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Hiring Advice Attracting candidates How to Write a Good Job Advertisement
How to Write a Good Job Advertisement

How to Write a Good Job Advertisement

Job adverts come in many shapes, forms and sizes. Found all over the place from job boards to online websites. The fight for top talent is a tough one, with HR professionals vying to attract the best talent out there. Here are 3 steps to help you fine tune your next recruitment drive:


1) Targeting the Right Group

When it comes down to sourcing talent, today's HR professional is spoilt for choice. However, sourcing for quality talent is another challenge altogether. Hence, the job ad on hand should be targeted to a specific group or demographic in order to attract the right kind of talent.

For example, the hiring manager of a transport and logistics company is looking to fill a vacancy for an operations manager. Thus, the good manager proceeds to draft an advertisement for the job vacancy and posts the advertisement on several job boards and in his local newspaper, all of this without conducting the required background checks. Within several days, the manager is contacted by several potential candidates. Unfortunately, the majority of the candidates proved to be unsuitable for the position due to a combination of factors like lack of qualifications and experience.

Now, how did this situation come about?

Simply put, most hiring managers tend to treat writing job advertisements as a mere formality. Consequently, job advertisements are written with inaccurate job descriptions and with the wrong criteria listed. This is sure to attract candidates who are lacking the necessary experience and qualifications which leads to complications arising later on.

The old saying; you don’t hire a boy to do a man’s job, rings especially true here. A generic job title with an equally generic description will most likely generate little to no interest in the advertisement.

Job titles should be clear and accurate description of the vacancy. Avoid using industry terms or internal jargons like marketing rock star or copywriting ninja which may look interesting but this only serves to complicate and discourage candidates.

In order to attract and retain quality talent in a competitive environment, HR professionals need to selectively target candidates for the best results.


2) The Importance of Titles and Descriptions

A job advertisement serves to inform interested candidates that a vacancy is available in an organization. However, it is also so much more than that, as job adverts also serve as an advertisement for the organization themselves. This for example is how you should not write a job ad.

When a candidate looks at the job advert, a multitude of thoughts will be running through their mind. Whether the organization is a suitable fit? Will there be career prospects and benefits? What about the pay? Is the culture any good?

Thus, to attract quality candidates, the job advert will need to appeal to the candidate's sensibilities. Employees need to convey to potential candidates that their organization is able to help candidates achieve their goals.

A sure-fire way to attract sub-standard quality candidates or no candidates at all is to prepare a poorly, written job advertisement loaded with grammatical errors and spelling mistakes. The advertisement should state clearly the company's background, job title and description along with the benefits of working for the organization.

Rather than having a intentionally vague job description which misleads candidates and causes problems with employee management later on, recruiters need to understand the importance of having a well written job description. A simple yet comprehensive job description that lists all the related responsibilities and requirements which can be easily understood by candidates, helps candidates decide if the position is suitable for them.

Vague advertisements with misleading titles and ambiguous job descriptions will only serve to cause confusion and turn away candidates as the organization can be seen as deceptive and untrustworthy.

Whereas a well produced advertisement with a suitable job title and easily understood job description serves to convey a sense of professionalism and encourages candidates to take the time to apply for the position advertised.


3) Giving Candidates a Reason

Some organizations prefer to reveal as little as possible about themselves for their own reasons. However, in a day an age where candidates are interested in more than just salaries, providing a small bit of extra information about the organization could provide a competitive edge.

In a day an age where more and more millennials are entering the workforce, employees are more inclined to value work-life balance and employee engagement. One way to stand out from the crowd is by peddling the perks offered by working with the organization. These benefits and perks could be things like work-life balance, a shorter commute to the workplace or even a larger income.

Factors like location of public transport or residences can make all the difference to candidates. Offices located nearby public transport transit points allow for candidates to commute to work with ease, hence recruiters can use this intangible benefit to attract candidates.

By openly advertising such benefits on the advertisement, talented candidates are more likely to apply to work at smaller organizations due to the benefits offered. Hence, by adopting this approach, smaller sized operations are able to compete with larger businesses for top talent.


A job advertisement may seem like a simple affair, but there are many more factors at play that will affect the quantity and quality of candidates applying. These 3 steps may just be what your next job advertisement needs.

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