Excellent job advertisements (ads) can draw job seekers to apply for a position and help your company attract suitable talents, which is especially essential if you are the owner of a small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) or an entrepreneur. On the one hand, full-fledged businesses and well-known companies only need to post a message and a flock of job seekers will rush to apply; on the other hand, applicants may not be familiar with the industry and background of SMEs and may need more incentives before proceeding. Therefore, it is vital for SMEs to put more effort into understanding the 5 keys of writing job ads to appeal to the perfect candidates.
1. Catchy Title Determines the Ads’ Success
The title is essential and determines the success of the ads.
In the age of information explosion, you and I are constantly bombarded by the deluge of information from different sources, in which the title is the first thing we see. If your title cannot capture the attention of job seekers, even if you put a million dollars in the “monthly salary” column, job seekers will very likely oversee the ad altogether.
It is more preferable to use specific words for the promoted position on the title instead of vague and common names. If a job seeker comes across an ad titled “engineer”, he/she may wonder whether the company’s looking for a civil engineer or an electrical engineer. To avoid such confusion, it is best to use clear and professional job titles.
In addition, you can add other areas of common concerns such as salaries and employee benefits to give job seekers a basic understanding of the position and lure them to stay and read in detail. However, please don't over exaggerate the ad title, and the additional elements must be in line with the basic job duties. Don't randomly put forward some benefits to attract job seekers, which will eventually degenerate into "click baits'' and tarnish the image of your company.
2. Keep the Format Concise and Easy to Follow
When job seekers are captivated by the title, they will first notice the ad’s format. The ad needs to be clear and easy to look for relevant information. If it is unorganised and inconsistent with scattered information here and there, job seekers will be muddled and uncertain about the actual job, which will ultimately leave them a bad impression of your company with a loss of confidence and interest.
- Divide the ad into sections such as company profile, job requirements, job description, etc. so that job seekers can quickly locate the target content.
- Use bullet points to express key information, so that the job seekers will not lose interest in reading lengthy paragraphs.
- Unify similar typefaces and fonts to make a good impression.
3. Keep the Content Clear with Key Information
Generally speaking, the content of job ads can be divided into the following 7 sections, which are also the major concerns of job seekers. By clearly presenting the key points of each section, the ad ensures job seekers make more informed decisions as they gain a better understanding of the offered position, and in turn helps your company to screen the suitable candidates more directly.
Salary is the primary consideration for most job seekers and is usually expressed in a range, such as HKD 15,000 to 18,000 per month, for job seekers' reference. Some companies may use the term "negotiable" for flexibility, but there is a chance that the perplexed job seekers may grow more reluctant to apply for the job, thereby missing possible candidates. You can decide between the two by weighing the trade-offs.
The location of the job may seem not at all important, the truth is, if the company is too far away from the job seeker, it will most certainly discourage them from applying and you may need to arrange transportation to catch their eyeballs.
The job seekers’ decision on the ad depends mainly, if not entirely, on the job description. By understanding what the job entails, they will know if it is a suitable role, meanwhile you can screen out the unfit by a clear job description.
Besides salary, benefits attract the job seekers most-flexible working hours, medical insurance packages, further education/training opportunities and allowances can greatly increase the incentive of job seekers to apply. Thus, you can list all the employee benefits or the value you can offer to your employees as detailed as possible here.
Conditions and Requirements
Requirements for job seekers, such as education level, work experience, professional skills, etc., need to be clearly stated here for the purpose of selecting suitable candidates.
Depending on your specific needs-whether you want to attract more general applicants or just limit it to top professionals-the content here varies. If it’s the former, you should use broader words, such as "other relevant work experience" or "post-secondary education or above", to lower the threshold for applicants. The number of applicants will be lower than the former. If you are looking for more professional and specialised candidates, you should spell out your requirements in definitive terms, such as "a bachelor degree in social work" or "at least 5 years of work experience in a certain industry", but the number of applicants will be fewer in this case.
Company profile is imperative for SMEs as they are lesser known. When comparing different companies in the same industry, most job seekers tend to join the larger ones to enrich their work history and polish their CVs. In order to pique the applicants’ curiosity, you should begin by introducing the company’s culture as well as mission and vision, so as to engage like-minded job seekers to strive for the same goal.
How to Apply
Otherwise, it will be a pity if you meet a suitable candidate who is interested in your company, but the application method is vague and the application is lost.
After job seekers learn about the salary, job description, requirements, etc., you need to state clearly how to apply. Otherwise, it would be a pity if a suitable and interested applicant is not proceeding at this juncture just because the application method is ambiguous.
Posting Time #1: Enhance Ad Exposure
After completing the write-up of the basic job ad, it’s time to consider when to post it.
Although the posting time will not affect the content and attractiveness of the job ad per se, it will indirectly affect the ad’s exposure. Job seekers usually search for job openings during weekdays, and are less likely to browse job ads during weekends/family time. If you want to maximise the exposure of your job ad, it is optimal to post it at the beginning of a week.
Posting Platform #2: Match the Professionality of your Job
After confirming the “when”, you need to deal with the “where”. Different recruitment platforms have their own pool of applicants. In addition to the needs of the job, you also need to consider who your target viewers are.
If you need an ordinary clerk to handle daily administrative tasks, the requirements for job seekers are not high, hence general job search platforms or mobile apps will do the trick; however, if you are promoting a more professional or senior position, some crowd-pleasing job search platforms may not provide you with the ideal candidates. Then, it is high time you advertise through LinkedIn or head-hunters to reach the right talents.
There is No Such Thing as a Perfect Candidate
The fundamental purpose of a job ad is to attract the suitable applicants to join your company and to avoid obsessive perfectionism. Whether you are looking for highly educated graduates, experienced staff, or youngsters with outstanding learning abilities, I hope this article helps you match with valuable employees!