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How to write a good job advertisement

Composing: When composing a job advertisement, one must consider a number of things to ensure your role is seen by the largest audience whilst attracting applicants well matched to the key requirements of the vacancy. First off; you will need a detailed job specification describing the job duties and responsibilities.

Company Profile: Remember also that this is an opportunity to showcase your company so take full advantage and give your business a boost explaining what you do and what products/services you sell, the vision for your company and its mission statement. Include the company’s website URL along with the hiring manager’s LinkedIn profile. People like to see who they might be working with in their future employment.

Visuals/Images: If possible, try to include visuals. Some job boards allow this through the inclusion of your logo.

Video: Job advertising using video content is becoming more popular and will increase with time.

Job Title: It is important you title the role correctly ie: If it is a Sales role, make sure you have the word ‘Sales’ in the title otherwise it may come across as being vague and somewhat ambiguous.
Take note that for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) purposes – a correct job title is crucial, candidates will often search for a role by using keywords and/or specific job titles. Make sure also to clearly state if the job is permanent, temporary or contract. It’s amazing how many people apply for jobs without reading the requirements thoroughly.

Duties vs Requirements: It is important to clearly define job duties and candidate requirements. Don’t start writing up a list of the job duties and then go off course in the middle explaining what you want from the candidate. This is confusing and also might indicate you’re only writing down thoughts as they come to you. This may come across as lack of structure and organisation.

Duties: You can create your ad by writing a brief snapshot of the role and then bullet point the job duties & responsibilities starting with the primary duties; then list in descending order.

Candidate requirements: When it comes to describing the key requirements make sure to really make a distinction of what applicants (A)must have and what would be (B)desirable. Don’t overdo it; what you want is to include enough information to entice the right candidates to apply – not list every other job duty as a requirement. This is something which can be discussed in more detail at interview.

Not cool: A couple of No-No’s here; never include…

  • Must be a young dynamic individual
  • We are a young company
  • Specify a preferred gender
  • Must have 3 to 5 years’ experience (An upper limit on experience cannot be advertised.) Minimum of 3 years’ experience is essential” is OK
  • ‘Native English’ as a requirement is a No, “Fluent English” is acceptable

No harm in stating you are an equal opportunities employer!

Questions: If you can create the opportunity to ask a number of Key questions to accompany each application, use them to ask direct questions about essential requirements so that you can increase the quality of your applicants.
Some applicants will either not read a job ad correctly or just wing it and send in a cv anyway, whereas if they are required to answer specific questions about their skills and experience one will find the quality of applicants will increase.

Scenario 1: Job ad says minimum of 5 years’ experience is required, I’ve only 3 years’ experience but I’ll send in a cv anyway and you never know.

Scenario 2: Job ad question asks “Do you have a minimum of 5 years’ experience? Answer is either yes or no and it is pretty unlikely that a candidate will lie especially if they have attached a cv that clearly states otherwise.

Salary/Remuneration: Where at all possible, include a salary/salary range plus any additional benefits or perks, statistically you will receive 70% more replies if you include a salary. Also, you will not be put to the trouble of considering candidates who look strong on paper but turn out to be way over your budget.

GDPR: If you are requesting candidates to transfer personal data ie: cv etc as part of the application process it would be deemed prudent to include your GDPR statement regarding your policies for accepting, transferring and retaining third party data. It might be wise to consult with your data protection officer to ensure all aspects of GDPR compliance are met before posting your new job advertisement.

In Summary: Overall your advertisement should stimulate the interest of suitable candidates and you will achieve this by using positive and upbeat language.

Use words like fun, enjoy, achieve, excel, success, good, bright etc!

Avoid stating the obvious ie: You must be a hard worker, a good time keeper, multi-tasker, ability to get on with other people etc!

This is what any new employer would naturally expect of anyone they hire.

Oh yeah don’t forget, including “Any other duties that arise from time to time” at the bottom of your long list of job duties comes across as if you are planning to drain every last ounce of energy from your new employee and can be a turn off. Statements like this can be included in contracts/handbooks of employment.

The ad you are creating has one sole purpose and that is to attract enough applicants of quality, so you can select a shortlist of candidates to interview with the hope you will make a new hire.

So, in one word it has to be “Attractive”. When you’re finished creating your new job advertisement, read it through thoroughly and make sure you haven’t missed anything important, there are no typos and it reads well, clearly describing what you want.

Empathy: Most importantly would you be interested to applying for this job if you were a potential applicant?

Gerry is a senior professional recruiter and has been sourcing talent at all levels for clients in Ireland with a focus on the engineering and I.T. sectors. He has accumulated his experience for over thirty years and shares his insights and opinions to help you understand what can make you stand out from the crowd when seeking new employment. Gerry is part of the Vista People Executive Search team who set-up