How to Write a Compelling Job Advertisement

Writing a job ad or posting is just like writing any advertisement. If you take the analogy that the job is your product and the job seekers are your customers, you need to make a compelling case for why they should take time to apply for the vacancy.

An effective job ad is not just a description of the job and it is more complex than just sending out a message that your company is hiring. A good job ad will weed out unqualified applicants and make sure that the best candidates come to you for the job.

You need to express some creativity and ideally, tell a story about the culture of the company as well as the requirements of the position. Dull ads will not attract strong, vibrant candidates.

First things first, you need to know your target audience, address them in the language they understand and offer them what they want.

Here is a list of key questions to assist you in developing a captivating job ad:

  • What is the employee value proposition? Ask the hiring manager “Why would a top, fully-employed person want this job?” Then ask, “What are the 2-3 things this person must accomplish over the course of the first 6-12 months in order to be considered successful?”
  • Where can these people be found?
  • When should the recruitment campaign begin?
  • How can the targeted individuals best be reached?
  • What recruitment message should be communicated?
  • What should a job offer entail?

Lou Adler, a reputable Influencer on LinkedIn and founder of The Adler Group, believes that by writing job ads to attract people in rather than weed them out, you will have more luck finding top talent. He lists a compelling example below of two short descriptions for the same job. Which one do you think a top person who is thinking of leaving his or her current job would consider more interesting?

Business Unit Controller. Must have a CPA from a Big 4 accounting firm. Must have 10+ years direct industry experience. Must be results-driven, possess solid internal reporting skills, have strong interpersonal skills and exceptional verbal and written communications skills.

Oscar Winning Controller. For a CPA, this is the stuff of dreams: getting out of the numbers and making a difference. Our accounting systems are in shambles. We need them rebuilt. Our creative types are running amuck, spending money wildly. Can you tame them? If you can create some order out of chaos, we need to talk. If you pull this off, the CEO will be thanking you when he gets his Oscar.

Have a look at the actual ad for more guidance on how a job advert should look and feel.

Here are 9 simple steps to writing a compelling job advertisement that will sharpen the focus and only draw the most qualified candidates.

For further insight into what the workforce is thinking, take a look at Linkedin’s 2018 Global Recruitment Trends.

It is important to note that job advertisements must comply with the anti-discrimination laws contained in the Human Rights Act. These restrict an employer from discriminating on the grounds of:

  • sex
  • disability
  • marital status
  • age
  • religious belief
  • ethnic or national origins
  • race 
  • political opinion
  • ethical belief
  • employment status
  • colour
  • family status
  • sexual orientation