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Is It Time To Rethink Your Job Ads? We Show You How

David Law

Thu, 24 Feb, 2022


David Law

  • Reading Time:
    ~ 4 minutes

We know what you are thinking. “Surely not another article about job ads?“ How much have job ads really evolved over the last five to ten years? Could there possibly be anything new to be said that hasn’t already been said countless times before? 

Instead of looking at job ads from the standpoint of a recruiter, consider them from the point of view of a candidate.

What things do you look for most when searching for a job online? The most important things are partly determined by the kind of work you most want. 

Let’s take a look at the key things candidates want to know:

  • Salary
  • Is this a job I can do?
  • Career progression opportunities
  • An insight into the company’s culture
  • What does the company actually do?

Salary

Obviously, the salary is the first thing a candidate will want to know. On the whole, however, companies are still relatively hesitant to share this information, perhaps due to concerns that it will give their competitors an edge. 

Recent research done by SEEK reveals 79% of candidates agree there should be more transparency around salaries in listed job ads. Certainly, from the point of view of the candidates, it saves hours of time if the salary bracket is known at the outset, and you can choose to apply or not based on that information. 

There are even those who would suggest that having clarity around salaries will prevent you from receiving applications from different demographics in the market. Most job ads now include a short section detailing additional company benefits which is a great draw card for candidates. 

Is This A Job I Can Do?

Ideally, a good job ad should clearly specify how much and the type of experience needed to do the job. You should never apply for a job if you think that you can’t do it or aren’t qualified for. Unfortunately, this doesn’t deter candidates from sending in unsuitable applications. 

In a sense, modern application processes have become far too easy. In the past, when applying for a job you had to request an application form in person or by phone, complete the application, and then send it in the mail and pray it is noticed by the right person. Today, most of it involves just one or two clicks, and herein lies the issue. Employers today must sift through hundreds of CVs before finding candidates who fit their requirements.

Rather than writing “the candidate must have five years of sourcing experience,” you could rephrase it as “the ideal candidate might have five years of sourcing experience”. Whether a candidate is suitable or not – the decision remains in their hands.

It might make sense to separate the compulsory requirements from the desirable requirements to make them even more inclusive. According to some reports, certain demographics will only apply for a job if they are sure that they meet the requirements to do the job. Having the requirements separated and prioritised may encourage applicants who may otherwise be hesitant to apply.

Career Progression Opportunities

There is no doubt that mapping out the career paths available to employees is hugely beneficial for any company. For instance if the role is “Junior Graphic Designer”, you might mention that the position will develop into a Graphic Designer after one year if they have fulfilled expectations, and delivered to the expected standards in place.

For startups and less established businesses, this sense of certainty and a clear process is not always possible, so instead, highlight that as the business grows, employees create their own career paths and have endless opportunities.

An Insight Into The Company’s Culture

Sometimes you can tell this from the way the job ad is written, not always from what’s written within the job ad. Does it sound more corporate and conservative, or does it sound less informal and fun?

Set the right tone for your company. A casual, conversational tone is not for everyone. Candidates at an investment bank may be put off by it. However, this is exactly what you’d expect from a fast-growth tech startup and may assist in attracting the right kind of candidates. Ultimately, it depends on the kind of company you work for.

What Does The Company Actually Do?

If the company is a startup or a little-known company, you will want to include a short description of what the company does. Nearly half of candidates who see your ad have no prior knowledge of the company. It is not necessary to go into a huge amount of detail here, as the candidate can always access the website for more information if they wish. 

Having said that, the candidate does need to know more than just what a company does. As well as learning what makes a particular company stand out, they are also interested in why people love working there.

LinkedIn conducted some research a few years ago that showed a heatmap of a standard job description and which sections candidates found most useful. Compensation was a clear winner when it came to what candidates wanted to learn the most, which is ironic, since it is often the thing employers find to be most difficult to list on their job ads.

Some Extras

There are some thought leaders who will tell you that all bullet points should be taken out completely. This is a matter of personal preference. While some prefer prose, others prefer bullet points to get straight to the point. There is no one rule for everyone.

If you use images and embed videos, you may want to use them on your company website, but the links may not work on other platforms eg: Linkedin. To ensure your job ad performs well, you’ll want to ensure the first paragraph contains several keywords.

If you are looking for an AWS Developer, for example, then making sure that the keywords “AWS” and/or “developer” and/or “coding” appear in the first paragraph is absolutely critical. Having a clear job title is also important. Search engine optimization (SEO) techniques help the job boards rank higher, so if your job can’t be found, it can’t be applied for.

Glassdoor reports that over half of job seekers now use their mobiles to find jobs, so consider making your job description mobile friendly by perhaps including less text in the copy so that it appears less cluttered on a mobile screen. 

A good job ad should be between 200 and 500 words long. This is based on data from job portal BuiltIn, for the top performing job ads. If you had anything else in mind, you should hold back, keep the advert succinct, and let them know when you have the chance to speak with them.

Remember to put a call to action to encourage candidates to apply.

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