Back to Basics: Job Adverts
Writing effective job adverts is a skill that can take a while to master. And while HR professionals know that job adverts are important, many simply lack the time to spend refining their advertising.
Webrecruit’s aim is to make things a bit easier. We’ve previously written lots of blog posts about constructing job adverts – whether it’s tailoring your adverts for a particular job sector, communicating your company culture within your advert or talking about discriminatory language, we’ve got you covered.
However, in this post, we’re stripping things right back and starting at the beginning. These are some of the most common queries that we hear from our clients when discussing the basics of writing job adverts.
Whether you’re just preparing to write your first advert or you’re re-evaluating your existing recruitment advertising strategy, try incorporating the following tips in your approach to writing:
How long should my job advert be?
There’s no set length for the ideal job advert, however it’s worth bearing in mind that people read differently on different platforms – an online audience are more likely to skim adverts and click off the page when faced with a giant wall of text.
Some of the online job boards also have a maximum character limit for any roles they advertise so it’s worth checking this before posting your advert, as you may run the risk of important text being cut off.
We advise to keep adverts as short as possible, no more than 450 words, ideally fewer. Choose your wording carefully to ensure that you’re including the most important information.
I’ve got the job specification in front of me – how do I transform this into an advert?
A job specification and a job advert are two completely different documents, therefore creating one from the other might seem challenging.
We’d recommend using the essential criteria as a starting point; narrow down your list of essential skills, qualifications and experience to 3-5 bullet points, maximum. This should give you a clear idea of the person that you want to attract.
Based on this criteria, you can then start to build out your advert. Write your advert as if you’re speaking to your dream candidate; refer to them as ‘you’ and think about what might attract them to the role. Keep your target audience in your head at all times and remember to sell yourself as an employer.
I’m not great with words – how can I make sure my advert reads well?
You don’t need to be an amazing writer to create a brilliant job advert.
Try not to over complicate things – keep the advert simple, concise and to the point. Don’t use fancy language if you’re not sure what it means and stay clear of any jargon that only people who currently work within your business would understand.
Most importantly, ask a colleague to proofread the advert for clarity, spelling and grammar before posting it on to your website and the job boards. Any typos or unclear information could paint a bad image of you or leave you open to a barrage of queries about the role that you could have covered in the advert.
How much information do I need to include?
Ideally, your advert should include some information about your business, what you can offer candidates, a summary of the role on offer, a description of the key duties and the essential criteria that a candidate would need to possess.
You should also include the location of the vacancy and details of the salary and benefits on offer.
How do I maximise my response rates?
Maximising the number of applications you receive is easy if you’re open to tweaks – if you reduce the amount of essential criteria that you’re asking for or increase the salary that you’re offering, there’s a good chance that you’ll receive more applications.
However (and this is a big however), do you really want to open yourself to receiving a large number of applications from unsuitable candidates? Opening up your advert will certainly bring in a wider pool of applications but you should focus on targeting the right quality of candidates; you can achieve this through the wording of your advert and selecting the right places to advertise your role.
What should I do if my job advert isn’t working?
If it’s only been a couple of days and you haven’t had a great response, don’t panic. There are certain points of the week where applications are a bit quieter (our research tells us that Tuesdays are actually the most popular day of the week for applications).
It’s also worth taking the time of year into account – for example, jobseeker activity quietens down in August and around the Christmas period.
However, if it’s been more than a week and your response has been limited, try making some tweaks and amendments to your advert (this might require a small charge, depending on what you’re changing and what job boards you’ve used to advertise your roles). Focus on changing specific elements of your advert such as the salary, adding in any benefits that you offer, reducing the amount of essential criteria and tweaking the job title to a more searchable one.