How to hire more candidates with powerful job adverts

ALEX LAMONT • 27 Jun 2022

1 - What candidate behaviour are we seeing?
2 - How can we improve our job adverts to attract more candidates?
3 - An example of a bad job advert
4 - An example of a good job advert
5 - The number 1 rule when writing a job advert

For anybody that’s recruiting this year, we’ve seen a dramatic decrease in the amount of candidates applying for jobs. According to the ONS in June 2022 – the UK employment rate is now at about 75.6% - an increase even on May. The unemployment rate is just 3.8%.

The potential pool of candidates that are available right now is much, much lower. So to help dissect what’s happened and what we can do, our Director of Strategic Development – Giles Heckstall-Smith spoke with Andrea Garvey – Integration & Partnerships Manager at Talent.com.

Talent.com is the third-largest job aggregator in the world. They integrate with applicant tracking systems – like Jobtrain – to increase the reach of job adverts!

What candidate behaviour are we seeing?

The ball’s in the candidate’s court. It’s candidate-driven. Post-pandemic, jobseekers are pickier! They’re pursuing ‘dream jobs’ rather than whatever they think suits best. What we’re seeing from our own stats is that the candidates are out there, but to secure them you need grab their attention quickly and pull them through your funnel with haste.

Candidate quality has been a priority for Talent.com over the past two years. It’s not just about scooping up every candidates, it’s increasing the number and the quality that we send to our clients.

How can we improve our job adverts to attract more candidates?

A well-written job advert could increase your candidate reach by up to 200%! Two-or-three sentence job specifications aren’t going to peak anybody’s interest, but that doesn’t mean you should over-stuff your ad and waffle! You need to educate your internal team on what a great job advert looks like so you can increase your clickthrough rate – thinking about recruitment the same way a marketeer would think about writing for a website.

An example of a bad job advert

Download a free PDF of these job adverts

This picture is an example of a badly-written job advert. You’ll note that it received 478 paid clicks and only 79 organic clicks. These numbers are very low. We wouldn’t consider this job campaign to be a success.

Candidates tend to do a search based on their location. You’ll see that this job advert doesn’t have that. The job title "Healthcare Network Member" doesn’t translate what the job is going to be at a glance. If you can help it, be more precise with your labelling of the job. If it’s a business development role, label it as a sales role etc.

The salary isn’t mentioned. Jobtrain’s Talent Intelligence Unit noted that adding a salary to a job ad will dramatically increase applications. Put yourself in the candidate’s shoes. Most of these jobseekers are looking for greener pastures from their current workplace. They won’t be wasting time if they don’t know if the pay will be better than their current role.

If you want to see if your salaries are in line with other companies, we’ve put together a detailed Salary Report you can download for free here.

The description of company culture is a little bit vague. There are platitudes and mantras but it’s difficult to get a sense of what the candidate will get out of working for this company.

The description of responsibilities is far too short and vague. It says that opportunities range “from surveys to phone consultations,” and that leaves it so open that a candidate will likely be scared away. They don’t know what they’re signing up for!

An example of a good job advert

Download a free PDF of these job adverts

This picture is an example of a better-written advert. The stats speak for themselves. Paid clicks are 3882 and organic clicks are 2488!

The location is clearly labelled as being based on Luton Road, so the candidate can quickly see what their travel will be like. The job advert isn’t vague, it is clearly explained that the candidate will need to travel during working hours – so expectations are set!

The salary is clearly labelled, which makes your company look honest and transparent, and means nobody will be wasting time. However £58,000 to £80,000 is quite a gap, so some explanation as to why this is the case would improve the advert even further!

There’s a great explanation of what the first few months would be like. We see it tells us that every Area Manager will work as customer assistants and shift managers to understand every aspect of the shop floor before they’re charged with looking after the whole thing holistically!

It has a full, clear breakdown of what you’ll do, what skills you’ll need, and what you’ll receive for your work. The benefits of working for this company are clearly outlined. It hasn’t been waved away with a quick phrase like “great benefits.” Every candidate applying for this job knows exactly what they’re applying for.

When thinking about job adverts you should treat it like the anti-CV. We typically tell candidates to keep CVs short and sweet, but a Job Ad shouldn’t be short and sweet! You want to arm the candidate with as much knowledge as possible because a) it will increase your application rate and b) successful candidates will have more to work with when preparing for an interview!

The number 1 rule for a good job advert

Even though you’re starting to write lots of information to arm candidates with the knowledge to show off their best selves, there’s a pitfall you might trip in to.

That pitfall is treating a job advert like a job description.

The two are very different! A job advert is salesy, it’s trying to bring people in. A job description is where the disclaimers should be, where the full list of responsibilities live. A job advert should have images and videoswhich increases candidate applications by up 42%! A job description should have all of the necessary information about your workplace, such as the address with a postcode etc.

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