (managed advertising) recruitment service. They’ll already have a range of contracts set up with the job boards.
- You could hire the help of an online recruitment agency, like us, who will also already have contracts set up with most job boards.
5. Use social media.
While job boards and CV databases are perfect for active jobseekers, it’s important to consider passive candidates too.
In fact, 79% of jobseekers are likely to use social media in their job search, yet only 1 in 3 employers use social media to promote job openings.
And let’s not forget all those people you may have missed out on because you picked niche job boards and they only sign up for general ones (or vice versa).
To truly maximise your reach, you should consider using LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to advertise your job openings.
This will also allow your current employees to share it across their feeds as well. (This is especially useful if they are well connected.)
Which leads me nicely onto my next point…
6. Ask your staff.
Staff referrals are a great way to reach more people with your job advert, plus with the added bonus that you’ll save money, potentially attract likeminded staff, encourage employee engagement and find a person who is trusted by an employee outside of work.
In other words, it’ll maximise exposure and reduce the risk of hiring any old Tom, Dick and Harriet!
To sweeten the deal, offering a prize or reward can always work as an extra incentive too.
7. Ask other people.
Why stop there?
Using your own network of professionals and friends is another easy and free way to optimise your job advert.
The great thing is, a trusted friend or acquaintance won’t recommend someone they don’t personally know much about, as it reflects badly on them if it doesn’t work out.
Trust in your contacts and see the rewards.
8. Track your results.
To save money in the long run and to learn from previous job ads, it’s absolutely paramount to track your results. This way, you can tweak different elements to give yourself every opportunity to succeed next time.
Your job ad campaign results should include information on:
- The number of applications.
- The number of views.
- The relevancy of the applications.
- The number of interviews.
- The cost per applicant
- The cost per hire.
- Staff retention.
To make things even easier, using an applicant tracking system could help you do this without wasting much time or effort.
As you can see, there are a lot of points to consider when it comes to creating a successful job ad.
However, the most important fact to remember is to keep it simple and precise. We live in a busy digital world, cluttered with many distractions.
So make sure you maximise via SEO, use succinct content and spread the word to as many people as possible using the right platforms.
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