There’s definitely an art to writing a great job advert.
It’s vital that you think like a marketer and include all relevant information that will ensure inappropriate candidates don’t apply and spur the best candidates into applying!
If you don’t, then you risk an extremely long-winded and unsuccessful recruitment process, as well as possibly hiring the wrong person for the role!
So you probably know the kinds of things that desperately need to be included in your advert (if you don’t then click here)…
But what shouldn’t? Let’s take a look…
1. The Job Description.
It’s so easy to just copy and paste the job description onto your job advert, rather than creating an entirely new piece of work and they’re both pretty much the same thing anyway – right?
Wrong! Your job description should reveal an in-depth rundown of the entire role, giving candidates a chance to really consider whether they’re suitable and want to continue with their application.
The whole point of your job advert is to entice, excite and compel relevant, high-quality candidates to consider the role in the first place.
It’s like any advert; it should be short, snappy, easy to read, compelling and benefits-driven; what it shouldn’t be is a long, boring bullet-pointed list of “essential skills.”
Recruiter Pro Tip
Think like a marketer!
When you write your advert, think about the most pertinent and attractive parts of the job that you need to get across in order to entice relevant individuals.
Stress the key responsibilities and benefits. Keep the advert succinct and to the point.
You can explain the finer details at the interview stage, or you can send a full job description out to people when you invite to interview.
Sell, sell, sell.
2. Long paragraphs and sentences.
Along the same lines, try to avoid long-winded prose altogether.
Your job advert (and recruitment process in general) should create as little friction as humanly possible for the applicant and forcing them to read huge lists, big paragraphs and laborious sentences will simply do one of two things:
- Put them off the job entirely.
- Stop them from reading about the role properly – and therefore apply for a job that they may not even be qualified for.
Take away the hassle and your response rate will soar.
Use of internal jargon is another source of friction.
Think about it; who’s going to apply for a job that they don’t really understand? You may get people who’ll chance it, but you’ll also put relevant people off, who might assume they’re not qualified.
Keep everything short, snappy and clear so that external people can understand what the role is, what your company does and can come to a sensible decision on whether they actually want (and are qualified for) the job.
Recruiter Pro Tip
A prime example:
A lot of companies create their own internal job titles for roles within their business.
Some can be really complicated and technical, others are ‘jazzy’ and ‘creative’ (like “digital wizard”) but they don’t really mean anything to anyone outside of the company.
- Most people won’t even search for them (does anyone type ‘digital wizard’ into Indeed?)
- Most people won’t even read them (because they’ll think they’re irrelevant).
The job boards tell us that the ‘Job Title’ area is the most important element of the entire job advert with regards to relevancy, so getting it right is essential for a good result.
So, if you’re looking for a ‘Binman,’ use that job title. Don’t advertise for a ‘Waste Management and Disposal Technician’.
If you want some job title inspiration, do a simple search on a job board like Total Jobs, Jobsite, or Indeed and see what similar companies call the same roles.
Ban buzzwords, full stop.
They’re irritating, cheesy and so overused that they’ve become utterly meaningless…
Of course you want to hire a ‘highly organised team player’ who can ‘use their initiative’ and who possesses ‘great attention to detail‘. Who doesn’t, right?
But do these phrases add anything of value to your advert?
Focus on the skill-sets you actually need and when you meet the candidate, you can decide if they have the right personal and cultural qualities to fit in to your team.
Click here to check out 70 more recruitment clichés that should be banned!
5. Hyperbole (and lies).
Try not to over-exaggerate.
Describing a pretty standard job as “the opportunity of a lifetime,” with an “unbeatable salary” and “never a dull moment” reeks of dishonesty – and most savvy jobseekers just won’t buy it.
No one likes a liar!
Remember the last time you received a barely literate job application from a candidate? Did you employ them – or even invite them to interview?
Well it works both ways I’m afraid.
The best candidates know their worth and will be put off by poor spelling, grammar and sentence construction. It’s a simple red flag and it’s easily avoided.
All you have to do is get someone to check your job advert over before sending it out!
You don’t want to come across lazy and/or unprofessional.
7. Negative language.
Job adverts filled with sentences like ‘…need not apply,’ ‘only apply if…’ ‘we will not…” come across negative, pushy and to be honest, just a little bit archaic.
Yes, you’ll put off some of the irrelevant candidates who stumble across it, but you may also put off some great ones who want to work in a positive, friendly culture.
Use positive, encouraging phrases instead that compel people to apply, rather than making them feel unwelcome, “we welcome all…” “Do you have experience in..?”
If you keep your requirements and descriptions clear and detailed, non-qualified people should realise they’re not right for the role.
8. Me, me, me.
It’s time to think like a marketer.
Put yourself into the job-seeker’s shoes. What would you respond better to?
- A job advert filled with demands, instructions and stipulations that focus on the needs of the employer? (Words like: I, me, we, our).
- A job advert aimed at you, describing the benefits of joining the company and taking on that role? (Words like: you, your, together we.)
Probably the latter!
It’s important to focus all of your job advert text on the ideal candidate and what they would want to hear.
“You’ll love this opportunity because,” “are you looking for a challenge?” “Want to get more from your job?” will sell the role, rather than just listing your expectations.
Win them over then whittle them down!
9. Any sort of discrimination
I know – common sense right?
Well, you’d be surprised how many job adverts go live with some sort of discriminatory comment included (often accidentally).
In fact, the BBC got criticised for this very issue, recently.
- BBC’s ‘BAME only’ job ad sparks controversy
- BBC accused of ‘racism’ for turning away white applicants from BAME diversity scheme
The most common slip ups are to do with age. You’re actually not even supposed to write “with x years’ experience” or “recent graduate” unless it’s absolutely 100% necessary for the role.
Click here to find out more.
Need more tips?
Like I said, there’s a real art to writing a job advert.
If you feel like you need a little more guidance to perfect yours, then check out these resources:
- Write Great Job Adverts and Attract World-Class Staff: A Checklist of the 10 Essentials.
- How do I write an effective job advert?
- How to design and write effective job advertisements
Or if you’d like some more guidance on recruitment and HR in general, click here to subscribe to our blog!- Charles Trivett