Following on from an earlier piece I wrote about what recruitment is getting wrong, Andy at Firefish offers his thoughts on what HR professionals should be doing to get more from their job adverts. Do you agree? Any thoughts? Leave a comment below, or get in touch.
It doesn’t matter how well you write job adverts; it doesn’t matter what the job vacancy is for, or even who the company you’re advertising for is, if it isn’t seen by a relevant audience it’s all pointless.
Remember the old philosophical quandary: if a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound? Well, let’s reframe it. If a job ad is posted online, and there’s no one there to read it, does it exist?
The short answer is no. If no one reads your job advert, then there are no candidates to work with, and it’s unlikely that a vacancy will be filled.
If You Build It, They Will Come (As Long as It’s Marketed Well)
There are a number of things that you have to think of when posting job adverts online. Each one can lead to an increase in views, ideally converting into a higher number of applicants, too.
But, like we’ve already mentioned, relevant traffic is a must. Simply increasing the amount of eyes on your job ad won’t cut it. So, where do you start?
For most of us, search engine optimisation is something that we’d rather ignore. But it’s not as difficult as it seems. Simply put, use words and phrases that help online users find your job advert. Advertising for a content writer? Put that in the description, and make sure it’s in the content of the ad too.
This will draw in a better quality of applicants, ones who are looking for that specific job type. But don’t stop there. Make sure that the rest of the copy is clear, and that it relates to the job at hand. Clearly outline the tasks, responsibilities, and goals that a successful candidate will be working with. The better clarity you have here; the better chance you have of converting your audience into applicants.
This brings us on to the writing itself. Your job ad needs to be easily understood, and candidates will want to be able to skim read it too. Break the information up into bullet points, and remove any unnecessary work for applicants.
Make sure that what you write reflects the job description. There are conventions here, and although you can play around with them, it’s important to give candidates what they expect. Use common and agreed upon job titles, and make sure that the language that you use reflects the industry you’re advertising for.
You don’t want candidates to doubt the legitimacy of a position due to poor writing. So spend some time, read other job descriptions from the same or a similar industry, and make yours stand out because of its clarity and its excellent writing.
It’s not enough to write a job ad and put it out online. The internet is a competitive arena and there are many other job ads (plenty of them for similar vacancies) posted all the time. So, once you hit publish on your ad, share it out on social channels. Use hashtags and focus on reaching relevant and engaged candidates. They won’t all be active job seekers, but if you use the right sort of language, and promote the job vacancy in an aspirational manner, you’ll turn passive candidates’ heads, likely increasing the pool of potential candidates in the process.
Branding and Culture
These days, candidates look for more than just a salary. Money is of course important, but job seekers also want perks and incentives that allow them a healthier work/life balance. Perhaps your client’s workplace has a generous holiday allowance, or perhaps it has an excellent coffee machine – get this sort of information in the job advert.
The goal here is to advertise the company culture, alongside the job itself. Some of this is intangible, and it’s not always easily described, but it’s important to get it right. Consider using video footage of the workplace, images of happy employees, or snapshots of the office itself. These things let a candidate imagine themselves in the workplace, and it makes it much more likely that they’ll hit apply.
In turn this means that people will share the job advert as it’s full of actionable content. It’s aspirational, and it elicits an emotive response from candidates. It also means that your job advert will stand out from the competition, marked out thanks to its unique culture.
Creating job adverts that resonate starts with understanding the wants and needs of your client. It’s then important to align those desires with the things that the target candidate audience wants too. It’s a delicate balancing act, but once it’s achieved, you’ll experience better success with your job ads.
Oh, and make sure to let candidates know how and when you’ll get in touch with them. There’s nothing worse than hitting apply on a job advert and never hearing anything back. Creating a good experience for applicants leads to loyalty and free word of mouth advertising – two things that are literally priceless in terms of brand recognition.
About the Author: Working as the resident Content Guru at Firefish, Andy plans, writes, and edits articles and blog posts for Firefish Software. He holds an MA in Professional Writing, and in the early mornings is known to gravitate towards the nearest coffee pot.