How to write a job advertisement that attracts the right people

How To Write a Job Ad That Attracts the Right People

If you haven’t already read it, make sure you check our this blog post on documenting your company culture before you bother reading this post.

The reason I say that is, I’ve seen way too many job adverts that do a terrible job of attracting the people you are looking for.

The truth is, not everyone is going to fit with your company culture.  Realise it, and take steps to help your candidates de-select themselves.

In order to know how to write a job ad that attracts the right people, it’s important to know what doesn’t work.  Here’s my opinion:

Start the job ad off by telling the reader all about how amazing your company is.  How many countries are you in?  What was last years turnover?  Number of product lines?

Go on… boast.

Now boast some more… it’s important that your candidate knows how arrogant and self centred you are.

Maybe boast some more, and then, using words that portray how lucky the candidate will be to work for you, tell them exactly what they have to do and what experience they need to have in order to be the chosen one.

Don’t ask any questions.

That doesn’t work.  Unfortunately, It’s how a lot of job ads read.

Now, lets look at what works.

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Writing a job ad is like writing marketing material for your business.  Hopefully you know what your ideal client looks like, and you create content that will attract that exact person.  Are you doing the same for your job openings?

When you document your company culture, its a good idea to write about that in your job ad.  It’s simple – you write about the behaviours of people who excel.  You also write about the behaviours that people who have not lasted long or fit in have demonstrated.  Tell them – and also make sure it is true.  If it’s not true, you will have problems.  Running a team means your team will check in on what’s going on.  They will see the ad and if it’s not in line with their experience of the company, it builds resentment.

If you’ve done the work to create the profile of the person you’re looking for, then you ask questions about that in the ad.  See this blog post about creating the profile.  Do this at the beginning – so you might start the ad off by asking ‘Are you the type of person who loves ‘crossing the T’s and dotting the i’s?’  and ‘do you love being in a support role and finding ways to improve what’s being done?’.

Here’s the thing – write the ad so that the ideal person you would like to walk in the door reads it and feels like they can’t not apply.  The best ads will have the exact person you’re looking for applying and calling to make sure you got their resume.  While it is a skill, there is also a basic format to follow.  It starts by making the ad about the candidate, and not about your company.

Here’s a basic format –

Great headline – this sells the job (not to much)

Three Bullet points – these get people to click in to see more about the job – things like free parking, maybe salary, career options (make it precise – it doesn’t work to just say ‘great career opps)

Intro – make this all about the candidate and the profile you created.  Ask questions that bring the readers attention to the things you’re hoping they love to do.  Maybe even say what problems you are looking for someone to solve.  Make it about them.

Part 2 – a little bit about what your company does and how you do it.  Include some of behaviours that people who excel demo, and also who tends to not last very long around here.  Even though you are sharing a bit about your company, make it about them.  This will help you attract the people you are looking for and repel the ones that won’t fit.

Part 3 – You can start it off like this – “Ideally you will (fill in the blanks)”.

Part 4 – Talk about the commitments you make to your staff.  Make sure it’s true.

Part 5 – Tell them what to do next in order to get a meeting with you.

The main point of all of this is that you are wanting to engage with someone. Make it personal, and make it about them. It’s marketing. And the best marketing attracts the attention of exactly who you are looking for.

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