3 steps to make an effective job advert

GARY TOWERS • 03 Jan 2022

Are you new to online recruiting? Or are you an infrequent recruiter?

For some of you, the range of advertising options can be overwhelming. For others, you might be completely unaware of what the options are.

What you can be sure of is that your organisation likely needs a quick and simple solution for your vacancy. Ideally cheap too.

For small companies especially, the cost of hiring the wrong person – in the form of a negative impact on business performance – can be huge. The cost of advertising for the right person doesn’t have to be.

Here are some steps to help you on your way!

Step 1 - Identify your audience

Sometimes the eagerness for action, whether from the hiring manager or the recruiter, can lead to errors or underperforming advertising, which sees advertising periods drag on. A bit of time planning – whilst appearing like delay – could save you time and money down the line.

Ask yourself… ‘Where does the ideal candidate exist?'

The hiring manager and team members may have good knowledge, particularly if the role is similar in type to theirs, for example, the Engineering Manager recruiting an Engineer. neonbrand-I6wCDYW6ij8-unsplash (1)

Simply Google it. You will quickly get a feel for who is recruiting, and where those adverts are appearing. You may come across LinkedIn profiles of target people too.

Have a Facebook page? Get a company Facebook page. It’s free and has a number of benefits. Its relevance at this point is that Facebook would like to see your advertising space. But before you part with any cash, Facebook will allow you to build the profile of the person you are hiring, and it will then tell you how many of those likely exist on Facebook within a certain radius of where the vacancy exists. You don’t have to go on and purchase advertising, you can simply walk away with the knowledge.

Ideally, you should be able to establish:

  • General availability of these people within the vacancy locality, or if not the locality, where these people do exist
  • Are they on social platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook, or professional forums?
  • Are there any online job boards or other networks which seem to be associated with recruiting these people?
  • Competitors who they're employed by or wish to employ them

Then ask yourself: ‘What might make them leave their job for this one?’

Chances are from what you’ve already found out, you might know some things already. Looking up competitor employers on Glassdoor will enable you to read what employees or ex-employees think about working there.

Ideally, you should be able to establish:

  • What opportunities exist, the salaries and benefits
  • What your target people are talking about
  • Any market forces, such as regional redundancies, or expansion, or new regulations or qualifications coming into the profession/industry

Step 2 - Create your job advert

If you now know where they are and what they might want, it is time to dangle the carrot. Simply cutting and pasting the job description won't help. They are long, boring and don’t do anything to help the point of the advert which is to attract them. The detail can come later on.

  • Make sure that what makes your organisation and/or this role attractive is front and centre. Bold headlines if necessary. Whether that is the better career advancement or training opportunities, the job security of your organisation, the exciting work or the clients you have, etc
  • Don't forget the remuneration and benefits. Sometimes 'competitive' is used where there are confidentiality concerns. To be frank, it will do more harm than good. And really focus on the benefits - they are often the differentiators nowadays between rival companies offering similar salaries
  • Use pictures to bring the role to life to help candidates work out if it matches their desires and skillset
  • Better still, add videos (ideally of workers in the role and talking about what it is like working there in that role, even if it's just recorded using a smartphone). They have been shown to increase the suitability of applications. Adverts without videos see three times as many candidates rejected at application
  • Be very clear about what is essential, and what is desirable
  • Don’t use 'woolly' language or verbose business-speak. Just keep it to specific points
  • Consider making more roles with flexible hours and even location. When advertised, such roles garner higher numbers of applicants, but will also open up to more female mothers as well as older age groups helping to boost your organisation’s diversity
  • On the subject of diversity, being part of schemes linked to diversity will help too. If you are part of any, mention them
  • Mention being part of any professional networks that might be of importance or interest

austin-distel-tLZhFRLj6nY-unsplash (2) (1)Step 3 - Choose where to advertise it

Many job boards will vie for your business, and some companies will bulk-buy space with job boards and sell you a package at a very reasonable price compared to purchasing separately.

Then there's social media, and you will no doubt be encouraged by LinkedIn through regular promotions to sign up for one of its paid-for recruiter licences.

And there is a variety of other options, of which the most likely might be print (think less local newspaper and more professional journal).

We recommend that you approach things in this order…

  • At least 50% of applications stem from organic search (people ‘Googling’) so if you are using an ATS, check with your provider if it is optimised for Google Jobs. Your jobs will appear prominently at the top of the page in matching searches at no cost to you
  • Indeed will likely 'scrape' (transpose) your job advert from your careers site (if you have one) or your ATS will push the information to them. Either way, your job will end up on the biggest job board out there free of charge. Their largest rivals are Adzuna and Neuvoo
  • Get your jobs shared through social media and LinkedIn postings. You don’t have to pay for this. Create an account for you or your company and post with links to apply for your jobs
  • Promote the job to your employee referral schemes. Haven't got an employee referral scheme? It’s simple - just tell your staff about vacancies and encourage them to share with friends, family or professional acquaintances. Often a reward is offered if they recommend someone who you end up hiring

At this point, you haven’t actually spent a penny, and the first two points are automated and happen within hours if not minutes. The last two, whilst more manual, might take 15 minutes to complete. So quick, zero cost and your job will be appearing on the most visited and viewed internet pages that exist: Google, Indeed, LinkedIn etc.

JobBrain EDI

So, does that mean there is never a need to consider job boards or print options? No, that is not the case, but for many jobs, the above 4 points might be enough. For more specialist roles, job boards may come into play.

  • Research carefully before deciding which ones to go for
  • Don’t spend on banners and other extras and upgrades unless you know this is a channel that works well for you

And on that last point…

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